Difficulty moving on, 6 years later


  • Laura, welcome to the forum.
    Not sure what to say to you but you should know that both your Dogs were lucky to have you in their life, just think what there lives would have been like without you.
    The death of a beloved pet always stays with you but the pain gets less. However as you say you sometimes relive the bad times and in particular the last trip to the vets with Charlie.
    eeeefarm makes a realy good point about redirecting your thoughts, tell yourself no i'm not going to think of that and have something else to think about.
    I sometimes do the same as you and logicaly i know it does no good to anyone or anything.
    I came to this forum when i lost our first Basenji and i certainly found it a comfort , i hope you do too.


  • Your feelings about your dog are very tied up with your father and the nightmare you lived in. I honestly suggest you consider therapy because you have more than the dog to deal with, let go of and forgive yourself for. You say you have rebuilt a relationship with your father, but have you ever discussed your childhood and his abuse, or the abuse to the dog, with him? Has he ever said he was sorry?

    As for the dog, your vet did what I think should always be done, a tranquilizer prior to the euthanasia med. In his drugged state, I have to agree the yelp was simply reactionary, not real pain. While it is too bad they didn't explain the process, have you still holding him, those brief seconds don't wipe out your doing your best for him.

    MS, bipolar– you parents are still responsible for the hell they allowed you to live in. Yes, BOTH your parents. I am glad your mom finally got rid of your dad, but her inaction caused you to literally lose your teen years, your dog to be abused and you now blaming yourself for things you really had no control over. You were a child. The adults in your life failed, not you.

    So what do you do? You speak the truth to them both, you forgive yourself, you let go of the past and you give credit to where they are now in their lives. We all make mistakes and while changing doesn't wipe out the past, it does tell us who the person inside is and wants to be. But the most important part is forgiving yourself, and I am not sure that anyone venting their life on an anonymous dog board is able to do that alone. Please, find a therapist to help you work things out.


  • Laura, I think Debra has given some excellent advice. I feel that as you are now an adult, YOU are in charge, no one else. You get to write the story of how things will go with a new dog. 🙂

    There was a loss in my life prior to getting Kipawa. I had a 'heart' pet, my orange and white cat named Barney. We were tuned in to each other in the most incredible way. Sadly, at the age of 15, I had to have him put to sleep due to oral cancer. It was the hardest thing I ever did, yet also the kindest thing I ever did.

    Our home felt very hollow and incomplete without Barney - an animal that knows its owners' souls occupies a huge amount of space in a home. Getting a basenji had been in the plans once Barney passed (he was not fond of dogs), but I was mourning his loss and wasn't sure when would be the best time to contact a breeder. But something, and I think it was Barney's spirit, told me that Barney would not want me to go around with a hole in my heart from his passing. Barney knew the capacity I had for loving animals and I truly believe he somehow was telling me that he knew he would never be replaced, but that it was important for me to continue to build love and trust, albeit with another animal.

    Things fall into place when they need to. The breeder I had chosen after much research still had room on their waiting list. There was one male in the litter, and I wanted a male. When visiting the litter, Kipawa immediately snuggled his nose under my hair and took a long deep calming breath. He had picked me and everyone in the room could tell. The cosmos was working its magic.

    I think there needs to be a period of grieving when we lose a pet. Your grieving has gone on for quite a long time, but I believe that because you are sharing your story with us, you are coming to a point where you can finally make peace with the past and move on.

    I know you have a fiance. Is he on the same page as you for getting a basenji? I think that's really important. If so, follow your heart. And watch things fall into place.


  • Thank you everyone,

    I've actually been very good about re-directing my thoughts when I could feel those memories coming back. Just the past little while now that I'm seriously considering adopting/rescuing whichever my own dog these memories have been a LOT more frequent. I also dont know by redirecting the thoughts and NOT thinking of them, am I bottling them up?
    I think the best thing would yes to get some more counselling. A lot of things are easier said than done. And my mom should also because I know it haunts her just as much.

