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The Agony of Losing a Pet Is Worse Than People Know

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Losing a pet is so much more painful than most people realize. It can even end in “broken heart syndrome.” Here’s how.

The Agony of Losing a Pet Is Worse Than People Know

Do you have a pet you adore? I love seeing pictures and reading stories about the precious pets people have. If you haven’t read this story about a life-saving Pitbull, you have to! Such a sweetie.

The Agony of Losing a Pet

When a pet dies, the family who loved that fur baby is grief-stricken. Pets are family members. They are there when we wake up, and beside us when we go to sleep. They see us sick, happy, angry, sad, and they never pass judgment. Our pets see the truth of who we are and they love us in spite of ourselves.

Isn’t that what family is supposed to do? Be there in good and bad times, offering support and unconditional love? Some may say they don’t even get that kind of care from their human families.

That’s why Scientific American says we should take pet loss seriously.

The aching hearts of those who lose a pet are often lonely hearts. After her dog died, a woman suffered from a terrible condition called “broken heart syndrome.” SA explains, “It can happen when the response to grief is so severe the person exhibits symptoms that mimic a heart attack, including elevated hormone levels that can be 30 times greater than normal.”

Essentially, the author says when you’re in anguish after this kind of loss, you need to reach out and let people know how badly you’re hurting.

“We need to seek social support from people we know will understand and sympathize with our emotions and not judge us for them.”

I think as a society we can always do a better job of supporting each other.

Crossing the Rainbow Bridge

You were used to morning purring to wake you up and now it’s quiet. You and your good boy always went for a walk before heading to bed. Now the leash hangs still.

When you open the front door, no one runs to you. At night all you can think about is how long it been since you slept in a bed without a four-legged friend taking up all the space.

That’s why the rest of us should show up, be loving, supportive and continue to be so for as long as it takes. There is no timeline on grief.

“It is time we gave grieving pet owners the recognition, support and consideration they need. Yes, it is up to us to identify and address our emotional wounds when our pet dies, but the more validation we receive from those around us, the quicker and the more complete our psychological recovery will be.” – Scientific American

If you’ve lost a pet, I want you to know how sorry I am you’re in pain. Tell us about them in the comments. What made you love them so? Did they have a favorite toy or a sweet way of showing you their love?

Don’t hesitate to reach out to a therapist to help you get through.

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ABOUT JILL

I am a mom of 3 awesome boys that love to get crafty with me in the kitchen. Our blog is full of all sorts creative food ideas for the Holidays, Party Ideas, Free Printables, Featured DIY Ideas, Recipes, & Kids Craft Ideas! Read more...

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This article was written a day after having to make the worst decision of my family’s life. Our Barrett , who was GSD/ Husky & 7.5 years old nipped our son . Knowing his hx we knew the next time it would be worse. He was such a good boy with our son for the last 21 months. He never showed my husband any signs. Rehoming him was not an option with his past & he did not deserve to be a “gaurd dog” . He was our spoiled , loved and protective baby. Our first child. And we lost him due to his nature. Some dogs just don’t get it. They can’t correct a child like they would a member of there pack. And he would cry when we would pick him up after staying at any kennel no matter how long or short. So a shelter was not an option. I’m sick over this whole situation. You hear about dogs attacking children out of no where . But you don’t ever hear if there was a warning nip first. So we did what we felt was best for all involve and it was the worst single action I will ever have to make. I feel the loss & the guilt. I know those who knew and loved him understand. I know in my heart it was the best choice when all options are awful. But I will miss this soul until my dying day. I will fight to over socialize and educate any future pup. I pray others read this and know how important obedience & socialization is ! If you think your dog is socialized well do more. Never stop and never take your eyes off of your pup. 

