How do you move on when a dog dies?

[frame src=”” target=”_self” width=”689″ height=”387″ alt=”Black Lab mix Ace on the prairie” align=”center” prettyphoto=”false”]
The “older” I get, the more difficult it becomes to lose a dog.

Every loss is hard, but I have grown even more attached to each dog that comes along.

This says more about me and where I’m at in life than it says about the dogs.

Had my family’s dog Brittni entered my life when I was 24 vs. 14, our relationship would’ve been very different. Not better, just different.

I wish her life could’ve overlapped with my current dog Ace, but it didn’t work out that way.

And now that Ace is very much middle-aged, he has had several dog friends pass away.

This happens often when you’re an older dog, I guess. Ace doesn’t seem sad about it like I am.

Multiple friends of mine who went out and adopted their first dogs around the same time I did are now on their second round of dogs.

I’m so glad I’m not at that point quite yet.

When I think about the future loss of my dog, one thing that helps is knowing these friends have since gone on to adopt new dogs, and now they love and bond with these dogs just as much. (At least from my point of view.)

That’s not always what we want to hear when we lose a dog. It’s hard to imagine “moving on,” but it’s nice to imagine finding another to love, with time.

When a good friend lost her dog recently, I remember she said, “Why is this so hard?”

It’s because we are so close to our dogs, another friend said. Often, much closer than we are to the people in our lives. We bring our dogs into our beds. We hold them. We carry them when they’re sick.

Yes, this is true. And they see us at our most vulnerable, too, in so many scenarios in their short lives.

Every dog is special in his or her own way. We are just so fortunate we get to share our lives with them.

My friend Erin wrote on her blog, “Isn’t it great that we all get to have the best dogs?”

Yes. It is.

Ace and Lindsay

What’s one of the things you love most about your current dog?

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15 thoughts on “How do you move on when a dog dies?”

  1. My first dog passed away in March – we had him for 11 years (he came into our lives when he was 5, passed away at 16). It’s still hard for me. Whenever I see photos or read about Dobermans, I choke up a bit. I think a lot of my trouble with moving on had to do with guilt that I wasn’t there when he died, and wishing his passing had gone differently.

    There is one thing I have appreciated – Benz was such an old dog when he passed, and I had forgotten what he was once like. Making a memory photo book of him, I got to dig through old photos, and was shocked at how young he looked before he got all grey! I slowly began to remember all his antics and the ups and downs we had with him when he first moved in (lots of separation anxiety).

    Now when I remember him, more of his entire life comes to mind, instead of just those final old years that were so heartbreaking and sad. It’s a small gift I guess.

    1. Oh I’m so, so sorry to hear about your loss, yet I’m so thankful you have all those positive, happy memories as well. It sounds like Benz was a very special dog.

  2. Each of us is special in our own way which is partly shaped by the things we have shared with Mom in life. Any of us could pass at anytime from an illness or accident, of course, but Mom worries about Katie being 12 and slowing down. Hopefully we won’t have to deal with loss for a while.

  3. I know this feeling too well – we’ve lost three in the last few years and both jack & Maggie are seniors. We’ve kind of accepted it because we know we want to adopt seniors and give the the proverbial ‘soft place to fall’…we just know they won’t be here long, so we enjoy every minute.

  4. My brother has a lovely website about dog quotations at One of the best pages there is for people who want to write about the beloved dog they’ve lost. Of course, I never really understood until little Lita came into our lives three years ago.

  5. Now that our golden is an older dog, I find myself looking at her quirks (and she has quite a few) a bit differently. I’m being more patient with her because I am realizing the time I have with her is limited now. I wrote a post about that. Here’s the link. I love sharing my life with an older dog – okay, an old dog. They are extra special for so many reasons. And one thing I love most about our other dog, a springer, is her happy demeanor. When you observe her, you can’t help but feel better. When our pets die it is so hard, but the heartache is far outweighed by the joy they bring and the memories we get to cherish forever.

  6. When Sephi passed away, I felt so empty. I still had Maya and we cuddled on the couch together a lot more than usual. But it wasn’t the same without my Boo Boo Brat. Losing her was hard. But one thing that helped me cope was looking for another dog. I purposely sought out a different breed mix so that I wouldn’t make comparisons to Sephi. And so I found Pierson. He doesn’t replace Sephi, not by any means. He is very different form her. But he did help lessen the pain of her loss. Not everyone can get another dog after losing one. I understand. Everyone deals with loss differently.

  7. While I so believe to live every minute, and having them for any amount of time is worth the pain… I am expecting to be destroyed when the time comes. But also know it gets easier and I can love again – differently but again nonetheless. As I lay here Saturday morning tapping on a phone wrapped by dogs… it really is about that intimacy. You nailed it.

  8. I really wish Jasmine and Cookie could have hung out when Jasmine was young. They’d have such a great time.

    I will always love Jasmine and she’s always in my heart. Cookie makes a worthy heiress, though. In fact, I think that Jasmine is secretly coaching her.

    I love Cookie’s friendly and sweet disposition, the weird and crazy things she does, and we love the “Jasmineisms” she seems to be adopting. It REALLY seems like Jasmine is coaching her.

    1. That’s so good to hear! I’m glad they have so many similarities. Cookies is unique, obviously, but it’s nice to think Jasmine really is coaching her.

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