    As for my dad… when I say re-built relationship I guess I mean starting off new. We aren't able to discuss anything in the past and its probably best not to because he was in such a state he probably wouldnt even remember a lot. I know he doesn't remember much of anything in my teen years. And I KNOW he has his own idea of what went on. So I have to let go of those memories myself. And my mom, I've been wanting to tell her how I feel and how I wish she verbally stood up to her husband more.. but it would upset her. She is one of my best friends in the entire world and pretty much raised my brother and I alone. She' a wonderful person and I know she has regrets, I am happy she finally made the decision to kick my dad out and divorce. Both my parents seperately are happy and have learned a lot through these mistakes.

    My boyfriend has never had a dog in his life, only cats. But he has known the past 6.5 years we've been together that I've wanted a dog of my own and yes he is supportive 🙂


  • I was also thinking that maybe it would be a good idea for my mom and I to write a letter or something to Charlie and that life, and tie it to balloon. Maybe that would help lift this weight off our shoulders, something symbolic..


  • The vet should have prepared you and your mother in advance by explaining the process to you. The first injection, usually done in a vein in the front leg, will put the animal into a deeply relaxed state. The animal will be in the same state as it would be for surgery and it will not feel anything. The second injection, also given in the vein in the front leg, will stop the animal's heart almost instantly. The animal passes away quickly.

    I cannot fathom why a vet would inject the dog in the chest unless it was done directly into a vein? Or maybe from the angle you were at and with tears in your eyes it only looked like it was in the chest when it was really in the leg? In any case, you can be assured that he passed away almost immediately.

    As hard as it was for you, you did the right thing. You were able to give him peace.

    Let go of any guilt you may have. You were a child had little to no say in what was going on with the adults in the household. I do agree with Debra that a counselor or therapist will help you heal. It is not a sign of weakness to get help when you need it but rather a sign of courage to want to change things to move forward.


  • I can not really address the parent dynamics. It must have been hell for your father to go from what I assume was a vibrant man to one who can not do the simplest things. While his anger is certainly justified, his behavior is not. Hard to judge not having walked in his shoes, such a shame he did not find a more healthy outlet to deal with it.

    Re: Charlie's euthanasia. Euthanasia is basically an overdose of an barbituate/anesthetic. Usually one intravenous injection is sufficient. However if the animal is in good health (relatively speaking - sounds like Charlie was in good physical health, though not good mental health) they might need more than, say an animal who is two steps from deaths door, and just needs a gentle nudge to go through the door. If the vet miscalculates the dose needed to be sufficient, they would need to give another injection; due to a severe drop in blood pressure due to the first injection, intravenous (IV) might not be a viable option for a second attempt - that leaves the vet no other choice but to inject more euthanasia solution directly into the heart, to effectively stop it. This is what it sounds like occurred.

    During euthanasia, an animal can vocalize without actually feeling pain, have agonal breathes (which means the animal is gone but the body expels what air it has and gives the impression of still breathing) or quietly and silently pass with no outward signs. It is hard to know what any one animal will do. I am sorry the vet did not feel it was important to communicate with you, and your mother, what to expect and/or what they were doing every step of the way. That person/clinic really dropped the ball and you have paid a price for it.

    You, however are to be commended. Despite the very real pain it caused you and your mother to stay by his side, you did so to the very end. But before that, you also did what was in Charlie's best interest, even knowing the heartbreak it would cause you both. I have no doubts Charlie is waiting for you to finally forgive yourself, though I imagine if we asked, he would say you have done nothing to need forgiveness for, and open your heart once again to another dog, where you can once again enjoy the relationship of an animal friend.

    Euthanasia is probably the best gift we will ever bestow on our animal friends, while the hardest gift for us to give. If our intent is to end their suffering, be it physical, mental or a combo of the two, I have no doubts each and every member of our animal families will await us at the Rainbow Bridge, to reunite us forever more.


  • Welcome, Laura!

    I like the idea of the balloon letter… It took a lot of courage to share your story... I think that's a wonderful sign that you are ready to move forward. I'm very grateful that there are people on this forum that can explain to you the "why" things happened, so that you know that you shouldn't feel guilty about Charlie's last day.

    And with forgiveness... as that happens, you free YOUR spirit to be happier, and to open your heart to new experiences....

    .... which hopefully will include a ROO or too, lol. There are many dogs out there right now that need you, so when you are ready, you (and your boyfriend) will have the closest thing to a cat, in a dog body... a basenji!

    Hugs and roos-
    Patty.


