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Ben 12-11-2013 12:33 PM

Dog Died. What next?
 
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I'm a pretty stable person and a mature adult. Two weeks ago, our dog Marley got hit by a car and died. My 20-y.o. daughter was with him so my wife and I came home to carry him to the vet and cremation. I don't think I'll spend money on counseling, but I'm considering it. Our family and mostly I did everything with this dog. Kids grew up with him, so it's a shock and a milestone of sorts. He was 8. I'm focusing on work and home projects, but from time to time, I get paralyzed about his loss. Wondering about my kids as well.

Thinking about another dog in the future, but feel as though it's way too early, and even more so, the eight years of emotional time in Marley is too valued to think about inserting a "replacement player".

Don't mean to do a tear-jerker post, but curious how others have dealt with the loss of a furry friend.
The other thing is he was an awesome boat, water, and marina dog. So this stings on a few levels.

Definitely not running out to get the next pet, but I am wondering how others worked through the void that goes with the loss of a great dog?

Thanks.

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CPseudonym 12-11-2013 01:22 PM

Sorry for your loss Ben. Our situation is different as we rescue and rehabilitate dogs mostly to be adopted by others. We've lost several through the years though and it does sting every time, maybe a little more so when they are our pets.

I suppose what keeps us going is knowing that there never is a shortage of abused dogs needing rehab, unfortunately.

BaltimoreLurker 12-11-2013 01:51 PM

Sorry to hear about your loss, Ben. I don't know how to handle this either but got a glimpse of what's to come just 2 days ago. I was awoken at 4 AM by the dog in obvious and serious (to me) respiratory distress. The night before I noticed her muzzle & jowls were swollen. I had done a Google search and got a zillion possible causes and concerns. One that stood out was that if the dog has trouble breathing, get her to the vet immediately - her throat is swollen shut and she can't breath.

So, it's now 4 AM and I'm looking for a 24 hr vet hospital, an ice storm is due in the area at 5:45 AM and I'm in a panic. 80 MPH to a vet 30 miles away. It took them all of 15 seconds to say, "Oh, it's just reverse sneezing. Not uncommon and no big deal. She's OK. Just make sure her gums and lips stay a nice healthy pink."

Well, F me! Reverse sneezing? Google it.

Anyhow, this is the first dog I've had and I'm utterly amazed at the way and to the depth she has weaseled her way into my life. So I can very much understand the pain you feel due to the loss of your friend.

RT Firefly 12-11-2013 02:25 PM

Greetings,
Mr. Ben. Condolences. I feel your pain. We had to put the predecessor (Rufus) to Cruiser (our current) down two years ago. VERY traumatic to be sure. About 2 months later, the first mate said she missed the dog and should we get another? I figured it was too soon so we waited for a bit. 2 months later we rescued Cruiser. He's NOT Rufus but he's part of the family now and I'm sure when it's time for him to go chasing squirrels in the sky we'll be torn up as well. Enjoy them for what and who they are for the time you share with them. We're both really here for each other aren't we?

N4712 12-11-2013 02:47 PM

I'm so sorry to hear that, My Condolences are with you Ben.

SomeSailor 12-11-2013 03:08 PM

I've always the only thing that cures the pain of losing a dog is puppy breath. It always helps. My condolences in your loss. They can get so damned close to us. :(

Moonstruck 12-11-2013 03:31 PM

Ben, a great dog can sure leave a whole in your heart. When is it too early for another dog? I don't know, but I do know that the right dog will pick you. So sorry for your loss. At least you can cherish the memories.

Steve 12-11-2013 05:04 PM

Condolences to you they leave a big hole that takes a long time to fill. We lost our Coco at 13 about 3 years ago I still miss him. I think we'll be without a dog from now on.

Tom.B 12-11-2013 05:14 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ben (Post 198181)
I'm a pretty stable person and a mature adult.