Just came across this article on Facebook, boy did it set me off. Yup for sure!!! Worse then losing a person. Sorry!!!  Listen here, After giving this a lot  of thought as to how could this be??? I’ll tell you how, and only someone who has had a pet where there was a special bond with can understand. You sometimes get your fur baby as young as 2, 3 months. You are like their mother. Hey, Ricky was about 1.5 lbs when he came off of a cargo plane from the state of Washington at 12 weeks old when they handed me this carrying case with a little ball of fur in the corner. Crazy when I think about it now.,
. You are all they have in this world. They depend totally on you. The love and appreciation you get from these little creatures is sometimes unreal! There were times after I fed Ricky he would come over to me, look up at me, I would pick him up and he would kiss me right on my mouth take his little head and nuzzle it under my chin into my neck. They don’t speak but they sure do show their appreciation and love their own way. Their loyalty is indescribable. This is probably and hopefully as close as you will come to losing a child. Do I sound crazy? Sorry I do not think so.  When you are home with them they wake up with you in the morning, sit and wait for you to be finished in the bathroom to follow you downstairs, when they get older and can’t do those steps anymore they need you to carry them down.  They follow you from room to room during the day. they greet you at that door every time. So happy to see you. Comes the night time, they follow you up, and again when they cannot do those steps on their own you carry them up. I can go on and on. All I can say is, after all the precious time with your fur baby and at the end of that day it really sucks having to make that dreaded decision.  LuLu  Ricky

Watson was 18. He was a calm and gentle soul but if pushed he would stick up for himself. He was my buddy, my kitten. He died of a lung tumor. We moved to Florida and always wanted to take him to the beach bc he loved playing in water. We did and it was the best day of his life. He was so happy. Went right into the ocean. Sat on the dunes in the sun. The next day was too rough to take him back but we have a throw rug that looks like breaking surf. He looked at it, recognized and stayed there in the sun for a long,  long time. He knew what it was. Its been 7 months and I miss him everyday. He was my friend. 

A really good friend of mine has to put down the family pet due to metastatic cancer this weekend. This fur baby is one of the last ties/connections for her & her kiddos to their dad/spouse who recently passed away due to complications after a MVA. Luckily I have a connection that may help this family with securing another fur baby of the same breed. 

My heart aches for them and this great loss on several different levels. Thank you for posting this article. 

My baby girl, Sasha ( Yorkie) passed a year ago this past April. It devastated me! I had her since she was so tiny. When I first got her I worked 3rd shift and took her to work with me to potty train her. My men would rush to beat each other to her to take her out. Lol oily airplane mechanics with a tiny hot pink leash and a teeny tiny puppy walking through the hangar!! It was one of my favorite memories. My baby Charlotte is her only daughter. I’ve had her almost 4 years. The day she and her brothers were born I helped deliver them. I barely slept for fear something would happen to Sasha overnight having the babies. I swear every hour I was up checking her! The I had a massive surgery last year and she was on her 2nd pregnancy. Lord I wish I had never allowed it. But we were so excited. I came home and ended up with double pneumonia, back in the hospital for 4 days. She held those puppies til I got home. Then she went in labor. All night long nothing happened. We watched for what the vet said and tried not to worry. But I worried. She’s my baby,right? The next morning I knew something wasnt right. We rushed her to the emergency vet. On the way there i could see in her eyes she was going and I just cried. I told her ” Sasha Bear, Mamas here baby. I love you and it’s ok ” we no sooner got her in the vets hands and she had a heart attack. They worked on her for 10 mins but in the end we lost her and the babies. I lost it, my husband lost it. My kids were heartbroken. My little pup, Charlotte went into a deep depression. They took care of her. wrapping her up and placing her into a beautiful box for burial. I even got her footprints done that day. It took about 2 weeks before I would look at them. Now they are proudly displayed in my living room. To this day I miss her so much and some days it feels like it was yesterday but for the most part I’m ok. It helped me to make a memorial garden in my back yard for my lost pets and to place statues out there for each one. I hope this story helps others. Mommy loves you Sasha Bear.

