Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Why Do We Do It To Ourselves?

Puppy George (with Meg)
George seems a lot better this morning. He has eaten a bowl of chicken and rice, his panting has subsided (the symptom that was really bothering me) and apart from having a huge wet crap on the floor last night, he seems much better.
I know that the emotional investment I have with my animals ( especially the ones that live in the house), is vast.
and  I perhaps alluded to this fact yesterday, when I hinted that my anxieties do soar somewhat when one of them becomes off colour or unwell.
Only yesterday it seemed that the dogs, all of them, were just puppies. Now, I feel somewhat melancholic when I realise that they all have a firm hold on doggy middle age. 
In a year or two they will be pensioners, and I will be facing that awful time which Kipling described so well in that poem "Power of the Dog". He said   "You give your heart to a dog to tear"
And it's true.
William & Meg
I still miss my lost dogs dreadfully. Finlay less so because in many ways William has sort of morphed into Finlay's place, but the likes of Constance and especially Mabel still have the ability to pull at my emotions when I remember their quirks and personalities.
When dogs are with you 24/7, they become as necessary to a person as breathing.

Some people say that they could never care for another pet  again when they lose a much loved dog or cat.
I never used to fully appreciate just why they should  need to protect themselves from future emotional pain and grief ,after all animals give you so much more in those oh so short years that they are with you... but now I think , I can understand just where they are coming from., especially when the pets that you keep are starting to show those little tell-tale signs of getting older.

hey
ho

43 comments:

  1. I always console myself with the knowledge that nobody could have given my pet a better life than I could have.... and your pet couldn't ask for any more than that!

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  2. The four above all look like toys.

    I dread that 'eventide'. But I probably won't be around to experience it.

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  3. still suffering from the loss of our lovely girl a couple of months ago and I can't even consider another little one at the moment although I miss having that little furry face come say hi every morning... glad your little one is on the mend x

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  4. It will always break your heart, but consolation that you give them the best life they could ever have hoped for and provided you with all that unconditional love. I still miss the three dogs I had when I was a boy amd they all broke my heart.

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  5. Oh. I looked at the title and thought that this was going to be about Onanism. Hey Ho.

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  6. Every pet you lose rips the guts out of your heart but it is the price we pay for the joy they give us.

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  7. I think you've hit the nail on the head why some pet lovers can't bring themselves to adopt another animal when a much-loved pet has died. I remember my Blizzard and Boris...

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  8. I know that when my boy, Toby, goes I will be devastated, he is my special dog. However, I also know that I will take on another rescue dog, it won't be the same, but I know I shall love it.

    I'm so happy that George is feeling better.

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  9. John, as you will recall, you know I feel exactly the same way about my dogs and how hard it is to make the right decision when the time comes.

    Number Three is pregnant now. Will that be another litter of ten?

    My expat friends were queuing up for Doggy's pups so nine of them have gone to new homes, good ones. I have kept one and have finally relented and given him a real name. He's called Charlie and, much to Marcia's chagrin, sleeps on a bed of the clothes I had been wearing that day next to my bed. The little bugger follows me everywhere even tripping me up if I go for a pee in the dark.

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  10. I find it helps the loss of animals if I send a blessing of thankfulness that they shared my life and walked alongside of me for a portion of my life. I do this with human beings as well - I started doing this after a much loved aunt died, and on her funeral wreath I wrote "Thankyou for sharing my life". Sort of turns around the pain of the loss, lifts the heart, lessens the hole that they leave, animals or humans.

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  11. They do indeed take a piece of us with them when they leave. Just the same, my life is immeasurably richer because of the animals that have/are/will be in it.

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  12. It is very hard. We have a 15 year old lab that is moving closer to the rainbow bridge every day. When the time comes....well, we`ll all be shattered I`m sure.

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  13. We do it because our hearts have dog/cat/insert-pet-of-choice spaces in them, just waiting to be filled. And no matter how many times we have little pieces of our hearts ripped out when we lose a beloved animal companion, for so many of us yet another pet-shaped space miraculously appears!