May I take issue with this my friend? ;-) (so you guys all know... Ben and I are off-board friends)

There is nothing that I can say that we haven't already, Ben, but wanted to repeat the most pressing point for the group. It does, by any measure, take a great deal of time, but it WILL start to hurt less. I know it doesn't feel like it now, most especially because we both lost our buddies quite suddenly, but in time, it will start to reduce to the essence of his spirit he left behind. This is part of what we signed up for. We all know, no matter how much we don't want to believe it, our pets death is something we will have to face. Whether we expect it or not... It's going to happen.

It's three weeks from the anniversary of us losing TiVo and I STILL am sad every day that he's gone. We are just now getting to the point where we will even consider a new dog. However, it makes you feel better and helps you now, Marley was one of THE BIGGEST CONTRIBUTORS to helping us get over TiVo's death. So with all that he gave your family, sleep well knowing that he did more than you may have realized to help ours!

He was one big goofy palooka and Bess and I will never, ever, ever, forget him. Thank you from the bottom of our heart for letting Marley touch our lives. Stay as strong as you can and let your emotions go when you have to (like now... Like I am) and you will get through it.

I will continue to belch his name in his honor. *sips beer again*

Besslb 12-11-2013 05:15 PM

Baltimore Lurker - me too. I about had a heart attack myself the first time TiVo did that. Who knew? I thought he was choking!!

Ben - You know we loved Marley too....I still have no good words of sympathy or advice. Think of the funny stuff. Like when we were in the boat yard, and you brought Sand Castle in, and we carried you and Debbie and Marley back to your car in our truck......and how Marley tried so hard to get his head out the window from the back seat squishing me completely and making us all laugh hysterically....Or how one Friday night we got to the boat late and you were inside watching TV and Marley came over to hang out on our boat like we had better snack food. Or how he would jump off the boat as soon as you dropped the anchor to go swimming.

Remember the fun times. It will make you smile...and cry....and smile again. Then go look at puppy pictures, because they just make us happy.

Everyone else, hug your dogs an extra time today for those of us who are missing our dog-mates.

Xsbank 12-11-2013 05:20 PM

Except they don't look (much) like us, they become one of the family and much more than "dog" or "pet." Sometimes the time spent with "the dog" is better time than that spent with one of the real family. I also think they were very carefully designed to give us a dry run through life - their birth, growing up, sometimes having their own kids, their dotage and their eventual death teaches us to be better humans and sometimes, sadly, as CPseudonym has found, to absorb the abuse some of our crippled members might inflict on other humans.

We love "our" dog, he is family. He is expected to live 12 years, not nearly long enough.

I'm sorry for your loss and I anticipate your pain.

Ben 12-11-2013 06:31 PM

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Thanks Everyone!

It's really pretty deep how Marley the dog was tied in with the boat. I mean man! He loved water and greeting and exploring. Tom and Bess, thanks especially because I know he loved you guys too. He knew you all are dog people. He used to just hop on your boat and greet TiVo and annoy him and then check your cabin for missing treats! :blush:

It's also a transition point because we got Marley when our girls were 7 and 12, so he grew up with them. That's why we keep thinking we can't ever replace him because we have all those growing up memories and he was a bonding focus in our family. My wife who fusses regularly over the shed hair would almost secretly love him when no one was looking.

He definitely loved the boat.

Ben 12-11-2013 06:39 PM

Sorry. Probably overdoing it on the dog pictures. Coincidentally, we named Marley about 6 months before we were aware of the book "Marley and Me". Same logic though. Name the dog after a musician. The prior dog we had was "Elvis". Maybe the next one will be "Muddy Waters". :lol:

CPseudonym 12-11-2013 07:01 PM

I always thought Garth(Brooks) would be a good dog name, definitely easy to call.

We have another forum member who lost a German Sheppard recently that I've been privately hinting needs to let a new friend find him. It's too soon for you right now Ben but pretty soon another four legged friend will find their way into your heart. You can't help it, no dog lover can. They won't fill the hole left by Marley but will kinda patch it over more than you think.

