Fellow dog owner not doing well with deceased dog

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Fellow dog owner not doing well with deceased dog

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Old 04-04-2016, 12:57 AM
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Fellow dog owner not doing well with deceased dog

This is a bit of an odd post but I felt like I should pose the question to other dog people, as opposed to anyone else.

Let me give a little background. Before she was sent to NJ Stella was fostered as a very little puppy in the south with some of her brothers by an older (like 50s/60s) woman I'll call "Sue". Stella was clearly very well socialized from very young and I had wanted to contact her to tell her how grateful I was for that. So I contacted Sue through Facebook rescue networks and occasional contact turned into a sort of casual friendship. I say casual both because we don't talk about much more than dogs because we are like night and day (she's a super conservative, Christian with many social/political beliefs I find offensive and I'm an outspoken lesbian atheist who is regularly involved in civil rights movements.)

Anyway, to the actual point. Sue is a regular foster for many puppies for a shelter down there but she had a dog of her own "Daisy" who she was positively in love with. Daisy was clearly one of those "soulmate dogs" for Sue. Well, sadly about 8 months or so ago, Daisy died. She was elderly and had been suffering for months. Sue actually couldn't even handle putting her down, so Daisy died of her ailments. To put it lightly, Sue was devastated. This is understandable to any dog lover, but it has now...surpassed normal and healthy grieving. It has been at least 8 months and Sue still posts 1-10 posts on facebook a day about the "Rainbow Bride", heaven, or something religious about a loved one dying. Every time she talks to me or anyone else on Facebook or on the phone all she does is talk about Daisy or how torn up she is. She even once said that she was considering suicide because of this grief. I've gently suggested many times to find another dog to keep, to go to counseling, seek out some sort of help but that doesn't happen. Again, I don't know Sue very well but I know she lives alone, is divorced or widowed, and she once mentioned a son in the military, but he's never been mentioned again so I think he might have died. Either way, she doesn't seem to have many people who care about her.

I've been contemplating messaging one or two of the other rescue people I know who know her in person. I just feel bad because clearly this woman is going through more than she can handle. I'm sure it's also hard for her in some situations too because lots of people don't understand how important dogs and pet loss is.

Do you think there's anything I can or should do? :-/ It just pains and honestly, disturbs me every day to see this stuff from er every day.
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Old 04-04-2016, 02:42 AM
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Hard to say if there's anything you can do... It took a willful dog to fix my broken heart.

When I met my ex years ago, she had a little shihtzu cross mutt. Very quiet dog, barely existed. The night I met the dog was the first time she ever barked, the ex even asked what the heck, she's never made a sound until the night she met me. The woman always said she owned the dog, but the dog belonged to me, and if we ever split, the dog was mine. Tia became a furry 4 legged soul mate, I swear she could read my mind and she opened right up to the world around her. She was a everything from a fishing partner to a pillow, not a mean bone in her body and she made me laugh. She got into mouse poison when she got out of the house one day - I'm still angry with the vet - and I'm still angry with myself that I didn't do more for her even after all these years. She was bleeding through the nose, massive diarrhea, but she never made a whimper through all the pain she must have suffered. The picture of my ex laying on the floor in hysterics, petting my dead dog is burned into my brain to this day. Still carry alot of guilt for her, and I can't seem to put it down. Maybe this lady is feeling somewhat the same.

Bad as it sounds, I couldn't think straight for a month, cried and wanted to vomit every time I thought of her. A month after Tia died, friends showed up on the doorstep with a little bichon, 1 year old that was bounced from house to house due to allergies or what not and they wanted a forever home for the dog. The kids of course went crazy, couldn't say no but I wasn't ready for another dog. I ignored that dog hard, just couldn't let him in to my heart. He knew there was something wrong with me, he kept at me, pushing and prodding for 2 months - I felt like a traitor to Tia. He finally won me over and helped me heal. That was August 2007 that she died, I'm a man of 45 and i'm shedding a tear typing this out. No other dog in my life has had that effect on me.