  • @CongoMama:

    I can not really address the parent dynamics. It must have been hell for your father to go from what I assume was a vibrant man to one who can not do the simplest things. While his anger is certainly justified, his behavior is not. Hard to judge not having walked in his shoes, such a shame he did not find a more healthy outlet to deal with it.

    Re: Charlie's euthanasia. Euthanasia is basically an overdose of an barbituate/anesthetic. Usually one intravenous injection is sufficient. However if the animal is in good health (relatively speaking - sounds like Charlie was in good physical health, though not good mental health) they might need more than, say an animal who is two steps from deaths door, and just needs a gentle nudge to go through the door. If the vet miscalculates the dose needed to be sufficient, they would need to give another injection; due to a severe drop in blood pressure due to the first injection, intravenous (IV) might not be a viable option for a second attempt - that leaves the vet no other choice but to inject more euthanasia solution directly into the heart, to effectively stop it. This is what it sounds like occurred.

    During euthanasia, an animal can vocalize without actually feeling pain, have agonal breathes (which means the animal is gone but the body expels what air it has and gives the impression of still breathing) or quietly and silently pass with no outward signs. It is hard to know what any one animal will do. I am sorry the vet did not feel it was important to communicate with you, and your mother, what to expect and/or what they were doing every step of the way. That person/clinic really dropped the ball and you have paid a price for it.

    You, however are to be commended. Despite the very real pain it caused you and your mother to stay by his side, you did so to the very end. But before that, you also did what was in Charlie's best interest, even knowing the heartbreak it would cause you both. I have no doubts Charlie is waiting for you to finally forgive yourself, though I imagine if we asked, he would say you have done nothing to need forgiveness for, and open your heart once again to another dog, where you can once again enjoy the relationship of an animal friend.

    Euthanasia is probably the best gift we will ever bestow on our animal friends, while the hardest gift for us to give. If our intent is to end their suffering, be it physical, mental or a combo of the two, I have no doubts each and every member of our animal families will await us at the Rainbow Bridge, to reunite us forever more.

    That must of been what happened because I remember VERY clearly him putting the 2nd injection in his chest, and remember him mentioning something about him being a small dog but needing more than the average small dog. Something along those lines. So perhaps that's why it was in the chest..
    And it was DEFINITELY a learned lesson that I want to know exactly what's going on with my new dog. Even when their time has come I want to know the exact process so there's no surprises. My mom and I were both angry that he didn't communicate what was going to happen, Ithink he was surprised that we were even staying WITH Charlie because I guess most people dont. That's sad I think.
    I think in a way I have forgiven myself and these replies are really really helping. Counselling is in the near future and so is a new dog! Hopefully for summer 🙂

    Again, thank you ALL for your support and kind words… it IS helpful and I really appreciate it 🙂


  • Hey Laura. I had a beautiful rottie/lab/boxer cross a few years back when i was around 16 years old. He was my best friend and till this day i am completely angry at myself for what i did. When he was six months old i was trying to do something and he would not give me peace cause he wanted to play so i kicked him out of my room. I guess after that he managed to sneak out of the house and follow someone down to the farm next to my house. The idiot decided it was find to operate heavy machinery with a 6 month puppy around. He got caught in one of the machines and was killed. I still remember to this day my dad coming to my room covered in his blood to tell me the news. I fell to my knees screaming and crying and i cried for years and years. It is so hard to love something and have it ripped from you so easily. I thought the only way to get through the pain was to get another puppy which i did the next day i drove 3 hours and picked up the last puppy of a litter of berneese/rottie/lab puppies. She is about 4 now and the most amazing, loving, gentle, big lap dog i have ever seen. I always found though that there was a wall between me and her because i got her mourning over another dog and i found i could never love her enough because all i wanted was my other puppy back. I still have her but i do not believe i was ready for her when i got her. I finally feel ready now and that is why in less then two weeks i will have a 8 week old basenji puppy. I guess all i am saying is i know what it feels to blame yourself for not giving them what they deserved and i understand the hurt you are going through because that day was the worse day of my life. I am almost 20 now and it still hurts and i have pictures of him up all around my house and always will. Dogs do have a good memory yes but they also tend to live in the moment. Maybe his first few years were hard on him, but the last three years you gave him of peace and happiness probably made up for everything else. I had a three week old kitten i had to put down once because his legs were not developing right.. i still to this day wonder if the vet made the right call putting him to sleep and i was always so angry at him because he did not put him to sleep before he actually put him down therefore the kitten screamed in pain and it broke my heart…. just know we all understand what you are going through and are here for you and are glad you had the courage to share your story with us. It is hard to love an animal because they usually leave this world before we do, but we have to believe that they know how much we love them and leave this world knowing that.