Easy for me to say because I've fostered so many but every one just leaves me desiring another. Kinda like cocaine, only legal. :)

Off Duty 12-11-2013 08:44 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Moonstruck (Post 198202)
Ben, a great dog can sure leave a whole in your heart. When is it too early for another dog? I don't know, but I do know that the right dog will pick you. So sorry for your loss. At least you can cherish the memories.

I agree my friend. Having lost both dogs and cats, I know it's hard.
Even the most hardened, "macho" among us will shed a tear over the loss.

I agree with moonstruck though. You can't really "replace" your friend, so don't try, and don't go looking. The right one will find you:smitten:(BTDT).

My condolences as well.

Besslb 12-11-2013 08:57 PM

You can never replace someone who has your heart. But after time, a little extra space is made available for new love and new goofiness. Tom and I are there now. After the holidays, I am going to stand in the middle of the SPCA and just say "FIND ME".....and then life will renew itself.

Craig - thank you and your family for rescuing and rehoming. The work you do is so important.

Off Duty 12-12-2013 05:30 AM

Ben,

As an addition to my earlier comment, maybe to clarify a bit, I've had a couple of times in my life where I've been in your deck shoes.

When I was younger, we lost a family dog that we'd had as long as I could remember. I was devastated.

Swearing never to get another dog, I didn't look, didn't go to the pound, didn't read the classifieds, nothing!! Didn't want to revisit the matter at all!

Then one morning, this old raggedly German Sheppard showed up at my back door. He was just laying in the yard, peacefully asleep. I tried to shoo it off, but he came back. After a couple of days, I actually took a moment to get out of myself, and look at hi face. His eyes said "I'm here because I Need love, and you need me..."

No tag, no collar, and no one in the area knew who he belonged to.
I started feeding him, took him to the vet, and after that, "SARGE" became a new member of the family. One of the best furry friends I've ever had. Great natured, loving, intuitive, and protective.
That was a long time ago, but something I'll never forget, or regret.
I felt like we saved each other.

As everyone has said, they'll find you.
Besslb's idea is great. Just go, and see what finds you.:thumb::D

All the best my friend.
OD

FF 12-12-2013 06:43 AM

Just go, and see what finds you.:thumb::D

The best pets CHOSE their companions!!

You will know AFTER the dog does,

Ben 12-12-2013 07:52 AM

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OD, Craig,

Thanks, that is so true about the dog picking you. On the day we got Marley, my oldest daughter and I coaxed/dragged my wife to the SPCA. She is a sworn "little dog" person, feeling that the bigger dogs are too clunky.

Well, there we are in the pet-greeting room with "Mahon" (Marley's SPCA name), who is at this point about 16 weeks old. He we are petting him, my daughter and I, and my wife is sitting down in the chair and he walks over and sits at her feet and looks up at her. Nothing like those sincere Labrador eyes staring at you. Pretty much the same look he always gave for eight years when you had food in your hand! :)



Bess, Hannah still volunteers at the SPCA when her semester is not too busy, so if you all are looking, when she is over there, she can be on the look out. We're not ready now, obviously, but know you've been thinking...:blush:

"The look" below. Pretty much sold it to my wife... :angel:

Off Duty 12-12-2013 08:20 AM

Quote:

...and he walks over and sits at her feet and looks up at her...
Yep, that's it right there. That's the way they choose us:) :thumb:

N4712 12-12-2013 08:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Off Duty (Post 198338)
Yep, that's it right there. That's the way they choose us:) :thumb:

Yep, that face says it all! :)

denverd0n 12-12-2013 10:45 AM

Nearly ten years ago now, our family lost Duchess. We had had her for nearly 13 years. My wife and I have both had a number of dogs in our lives over the years, but there was something really special about Duchess. As long as it's been, sometimes I still find myself expecting her to greet me at the door when I get home from work. I'm tearing up just writing this. As with the loss of any loved one, you never really get over it, you just learn how to go on.

