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Day 1-2

On Sunday July 2, 2023 our dear boy Spikydoo crossed the rainbow bridge at the tender age of 17 🌈.

Day 1 after he was gone was definitely hard. It was a holiday in Canada so my husband didn’t have to work his day job. We had one client coming back in our van business and a couple of tasks to get done for that business.

Having something to do helped. We brought one of the vans for an oil change. While I was waiting I was just standing there, feeling kinda numb and just looking at photos of Spikydoo quietly tearing up.

It was a day where I just wanted to collapse on the floor and cry and think of him, but I had work to do in between.

The grief was hitting me in big waves, non stop throughout the day. It felt like a roller coaster. A few minutes I would be okay, but then something would hit me: the emptiness in the house, the absence of noise, all the things we were used to him doing like:

  • Being in the kitchen when Johny cooks hoping he would drop food on the floor (we called this kitchen patrolling)
  • In his last months he was very sensitive to certain sounds so being able to cough, sneeze or drops things on the floor without getting a reaction was just WEIRD
  • Being able to answer the door or a phone call without having him bark was also super weird and sad
  • Just the absence of seeing him chill on our bed or the couch. My mind was still looking for him under the covers or confusing a shirt or purse left on the bed for his body. This was brutal 💔

I think what hurt the most was that sense of feeling alone – almost abandoned. I kept having this visceral reaction that I lost something precious and that never ever again I will be able to recover and experience. I felt intense distress – way more than I ever imagined (and I’ve been mentally preparing for this – and pre-grieving for a while!). The only thing I imagined is that feeling you get when you’re young and you have a crush that doesn’t love you back but this is the only person you wanted and you feel like something has been stolen from you. Something like that. Literal physical pain. Grief is weird.

This day I took some concrete actions, like:

  • Reached out to my trusted therapist for help
  • Joined a pet grief support group because I have a sense this adaptation will take a while
  • Went for a walk in the morning and in the evening with my husband, to keep the ritual alive – and also with a friend because I needed to get out of the house.
  • Made a list of all the vet appointments we did in the last few years. This data showed me not only how well we were taking care of him but also it helped me integrate the “timeline” of events better inside my head. I think when you choose euthanasia for your pet you try to make sure that you made the right decision. After revisiting this data I felt validated that I had taken many steps before getting here and the decision was not taken lightly, so I guess this helped somehow.

The toughest part of day 1 was the SHOCK. I think I truly realized for the first time how much space and noise and presence and LIFE our pets bring into our homes. To feel that absence was painful and distressing to say the least.

Day 2 is already slightly better. I was able to sleep better.

Spikydoo was part of the “5:00 AM breakfast club” for the last 2 years or so (that’s what my revision of vet records and emails showed me). Although in his last month he was asking for food sometimes at around 3 am as well. Waking up in the middle of the night to make sure he was an automatic habit I had in the past few years.

Before going to bed last night I told myself it was okay to rest because he no longer needs me. This hurt a bit, but I think giving myself that permission helped me sleep more peacefully.

I had a therapy session too and was glad to hear my therapist also has some lived experience with pet loss in her life. She gets how pet grief is big and is valid and it’s complex.

Spikydoo was my first dog ever. This is my first rodeo when it comes to pet loss and it’s hard, so it’s okay to feel shakey and lost for a while.

We have scheduled some time in nature camping with my husband in the upcoming days. I think it’s gonna be grounding 🙏

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