I just lost my Sharpei , Cookie. She was 6. She and her 3 yr old daughter broke thru a picket in the fence Monday. We found Sophie 12.5 hrs later laying on the side of the road exhausted. Sadly COOKIE didn’t make it home. She was found deceased the next morning. I am so lost. I love Sophie but COOKIE was my heart. She needs me and I need hear now. I will learn to love her like I did COOKIE. I hope it get easier each day. Right now..its awful.

Beautiful article. It will be a year in July that my Baby Jazzy died (Yorkie). I miss him so much!!!! Loved our walks every day, playing ball or just relaxing . He was the best.

This past winter I lost 3 of my beloved cats. The first was my Tyler after going in for dental surgery he was found to have an enlarged heart…he died 4 weeks later at 12 years old. He was my sleep buddy and the biggest lump of love you could imagine. He laid again my back every night while I slept. My pretty girl who was 20 years old spent 7 months in kidney failure….a week after Tyler died my girl went with him to the rainbow bridge. She was my companion and comfort for 20 years…she is so sadly missed and not a day goes by that I don’t wish for another moment with her. A month after that my 14 year old cat Little kitty was found to have mouth cancer…it became hard for her to eat and 4 weeks later she also went to the rainbow bridge…she was always a little shy but loved the dog and didn’t have a mean bone in her body…she use to love watermelon. Now sadly my 13 year old dog is in comfort care with heart problems and old age….His name is Raz….he loves me so much and has been a loyal friend…It will be a very sad when he leaves us to join his brother and sisters….at least I know they all knew love and I did the best I could….till we meet again at the rainbow bridge…xoxoxox mom

I lost the best friend I ever had and my heart dog on June 6,2019. After a most unexpected brief and hopeless illness. I am shattered. Reading the comments here detailing everyone’s pain is breaking my heart. I’ve found the word of a great poet somewhat comforting and I share them here:

What though the radiance 
which was once so bright 
Be now forever taken from my sight

Though nothing can bring back the hour 
Of the splendor in the grass
Or the glory in the flower

We grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind

– William Wordsworth  1770-1850

Peace to all my fellow sufferers on our shared journey.
Rest eternal to our beloved friends . We will
All meet, again. 

Kona was the king of our world. A big Rag Doll cat, we got from the SPCA as a baby. He would go to bed with my husband every night, staying till Bruce was asleep. Then he would come back out to find me, hanging out until the bedtime snack. He had lunch today, then about half hour after, started breathing in distress. I’m five minutes from the vet … he did not make it, his valiant heart stopped. OMG…so heart broken…

Just lost my 12 year old Fearghus (Newfoundland) last week. I am heartbroken. He was my prince.

My sweet Bella bear.  She was 13 y/o.  She left us on May 16th (congestive heart failure).  She had difficulty breathing but the day before especially when I found out why.  She was spoiled as a pup that my daughter brought home because she was the prettiest girl ever but because my daughter didn’t understand the responsibility which comes with them, I inherited her.  I had many pleasant years with her which I’m thankful for.  She was always energetic, happy & loving.  Never hurt a fly.  She went thru a depression herself when my German Shepherd Zoe passed.  Her buddy that grew up with her, Bruno was depressed for a little while also but seems fine now.  I miss her everyday.  

My true friend Teddy died of heart failure at 12 years old. He was my constant companion and I loved him with all of my heart. It’s been two months now and My heart still aches. I don’t think anyone understands how much he meant to me.  I loved him so much! Sad

Just lost my baby boy Julian yesterday. He was rescued from being abused in a apartment building and I volunteered to take him in. He was kinda feral and did not like being picked up or petted much, but he was a good boy who loved chasing laser pointers, wiggling his butt when he was getting ready to pounce, and sitting in the window and smelling and watching the outside world. His age was unknown but the vet guessed he was prob under 2 years old. He had a polyp in his ear canal the had gotten big and started bleeding and the vet said it would probably be best to let him go before the pain got worse. I feel like I betrayed him and should have kept him for longer but he was also difficult to handle and would bite if you kept messing with him. I love you Julian, I only had 6 months with you but you left your paw prints on my heart and I can barely stand the pain and grief of losing you baby boy.