    I have loved and lost many such companions over the years and I remember them all with love and affection ~ even Daisy-the-devil-cat! My beautiful greyhound, Amber, suddenly passed away in April last year and after 10 1/2 years of her constant company I still miss her. It took over six months before I was ready to adopt again but another space in my heart did eventually open up again and I now have Matty and Nikki to share my days with :-)

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  14. I know EXACTLY how you feel, J.G.

    I never owned or even wanted a pet until my present two pussies (or maybe now three, as is increasingly looking likely) started moving in one by one 12 years ago, from different homes. I never wanted one because I knew how much they completely take over one's life - and they've done just that. But, although daily dreading their eventual 'departures', I'd be incapable of turning away any new arrivals who wanted to move in with me. So, you see, like you I'm a slave to the little furry beings.

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  15. So glad that George is feeling much better.
    We are all attached by our heartstrings to our animals with so much love.
    I lost the last of my six bow wows earlier this year, and I did not think I would get another dog....it was so painful.
    I now have Brownie, and he has been my saving grace.

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  16. I said just that after losing my 2 old labs one year apart. It took my 2 years, then I started fostering and 3 weeks ago, I took in an old boy of 12 because he was just so damn sweet and no one wanted him. I know it's crazy because I know he will break my heart. But he's giving so much to us, he's going to be worth it.

    Hope George is feeling better very soon. It is a worry.

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  17. That's the thing about love. It will always, always break your heart. But life sure as heck isn't worth living without it.

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  18. Sharon said it pefectly.
    Glad to hear little George is on the mend.
    Jane x

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  19. My dog is 8 now, so I guess he's middle-aged too, which means my fur-baby is now slightly older than me. Though soon we will level out! Seems bizarre somehow. Not sure I can do this again... we'll see.

    Glad George is feeling better. A good poop works wonders.

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  20. Every one of the comments and your posts, echoes my concerns and feelings on my pets. Back home in SA I have a 12 yo Scottish Terrier and a 16 yo ginger cat. The next age cat is also 12 yo and I know our hearts will be torn when these pets go. We've lost many pets over the years but we always find place in our hearts and home for another rescue dog or stray cat. Glad to hear George is on the mend.

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  21. Every one of the comments and your posts, echoes my concerns and feelings on my pets. Back home in SA I have a 12 yo Scottish Terrier and a 16 yo ginger cat. The next age cat is also 12 yo and I know our hearts will be torn when these pets go. We've lost many pets over the years but we always find place in our hearts and home for another rescue dog or stray cat. Glad to hear George is on the mend.

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  22. What other lifelong relationship do we eagerly enter into, knowing that the other is going to pass away well before we do? And yet, we do it again and again.

    The simple answer is, as you Brits would say, we are all nutters.

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  23. I guess the key is to come to some realization and acceptance of the impermanence of it all. Now, if you figure that out, let us know!

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  24. mine are 11 and 14, so I am preparing myself over the next year or so, particularly as my blog friend Leanne (tales of simple days) has just written so beautifully about the loss of her dog Sammy.

    Meanwhile I have a big happy smile that George is on the mend.

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  25. So glad to hear that George is feeling better. It is amazing how fast that time does go....Even if a pet is with us for a short time..we are touched by something very special. A feeling that nothing/no one else can give us. That is what makes us keep going back.

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  26. Glad that George is feeling better. We just lost our 11 year old husky mix, Helga, 3 weeks ago now. We went through several months of her going off her food and having horrible stinky accidents in the house at night, which she felt terrible about. I don't want to be all doom and gloom here but we let it go too long before finding out she had tumors in her throat and also in her abdomen, nothing visible or feelable from the outside to indicate this was going on. If we would have caught it sooner it could have been treated, so imagine the guilt our whole family is dealing with now for lack of medical care to our sweet girl.
    One thing she was doing for over 2 years before she got really sick was for lack of better description, making mouth noises, she would be on her bed and continueally swallowing and acted like she had dry mouth or something stuck in her throat. Apparently the first stages of the tumor on her esophagus. I sure hope that is not what you are dealing with but a chest x-ray showed us the tumors after the vet couldn't feel a thing. She also had fluid around her lungs, not in them, so it was hard for her to take a breath. Sorry about putting this here, I could not find an email address for you to send this just to you.