You will know when you are ready for another dog. Some people suggest that you get another right away, but that is simply not something that my wife and I could do. It took us a long time to be ready for another.

Best wishes.

Pau Hana 12-12-2013 11:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ben (Post 198251)
Sorry. Probably overdoing it on the dog pictures. Coincidentally, we named Marley about 6 months before we were aware of the book "Marley and Me". Same logic though. Name the dog after a musician. The prior dog we had was "Elvis". Maybe the next one will be "Muddy Waters". :lol:

Nope- no apologies necessary. Continue waxing poetic- Marley is part of of your family.

Note- I said "is" not "was"........

Off Duty 12-12-2013 08:41 PM

Agreed!:thumb:
Post away my friend.

Besides, sometimes it helps the hurt...
OD

kthoennes 12-13-2013 11:51 PM

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Don't even want to think of life without Peanut. Sweetest dog on earth. No matter how rough my day has been, seeing that face waiting for me at home makes everything okay.


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Ben 12-14-2013 02:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kthoennes (Post 198668)
Don't even want to think of life without Peanut. Sweetest dog on earth. No matter how rough my day has been, seeing that face waiting for me at home makes everything okay.

Exactly how I feel. Marley would pretty much wag his whole body when we came home. The fun thing about dogs is the simplest things make them happy - food, play, affection - I think they are what we would be without the complexity.

Ben 12-14-2013 02:35 PM

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A couple favorites...

First one is him just watching off the bridge. He always hung out with me on the bridge while cruising. My wife might get too warm or cold, but Marley always came and hung out.

The second one is a little selfish victory. Getting Marley tired was no easy task, but here he is after a long day in the water, with sea salt on his nose. Ha ha, I won that day. He was hard to tire out. My wife always called him the frat boy, because he was a big clunky, playful goof. He'd stick his nose in your food and be so happy about it. He'd swipe food from the kids if they held something too loosely. He was a funny dog.

Off Duty 12-14-2013 10:50 PM

Awesome pics Ben.
The "stern watch" is priceless:thumb:

He really looks worn out in that last pic.
If you wore him out that bad, what condition were you in:D

More pics of Marley please:thumb:

OFB 12-19-2013 05:58 PM

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A Dogs Prayer
Treat me kindly, my beloved master, for no heart in all the world is more grateful for kindness than the loving heart of me. Do not break my spirit with a stick for although I should lick your hand between the blows, your patience and understanding will more quickly teach me the things you would have me do.
Speak to me often, for your voice is the worlds sweetest music, as you must know by the fierce wagging of my tail when your footsteps fall upon my waiting ear.
When it is cold and wet, please take me inside..... for I am a domesticated animal, no longer used to bitter elements..... and I ask no greater glory than the privilege of sitting at your feet beside the hearth.... though had you no home, I would rather follow you through ice and snow than rest upon the softest pillow in the warmest home in all the land, for you are my god and I am your devoted worshiper.
Keep my pan filled with fresh water, for although I should not reproach you were it dry, I cannot tell you when I suffer thirst. Feed me clean food, that I may stay well, to romp and play and do your bidding, to walk by your side, and stand ready, willing and able to protect you with my life, should your life be in danger.
And, beloved master, should the Great Master see fit to deprive me of my health or sight, do not turn me away from you. Rather hold me gently in your arms as skilled hands grant me the merciful boon of eternal rest... and I will leave you knowing with the last breath I drew, my fate was ever safest in your hands.
Beth Harris


From Bella .

kthoennes 12-19-2013 07:00 PM

This always sounds silly when I say it, but I often wish I could be as single-mindedly devoted to God as my dog is devoted to me.