I lost my best friend last night. Her name was Georgia. She was really my daughter’s dog but she stayed with me because of the prejudice against Staffordshire Terriers. I refuse to call her a pitbull. She was such a sweet dog that showed so much expression. She loved to play with her toy that looked like a chicken but sounded like a cow. She would play tug-of-war with her rope till we were both worn out. We found out she had cancer a few months ago and all we could do was keep her comfortable. I spoiled her so much. She loved braunschweiger and roast beef. She was okay up until a few days ago then I knew it was time. I laid on the floor with her and petted her until she would fall asleep. If I would stop she would turn around and give me such a sad look. She loved to lay out in the sun and she got to do that yesterday. She went to sleep one last time early this morning. I never thought I could get so attached to a dog. I’m glad to see I’m not alone.

My boy Gabe rescued me and I he in 2007.  He was a biter we worked on that he had be mistreated he become happy and safe.  We protected each other until I married our bff.  Then Gabe knew Carl was the alpha and we were safe and loved.  
We were always hip on hip if he slept in the nook of my knee waiting inside the back doorway to greet me when Ive been gone.  He was always so silly and loving he was my one he stole my heart and I his.  I had his unconditional love and he knew I would  always protect him.  I took care of him when he became diabetic gave him proper nutrition and two shots a day.  Kept him going happy and healthy for 4 years.  He became blind and I became his seeing eyed person He was so smart took paths in our large yard he always felt safe.  
He made me giggle, smile and pray that he would always be with me.  
One day I knew he was staying for me when he got really sick.  I told him I loved him and God had a nice place for him and I would be there one day with him.  So he went and my life has not been the same nor do I have that happy light and my heart is broken.  
You left me October 1, 2018 and I miss you every minute of every day.  When the time to go to bed alarm rings I bark like used to or when the  sirens go down the street I howl sing pretty like you used to and tell you I love you every night.  You were the best pup ever.

My dog Moses was a brown Spoodle 41/2 years old .he was hit by a car in front of me and the person did not stop. He died within in a couple of minutes, he was always happy. I treat my fur babies like my children, I feel I won’t be able to get over it, I miss him so so much, the house is quiet, I don’t want to go home after work, I have a couple of friends who understand what I am going through, and some who think I am weird and think I should be over it, it has only been a week. My heart aches, I cry often when I think of him. I have only just started eating. 

 I had my boxer put down two weeks ago for congestive heart failure! My husband works out of town and only home 6 days a month I am struggling with the loss it is horrible! I am lost I come home he isn’t there I get up he isn’t there I have to go to bed without my precious baby it hasn’t gotten better I don’t think it will! My dogs love was unconditional and I could just die! My heart is totally broken! I done a memorial table at my house with his ashes and was hoping this would help my healing process but I still cry continuously when I get home everyday! How do you heal from this devastating situation?

My sweet Bella left us yesterday. I cant even describe the pain and loss I feel. I am desperate to hold her one more time. She was my joy, my comfort, my peace my sanctuary when times were rough. She made me laugh everyday. She had hemangiosarcoma, a cancer of the blood vessels. Her tumor was in her thigh. She was 6.5 years old. I seriously dont know how I’m going to get over her loss. This is the first pet I’ve had to put down and its destroyed me. She was happy and playful til the end. Then the tumor rupture and she just couldnt walk and I knew it was time. My pain doesnt subside even for a minute. I miss her so much.

We recently lost one that was SO connected to every member of the family, us, our daughter, our other six dogs. We all still wonder ‘shouldn’t Lucy be here?’ and then I can see it ripple through the ‘crowd’.. oh yes, she died 🙁 I was a wreck at work and no one understood, at all.

SEEN ON