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On loss


Hello there Dslyecxi! This question isn’t Arma related, nor is it a question about mods or videogames. I also don’t expect you to reply, but hey, I humbly come to you asking for advice. I recently accidentally killed my dog when I ran over him. I’ve seen the videos and read the articles you’ve posted regarding Eby and the other cat you attempted to save. It goes without saying that I too tried to save my dog from passing, but, alas. I’m having a hard time coping. How do you cope Dslyecxi?

The unfortunate reality is that a traumatic event like that is going to stick with you in some fashion for a long time. Coming to terms with it will take time, and you’ll be helped along the way if you speak to someone who’s trained to deal with grief. One of the most significant sayings regarding this sort of situation is “Pain shared is pain divided” (the flip side of that coin is ‘joy shared is joy multiplied’). As much as you can and will try to work it over in your head and ‘solve’ it yourself, you will ultimately be your own harshest critic and the judgments you pass on yourself for what happened will reflect that. Talk to a trusted friend or family member – talk it out, grieve, and if you need more, seek professional help. Don’t focus exclusively on the ending, but give appropriate weight to the experiences you had with your dog over the years. Recount the good times, remember them and hold them close – give the end it’s due, but don’t let that become the story itself. One tragic event doesn’t negate a lifetime of love and care, and the reaction you’re experiencing is clear testament to a strong and loving bond.

You can’t and shouldn’t hide from something like this, you can’t will it out of your mind and expect that to be a long-term solution. Self-medicating isn’t an answer, either. Whatever the situation may have been, look back on it critically, learn from what happened, and if you believe you made any mistakes – vow greater vigilance going forward. I found it helpful to collect my thoughts about Eby in the form of a writeup of the events – something I did shortly after it happened, so that I’d have a clear picture to reflect back on, and not one distorted by the distance of time. With the ‘Jaws’ example, I tried to take a too-common tragic circumstance and use that as a way to highlight the acts of humanity and kindness I saw during it. Perhaps writing it out, even if only for yourself, will help you to find the emotional extents of it. You can’t undo the past, but you can learn from it and you can use that to make you stronger and wiser in the future.

At some point down the road – dictated entirely by you, and not something to rush into unprepared – you’ll find yourself in a place where acquiring another pet will feel appropriate. When that time comes, seek out a local shelter, save a life, and embark on a new adventure.

 

(originally from a tumblr question)

6 comments

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  1. Seb

    You know Dslyecxi, I’m quite humbled to see that you took the time to put this here. Your advice really did help and I am eternally grateful.

    1. dslyecxi

      I’m very glad to hear that – thanks for letting me know.

  2. Anthony

    I know this post is quite old now, but i feel like sharing my little story anyway.

    My soon to be 14yo Brittany dog is currently suffering from a heart murmur and renal insufficiency.
    With adequat medication, he is still in a “good” shape considering his age and disease, but from time to time, i just doesn’t recognize him.
    We are in Summer, and with the temperature nearing 35°c, he can die from asphyxia at anytime just from running a minute or two. I don’t want to see him die chocking in pain, i’ve already experienced that when i was 7 with a Lhasa Apso.
    I know i’ll have to take him to the veterinarian for euthanasia, my parents even told me that it was up to me to choose when.
    He has been with me since i’m 10. I’m now 24, i should know better, but just thinking about it feel so wrong to me. It would be like putting down my best friend.

    To top that off, yesterday, my 8yo cat has been diagnosed positiv for FIV (cat version of HIV). For all i know, he might had that for a long time. He is starting to not want to eat and stuff like that. It will only get worse, even with medication.
    It feels disgusting for me to put a price on their head, but I don’t know if we can even afford the costs of medication and regular visit to the veterinarian…

    Pretty stressfull months ahead of me !
    I “might” post here again in the (hopefully not so) near future to share how i feel about all of this…

    Dslyecxi, you’re a good person. keep doing what you are doing and let nobody tell you otherwise.

    Tizba (top) and Rusty (bottom) say “hi !” : http://i.imgur.com/y9H71o8.png

    1. dslyecxi

      Hi Anthony,

      Great pictures – sorry to hear that they’re having issues. For what it’s worth, I had to give consent to have a wonderful cat put down while I was off in training in the Corps. That wasn’t an easy thing to do – I would’ve given anything to spend some more time with him, as he was the friendliest cat I’d ever known and it felt like a total betrayal to not be there at the end. When it comes down to it, the stark and harsh reality is that if it has to be done, and it keeps them from unnecessary suffering, there is a nobleness in choosing to transfer that suffering from them – physically – onto yourself, mentally. I know I had trouble coming to terms with the situation myself, but between feeling awful for doing it or having such a great pet suffer because I couldn’t take the loss, the former was far preferable. The memories will live on, and the fact that you know all of this in advance gives you even more time to save them in picture or video form. I’d like to think that it’s better to have time to say goodbye and give them a grand and well-earned finale than to lose them without warning. Celebrate the time you’ve had, as fourteen and eight years are pretty good runs all said!

      A friend who can be there for you when the time comes will be invaluable, too.

      I hope that helps in some small way. The situation you have ahead of you is something dreaded by any pet owner, and for what slim consolation it is, there are many out there who have been put in that situation, will know how it feels and how troubling it can be, and can and will give their support.

      1. Anthony

        Hi Dslyecxi

        I thought about the whole thing a bit more and i think i’ve accumulated enough will to do what needs to be done. That said, there is still a little bit of time for me to enjoy every moment i can spend with my dog, even if it’s just him sleeping next to me.
        Tizba is doing ok for now, his loss of weight has stopped, it’s good to see him regain a bit of appetite.

        You might have noticed it, english is not my main language. I’m having a hard time finding words that carry the correct meanings for how i feel, but there is one thing i can easily say :

        Thank you very much , your response helped me more than you think !

  3. Jones

    many people deal with death is different ways. some people can just “get over it” and others. . not so much. december 13th of last year my older brother passed away, he was only 26. death does not discriminate. .or judge. .or care. but im a firm believer in “everything happens for a reason”, theres a silver lining in everything if you look hard enough.i personally confided in my friends on TS, lol, and my wife. life is usually one sided, it either sucks for a while, or it rocks for a while, i know many others will have a different opinion on this, but thats my take on it.
    thnaks

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