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  27. Glad to hear George is on the mend. I hope it was simply something he ate that didn't quite agree with him, and that he's right as rain now.

    I never felt i could go right out and get another pet immediately after losing one. We made an exception for Phoebe; after Sparky died, Grace seemed very lonely, and we thought if we found another cat to keep her company that would help. It might have done had Phoebe wanted to get along, LOL. She and Grace did work things out, but Phoebe never has really warmed to having other cats around.

    When Grace left, my heart was broken. She was my special pet. I have loved all my furfriends and never really understood when someone used that phrase, until Grace. She was gone for almost a year before Jim came bounding into our lives. My heart was ready to receive another furfriend, even if the rest of me wasn't so sure, and never mind the household.

    I like Vera's idea of sending a blessing of thankfulness. I've done this as well, though have never articulated it. When i realize the time together is finite and most likely far too short, i make the most of every moment we have together. Hurts more, but no regrets.

    x

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  28. I adore William and Meg - they are so beautiful John.
    The downside of owning dogs is that they don't live as long as we do - I still love Algy, Oscar, Ben and others i have lost.
    As to your dog being ill - Tess was off colour, as was my friend's Milly - both ate large quantities of grass, were badly sick and then finally polished off their dinner at some late hour. Perhaps it is something to do with the hot weather.

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  29. When I had to have my elderly standard poodle put to sleep it took two years before I could face having another one. I think that's because I found looking after an elderly dog so physically and emotionally exhausting and I didn't want to put myself through that again too soon.
    When I had to have the next poodle destroyed quite young because of back problems we decided to have a puppy straight away. It was the right thing to do and I was so busy and exhausted cleaning up the house all the time that I didn't have time to dwell on things.

    Maybe that's the truth about dogs, they wear you out and tear your heart apart - but what joy they bring to our lives.

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  30. It is hard when they are with you 24/7. I got 2 cats a couple of months after Heidi died but I still haven't got around to getting another dog, even though I want one; I'm still missing her I guess x

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  31. They hold our hearts always don't they? and that picture is so sweet..

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  32. Grief is grief, be it pet or human you are grieving for.

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  33. As someone who has been in pieces over the loss of a goose, not to mention two much loved labradors, I can absolutely understand what you mean.

    I'd dearly love to have more. But am I brave enough?

    Rusty ducks don't die, but they don't quack and follow me round the garden either.

    I do hope that George continues to improve. J.

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  34. 'Why do we do it to ourselves?'
    Because the pleasure they bring far outweighs the heartbreak. That's why :-)
    Were getting a new JRT puppy in a few weeks - to ginger up our two old girls. I hope I'll always have a houseful of dogs....

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  35. Kipling nailed it, didn't he. And so did you: "When dogs are with you 24/7, they become as necessary to a person as breathing."

    So glad to read that George is on the mend x

    We have 7 dogs now, ranging in age from 2 years to 7 years. The eldest has health issues but I'm hoping the others will be around for a good while yet. The pain of losing their predecessors was immense, but the new boys brought healing. I have never had a favourite before though and now I do. I cannot imagine life without my Finn so I'm hoping he lives for ever!

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  36. Well said John, I know exactly how you feel and I so hope your boy is feeling better!! do they have Pepcid there for upset stomachs--It's for people, but I give it to my dogs often.

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  37. Pets is such a small word for the true meaning of it.

    You have a good heart, you will always love your babies and mourn their loss. Your ability to love so deeply makes you the person you are.

    As much as you have given to them, they have equally given to you. Hold that in your heart and save those precious memories to review when it's time to be without them.

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  38. John - Completely off-topic but I can't find an email address for you. How about a post on "switching off" life support machines? I read another piece in the Guardian today which said "At 3.47pm the following day his life support machine was turned off." Yet you say this sort of statement is nonsense....

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  39. I think the sadness that comes with the loss of a pet is more than balanced by the love you share while they are with you. Can't imagine not sharing my life without a pup or two.
    I totally agree with Artic Fox.

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  40. They aren't around long enough, but they are certainly worth the heartache.

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  41. We feel the same about our cats.
    Hope to get some dogs for the farm before too long...

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