Ben 12-20-2013 05:49 AM

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Must be the full moon (my excuse), but I really do miss my big dog. The little one is mama's and I love her, but you can't quite wrastle around on the floor with the little one (the dog, not mama) the same way. :ermm:

The little one Maddie has been mopey and sluggish since Marley died.

Off Duty 12-20-2013 05:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kthoennes (Post 199977)
This always sounds silly when I say it, but I often wish I could be as single-mindedly devoted to God as my dog is devoted to me.

Nothing silly about that friend.
Dogs are IMO, one of, if not "the" most dedicated pets on earth!
Simple, loving, and totally devoted.

bligh 12-21-2013 09:53 PM

I lost my dog about 10 years ago. It was very painful. But very shortly afterwards I went to the animal shelter and got another one. It may seem a bit shallow, but having the new dog turned out to be the cure for me and I was able to keep a dog from being put down.

texasnielsen 12-24-2013 08:54 AM

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OP,
So very sorry to hear of your loss. I've always held that some animals make good pets (cats, lizards, gerbals, etc). Others make good companions (DOGS!). To lose a pet is painful; to lose a companion - heartbreaking. As others have posted, you may never replace your Marley, but there is another companion waiting to be discovered by you when your heart is ready. We personally lost a yellow lab to ovarian cancer and the family was crushed and devastated. After a while (gallons of tears) we were ready to not find a replacement, but to offer another companion a home. We used http://petfinders.com and "Scotch" found us.... lots of shelters and rescues use this site to place animals in to loving homes.

Ben 12-25-2013 08:22 AM

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All -

Thanks for all your expressions of empathy and comfort. It's impossible for me to express how comforting that has been to me personally. It's been a hard month, but with a good bit of healing. Losing Marley has been a shock and a void in our family life. Today is one month exactly.

Two days ago the Admiral and I got the kids together, now 15 and 20, and scattered Marley's ashes in the Cape Fear River. Tromping around in the marshes was one of his most favorite things, so it fits. The girls were 7 and 12 when we got him, so he's grown up with them, making his death a sad milestone for the family and a reminder of the passage of time. Marley was an SPCA dog, so we were very happy to have provided a home to this once unwanted animal.

Anyway, time to move on now. We're looking at dogs, but not for a dog just yet. We found these guys a few miles from us. Looks like a good outfit.

Ruf Creek Ranch Animal Rescue/K-9 College and Adoption Center - Home

Merry Christmas to all! Fair winds and safe cruising!

hmason 12-25-2013 09:42 AM

Hi Ben,

Just in case you've never seen this--it helped when we lost our beloved Oliver and our special Norma Jean. We hope you heal quickly. Howard and Jackie


Rainbow Bridge

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

Author unknown...

Ben 12-25-2013 10:28 AM

Hi Mason,

Thank you. I really liked that poem.

When we spread Marley's ashes in the Cape Fear, I read this to my wife and kids, all present. It pretty much sums up how we feel about our dogs we've had...


A Dogs Last Will & Testament
Before humans die, they write their last will and testament, giving their home and all they have to those they leave behind. If, with my paws, I could do the same, this is what Id ask

To a poor and lonely stray Id give my happy home; my bowl and cozy bed, soft pillow and all my toys; the lap, which I loved so much; the hand that stroked my fur; and the sweet voice that spoke my name.

Id will to the sad, scared shelter dog the place I had in m humans loving heart, of which there seemed no bounds.

So, when I die, please do not say, I will never have a pet again, for the loss and the pain is more than I can stand.

Instead, go find an unloved dog, one whose life has held no joy or hope, and give my place to him.

This is the only thing I can give
The love I left behind.






Our two retrievers over 20 years have been SPCA dogs. Probably the next will be a rescue or similar adoption. Thanks again for the poem and thoughts.

Ben

hmason 12-25-2013 03:29 PM

Very nice and good advice. We got a puppy within weeks of losing Oliver. We knew he would want us to.

Ben 02-08-2014 11:27 AM

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Epilogue to this story.