  • I have a lot of thoughts on this, but will keep them to myself except for one. What happened was NOT your fault and you cannot go back and change things. Your father was an angry, angry man who could not deal with his life changes and this in no way reflects on you. As to the vet procedure-he probably did not expect anything to happen the way it did and therefore was not prepared to be able to prepare you as to the process that was going on with Charlie. He may have been as surprised as you at the reaction (which was, more than likely, involuntary on Charlie's part) So, remember, you could not have changed what happened at that point in your life and you should not feel guilty about the choice you made. Obviously, at that time, you made the best decision you could.


  • @i<3mybasenji:

    Hey Laura. I had a beautiful rottie/lab/boxer cross a few years back when i was around 16 years old. He was my best friend and till this day i am completely angry at myself for what i did. When he was six months old i was trying to do something and he would not give me peace cause he wanted to play so i kicked him out of my room. I guess after that he managed to sneak out of the house and follow someone down to the farm next to my house. The idiot decided it was find to operate heavy machinery with a 6 month puppy around. He got caught in one of the machines and was killed. I still remember to this day my dad coming to my room covered in his blood to tell me the news. I fell to my knees screaming and crying and i cried for years and years. It is so hard to love something and have it ripped from you so easily. I thought the only way to get through the pain was to get another puppy which i did the next day i drove 3 hours and picked up the last puppy of a litter of berneese/rottie/lab puppies. She is about 4 now and the most amazing, loving, gentle, big lap dog i have ever seen. I always found though that there was a wall between me and her because i got her mourning over another dog and i found i could never love her enough because all i wanted was my other puppy back. I still have her but i do not believe i was ready for her when i got her. I finally feel ready now and that is why in less then two weeks i will have a 8 week old basenji puppy. I guess all i am saying is i know what it feels to blame yourself for not giving them what they deserved and i understand the hurt you are going through because that day was the worse day of my life. I am almost 20 now and it still hurts and i have pictures of him up all around my house and always will. Dogs do have a good memory yes but they also tend to live in the moment. Maybe his first few years were hard on him, but the last three years you gave him of peace and happiness probably made up for everything else. I had a three week old kitten i had to put down once because his legs were not developing right.. i still to this day wonder if the vet made the right call putting him to sleep and i was always so angry at him because he did not put him to sleep before he actually put him down therefore the kitten screamed in pain and it broke my heart…. just know we all understand what you are going through and are here for you and are glad you had the courage to share your story with us. It is hard to love an animal because they usually leave this world before we do, but we have to believe that they know how much we love them and leave this world knowing that.

    Wow. Yes I have definite sympathy for your puppy and kitten, that's absolutely terrible. Although I'm sure the puppy was for sure living in the moment… but I guess the fact that the last moment you had with him was annoyance doesn't feel good. I guess everyone has some sort of heartbreak with pets but we have to try and remember the good times! I know after that experience my mom has been very unsure about getting another dog. Whereas, the same day we put him down I knew eventually I would have one of my own (almost 7years later I think it's time!) And it's not about how they pass on but the life they lived! Charlie had good times, too... unfortunately theres a lot of dogs out there that have way worse lives. I know I'm not mourning anymore for him and have moved on in a sense, I guess it's just forgiveness now. Anyways thank you for youre reply and have fun with your puppy! I saw some the other day, MAN theyre cute! puppies have puppy smell kinda like baby smell except more urine-y 🙂


  • @nomrbddgs:

    I have a lot of thoughts on this, but will keep them to myself except for one. What happened was NOT your fault and you cannot go back and change things. Your father was an angry, angry man who could not deal with his life changes and this in no way reflects on you. As to the vet procedure-he probably did not expect anything to happen the way it did and therefore was not prepared to be able to prepare you as to the process that was going on with Charlie. He may have been as surprised as you at the reaction (which was, more than likely, involuntary on Charlie's part) So, remember, you could not have changed what happened at that point in your life and you should not feel guilty about the choice you made. Obviously, at that time, you made the best decision you could.

