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Question
Posted by: Worried daughter | 2011/11/25

Death of a pet

Hi doc....I''m worried about my mom! She and my dad stays alone and very far from us. They lost their Spaniel 4 weeks ago....she had cancer and after more than a year of intense treatment, my parents were looking after her like looking after a dying child...they had to put her down....she was 12 yr old and all they had. Since her death my mom has fallen into a depression....crying alot, every time she just talks about her....is withdrawing herself and feels misrable all the time. She says that she can except that she is dead but can''t forgive herself for putting her down...she feels as if the dog has trusted her to protect her and that she let her down by " murdering(my moms perspective) her.
Is there any thing I can tell her to help her get ''unstuck'' and move on?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Losing a pet causes real grief and needs to be mourned properly, and treated with respect. And its especially difficult in many ways when a pet has had to be put down, even if that was the kindest thing for them. Too often, as in your story, the person blames themselves and struggles to forgive themselves for making that decision. Is iot possible to arange for your mom to see a counsellor ? Yes, the dog dud trust her to be protective - and protecting her from continuing pain and a much more horrible death WAS a protective thing to have done.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Cat Lady | 2011/11/25

I myself probably the same age as your mother lost my Staffy puppy in an accident. I cried uncontrollably but was fortunate enough to have a friend who got me another Staffy pup soon after. It did wonders for me. I still mourned the first one but this little one became so much part of my life that when she died 5 years ago at the age of 12 I still get upset. In the meantime I became a volunteer and also got onto the Committee of our local SPCA and at one stage our house was filled with about 23 cats and 8 dogs. Some have passed on, some are still with me. I have now 3 dogs left and 9 cats. What I am trying to say is that maybe you should go out and buy your mom a pup/dog not necessarily a spaniel. Your mother will soon attach herself to another being that craves attention and there are so many. I have personally also have had to put down animals and it doesn''t get any easier the older we get. But we can give so much love to unwanted pets. I still grieve over that Staffy but have others to comfort me. Perhaps not put properly but written from the heart. My children are also far away.

Reply to Cat Lady
Posted by: cybershrink | 2011/11/25

Losing a pet causes real grief and needs to be mourned properly, and treated with respect. And its especially difficult in many ways when a pet has had to be put down, even if that was the kindest thing for them. Too often, as in your story, the person blames themselves and struggles to forgive themselves for making that decision. Is iot possible to arange for your mom to see a counsellor ? Yes, the dog dud trust her to be protective - and protecting her from continuing pain and a much more horrible death WAS a protective thing to have done.

Reply to cybershrink

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