We spread Marley's ashes in the Cape Fear River over Christmas. One of my daughters went to a counseling session and identified "Marley's death" as the key thing that was bothering her, and my wife and I actually had the conversation "should we see someone?" about Marley's passing. I could never have imagined the death of a pet as being so emotionally draining. Anyone who knows our family knows we are pretty much "dog people". I personally don't think I can separate my personality from what I have learned from my dogs over the years. If I were a clinical psychologist, I'd want to examine that, but I have another profession.

Well, we started "looking at dogs" again, but not "looking for a dog" with maybe getting one "down the road". So happens a cousin of my wife, her dog had puppies, Lab-Golden mix. We claimed one, to get once he was old enough. Well, we re-visited after 6 weeks, and all his litter mates were scooped up. So, after some hemming and hawing over early puppy separation, we picked up our new dog "Beaufort".

So, it begins all over again. We got him checked out at the vet, have babied the crap out of him, and annoyed family and friends alike with an excess of cute puppy pictures and cute puppy videos on Facebook. My daughters, though one adult and one adolescent, are cooing over him like 5-year-olds again. Yes, we are a big dog family again.

Now, I am going to annoy all my virtual trawler friends with cute puppy pics for a while. He's got a long way until he's water-ready, but summer is still a ways off. So enjoy and be annoyed, introducing Beaufort...

BandB 02-08-2014 12:08 PM

I think it's very honorable and shows a lot about a person to mourn the loss of a pet. Be glad you had such an attachment and that you have that ability to feel so strongly within you. Experience says the right time generally comes for the next dog, not a replacement, but a new companion and friend, and that you can't guess ahead when that time will come. It just happens.

As sad as it is to read of those of you who have lost your pets, it is also very powerful and good to read the true raw emotions of love, of loss, of grief. It's natural, it's real, and it's honest. The pain comes through in the posts but the love and caring comes through even more.

CPseudonym 02-08-2014 06:08 PM

Ben,

The ultimate salve for the loss of a beloved dog is puppy breath.

Tom.B 02-08-2014 07:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ben (Post 211865)
annoyed family and friends alike with an excess of cute puppy pictures and cute puppy videos on Facebook.

True story. :-D

cafesport 02-08-2014 08:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ben (Post 211865)
Epilogue to this story. We spread Marley's ashes in the Cape Fear River over Christmas. One of my daughters went to a counseling session and identified "Marley's death" as the key thing that was bothering her, and my wife and I actually had the conversation "should we see someone?" about Marley's passing. I could never have imagined the death of a pet as being so emotionally draining. Anyone who knows our family knows we are pretty much "dog people". I personally don't think I can separate my personality from what I have learned from my dogs over the years. If I were a clinical psychologist, I'd want to examine that, but I have another profession. Well, we started "looking at dogs" again, but not "looking for a dog" with maybe getting one "down the road". So happens a cousin of my wife, her dog had puppies, Lab-Golden mix. We claimed one, to get once he was old enough. Well, we re-visited after 6 weeks, and all his litter mates were scooped up. So, after some hemming and hawing over early puppy separation, we picked up our new dog "Beaufort". So, it begins all over again. We got him checked out at the vet, have babied the crap out of him, and annoyed family and friends alike with an excess of cute puppy pictures and cute puppy videos on Facebook. My daughters, though one adult and one adolescent, are cooing over him like 5-year-olds again. Yes, we are a big dog family again. Now, I am going to annoy all my virtual trawler friends with cute puppy pics for a while. He's got a long way until he's water-ready, but summer is still a ways off. So enjoy and be annoyed, introducing Beaufort...

Sorry for your loss. It's part of life and there is always a lesson hidden below the surface. Sounds like you found it. Embrace it and put one foot in front of the other. More pics!

Via iPad using Trawler

Steve 02-08-2014 09:16 PM

I'll bet Marley is happy with your decision!


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