Dog Forum banner

1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,208 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
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.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,222 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,319 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,634 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
900 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,877 Posts
@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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,339 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
562 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
641 Posts
If you feel she may be suicidal, someone does need to be contacted. Do you know of family or friends you could contact? You mentioned that she was Christian. Has she mentioned a church to which she belongs? Most ministers have training in counseling and are wise enough to know when members of their congregation need more help than they can offer, but they first need to know that someone is in need of help, and she may not be making that clear to her minister. Even if you don't share her faith, I doubt the minister would even inquire about that. He/she should just be grateful to know that someone cared enough to alert him/her. I agree that if you think she may be thinking of suicide as an immediate solution, that the police need to be called. I'm just suggesting other ways she might be able to be assisted in finding the help she needs.

There are grief support groups for people who've lost pets too, of course, and there are books written on the subject by a variety of people. Some of the books are religious in nature and some are not. There are even on-line support groups for people who've lost pets, including those overseen by grief therapists/counselors. If she's uncomfortable dealing with someone face to face with regard to her loss, perhaps she could seek some help with an on-line counselor. It certainly isn't unusual to feel grief, even what might seem like to other as unusually prolonged grief, over the death of a pet. The suicidal thoughts are definitely worrisome, however.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
507 Posts
I was about to suggest a grief support group.

For elderly people, who are usually lonely, they're a HUGE benefit. After my stepmom passed, my dad went to a widower's group, and it was so good for him. Unfortunately, the group ended not long after he started going, and that's been a huge loss.

If you can find a support group for grieving people in her area, maybe suggest that? My local pet memorial place (they do cremations and then also memorial stuff) actually has a pet grief support group, but any sort of grief support might be helpful for her. And these groups often have a psychologist or other counselor as the leader, so if she is very bad, they can help step in.

Unlike others, I do not suggest calling the police in regards to this issue. The police are usually poorly equipped to deal with mental health issues. Getting authorities involved can be a good or bad thing. If there's a senior services group where she lives, that might be a better option, and they are usually more than happy to do welfare checks.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
4,614 Posts
I know our local humane society does a pet bereavement group once a month, I wonder if there is anything like that for her?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
20 Posts
If it were me, I would absolutely contact those who know her in person and express your concern. I would press people in her immediate or at least somewhat closer circle to run interference, if they're willing, because, having had the police called on me in a dark moment, I can tell you from experience that positive things rarely come of that, especially if she has no support system around her, so better to enlist the support first and then see what else needs to be done. Those people will also know if there are bereavement service available for her. Calling the authorities is, in my opinion, a last resort to be approached if no one nearer to her seems willing to step in.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,208 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
I do think that calling any authorities would be a bad idea. She's not saying she has a plan, she was saying that she felt like she has to "make tough choice". I actually do have a social work degree and am usually used to dealing with suicidal people, but not for this type of problem. Most of the people I'm used to are victims of trauma or chronically mentally ill and typically in connection with mental health treatment already.

I think my biggest concerns were some of her resistance to getting help, and that she lives in a fairly rural area so I don't think there are many resources for help. If this patterns keeps continuing I might ask someone down there who knows her. It's just really difficult to try and help someone who is so far away.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Chas and Sha

·
Registered
Joined
·
507 Posts
I think my biggest concerns were some of her resistance to getting help, and that she lives in a fairly rural area so I don't think there are many resources for help. If this patterns keeps continuing I might ask someone down there who knows her. It's just really difficult to try and help someone who is so far away.
I totally understand that. My dad is old (78) and in a very rural area, so it's hard to get him to see that he needs someone to talk to, and there are very few resources even once I got him to realize that. If there's not a grief group that she can attend, or a pastor that might be interested in talking with her, I don't know if there's a lot else you can do. It's really tough. Thank you for caring.
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top