Hope that doesn't sound too weird.

Maybe contact someone that has direct contact with her and see if they can help. Dogs are wonderful creatures - the right dog can be amazing.
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Old 04-04-2016, 02:55 AM
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you could probably post something sweet and comforting. This helped me when Kryesor died.

Dogs come into our lives to teach us about love.
they depart to teach us about loss.
A new dog never replaces an old dog.
It merely expands the heart.
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Old 04-04-2016, 06:34 AM
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Grief is absolutely normal, but this sounds extreme enough that medical assistance may be required. I've been in situations similar to yours, I start a conversation about psychologists, explain that they are like physiotherapists: you go to them with an issue and they form an exercise program (for the brain) to help. There is so much misinformation regarding psychology and I think it contributes to the resistance about seeking their help.

A new dog may help but it could go the other way too, depression can cause you to almost shut down completely and I'd be worried about introducing a new dog to someone unable to care about it. This is not a judgement of your friend, just a caution that if she says she's not ready for a new dog she may have good reason behind it.

Bear in mind, I'm not medically qualified in any of this and have not met your friend so this may be completely off the mark. I hope she feels better soon.
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Old 04-04-2016, 06:37 AM
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if you really think the person is suicidal, I'd call the police. that's over your head and should be cared for my professionals.
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Old 04-04-2016, 07:15 AM
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Could you somehow get in contact with people se knows and organize a sort of gathering for her?

If she's been talking about suicide, that is very serious. I don't know how it is where you/she is but there are places you can call that are mobile mental health professionals and they go driving around helping people. For example there is an organization called The Van that will come and help people who need the help to where they are.
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Old 04-04-2016, 11:48 AM
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@traciek88 The help she needs is beyond the scope of your ability. At this point it sounds as if her grief is beyond "normal" grief. While everyone grieves differently and 8 months isn't necessarily the cut-off point, I would say that her mention of suicide is enough to warrant the need for professional help. You have a number of options: 1. Get in touch with people who know her in person and explain the situation. Ask them to check on her and/or encourage her to go to counseling. 2. If you ever feel that she is truly a danger to herself call the emergency services in her area, they'll check on her and make sure she hasn't gone through with anything. 3. Tell her that if she mentions suicide/a serious suicide plan to you, you will have to call 911 for her area. 4. Keep suggesting counseling. Maybe do some research regarding Christian counselors in her area and provide her with a couple of names and numbers (nothing super in depth, just do a Google search).

Ultimately, there isn't much more you can do to help her. If she does harm herself, remember that you did everything you could possibly do to help her, short of flying there and knocking on her door (which is not something you should have to do as she has other friends who are geographically and emotionally closer to her than you are). You have no control over other people's actions.

Anyway, I hope this helped some! Sorry if it got rambly.
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Old 04-04-2016, 09:29 PM
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Grief is very personal, there is no right or wrong way to deal with it, but in time we all must face the reality that life goes on, and we must find ways to move on. Just being a sounding board, so to speak, can be very valuable, but beyond that, there is probably little you can do. If you know anyone that knows her and lives nearby, you might have a conversation with that person.
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Old 04-05-2016, 08:44 AM
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The loss of my retired Greyhound Joe was so sudden and devastating (he was only five), and I went into a mild depression of sorts. I rarely ate, didn't want to hang out with friends, enjoyed going to the barn less. There is a pet store here and the employees are allowed to bring their dogs, and one day I walked in and there was a Greyhound. I had to leave the store because I became so upset.

I lost a lot of weight quickly and my mother was very worried about me. She kept trying to convince me to go to the rescue where I got Joe and look at some other Greys.

I couldn't. The thought upset me too much. I was dogless for 9 months and then we got Nev.

People do things in their own time. Maybe she'll fall in love with a foster dog.
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Old 04-05-2016, 08:46 AM
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Whoa, don't know how I missed the suicide part. I agree with others- if she continually talks about it professional help is needed.

Did she mention a plan? Or is it just ideation at this point?
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