    Thank you 🙂 For my next dog I will be on top of everything that goes on with him! I want to know it all and make sure the vet understands also


  • Hello Weitzel,

    I just wanted to say that before we lost Hafta recently, we also lost my Lu. My Lu was a return dog from someone whom decided after ownership of a year, they no longer wanted her. She was paired with a crappy little Chiuaua. We were told Lu was mean as hell and when we went to retrieve her, we were handed welder's gloves to handle her with. With that approach, I was not too nice in my response and I will let you use your on imagination of my response. Anyway, we took her home with us. She not only turned out to be the nicest, most loving dog I have ever seen, if my Susan was not around, my Lu was my go to "person". She was my "person". Lu later became a victim of Fanconi. That lasted for about six more years, giving her a life of about nine years with us. If my Lu were an actual human being, whatever sentences I would make, if she could speak, she would complete my sentences. If I did not speak to Lu, she would look at me and immediately know what I wanted and do it. My Lu and I were always buds. When she passed, I just couldn't bring myself to announce it. She has been gone approximately three years now and I still find myself looking around the house for her.

    Susan asks me which of the four dogs do I like the best. I keep telling her each is my favorite. Each have their own personality. My Hafta almost filled the space of Lu not being around. Now we have RediTugo and Yuwillavance left. Each have their own personality. Now, I find myself looking for Hafta to greet me when I come in from work. Some people say all this will pass. Does it really? I still "see" Lu. A week after Hafta's passing, 'Willa is still looking for her mother, Hafta. It may not pass, but it gets easier.

    Lamar


  • Hello Weitzel,

    I just wanted to say that before we lost Hafta recently, we also lost my Lu. My Lu was a return dog from someone whom decided after ownership of a year, they no longer wanted her. She was paired with a crappy little Chiuaua. We were told Lu was mean as hell and when we went to retrieve her, we were handed welder's gloves to handle her with. With that approach, I was not too nice in my response and I will let you use your on imagination of my response. Anyway, we took her home with us. She not only turned out to be the nicest, most loving dog I have ever seen, if my Susan was not around, my Lu was my go to "person". She was my "person". Lu later became a victim of Fanconi. That lasted for about six more years, giving her a life of about nine years with us. If my Lu were an actual human being, whatever sentences I would make, if she could speak, she would complete my sentences. If I did not speak to Lu, she would look at me and immediately know what I wanted and do it. My Lu and I were always buds. When she passed, I just couldn't bring myself to announce it. She has been gone approximately three years now and I still find myself looking around the house for her.

    Susan asks me which of the four dogs do I like the best. I keep telling her each is my favorite. Each have their own personality. My Hafta almost filled the space of Lu not being around. Now we have RediTugo and Yuwillavance left. Each have their own personality. Now, I find myself looking for Hafta to greet me when I come in from work. Some people say all this will pass. Does it really? I still "see" Lu. A week after Hafta's passing, 'Willa is still looking for her mother, Hafta. It may not pass, but it gets easier.

    Lamar


  • Hi Laura,

    I hope darling Maverick is healing your heart a little. Basenjis have a way of doing that.

    I just wanted to mention that by fluke we drove past Maverick's breeder's home and were delighted to see so many basenjis in their outdoor pens on a sunny day! I rolled the window down and Kipawa started talking like crazing to them. They were all running around and trying to see more of Kipawa (he's in the back seat - I have an animal barrier between the back and the front seats). Your breeder must have heard all of the commotion and came out right away to see what was going on. I kept Kipawa on leash in the driveway as we chatted and I mentioned you! We found that Kipawa has a half-sister living there! They have the same father - Sober! It was a great little visit and then we had to be on our way for our dike walk. Let's try to get together for a walk on the dikes or another place you have started walking Maverick. It might be nice to find a place for us to safely let them off leash so they can play. If you have been walking Maverick off leash in an area close to you, I NEVER mind driving to places to let Kipawa have some good fun time. Just wanted to confirm - is Maverick neutered? Seems to make a big difference with Kipawa. I'll private message you my email.

    I hope the dog classes and you hand feeding Maverick have been helping you guys bond.

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