When You Grieve for a Dog…..

One thing about grief is that no matter how many times you’ve been through it before, it still floors you.


Here are some of the things you might not expect to happen:

You won’t want to clean up the dog poop from the yard, because by doing so you’ll feel you’re discarding what’s left of your dog.

You’ll catch yourself referring to your dog as if they’re still with you, and it will unnerve you when that happens.

People won’t know what to say, and some will say some things you find absolutely objectionable. Don’t let it bother you. They mean well.

Your other dog will mask their grief, but will also grieve. You’ll see it in their eyes, so don’t forget to look.


When you see a photo of your recently departed, you’ll cry all over again.

You’ll think you’re doing well, until faced with a stressful situation. Then you’ll discover that’s not the case.

No matter how much you will yourself to “get back to normal,” it won’t happen. So experience your grief. By doing so, you’ll honor your dog and yourself.



72 thoughts on “When You Grieve for a Dog…..

    1. I have personally grieved for many years over my cat that passed 14 years ago..every July I have a tear and happy conversation over memories of this special cat..I can feel him near me again as if he knows I am still grieving.Now,I have another very special pet that is very close to me..a Yorkie..Sometimes I look at him and think of how it would be to lose him..so much that I had to purchase another Yorkie as a just in case the 1st one leaves me..funny thing is this one is completely different so now I am in pre-grieving state with both dog’s!There is no replacement..Each one is uniquely special to me.So,we just have a good time with them while they are our’s and love them all..keeping the memories as our own!

  1. Very true……being told over and over that “this too shall pass” means nothing when you’re knee-deep in grieving and we SHOULD grieve. A beloved pet that’s been a member of the household for any length of time can never be forgotten and leaves a huge hole in our hearts. Sending Hugs…….

    Pam and Sam

  2. My friend and neighbor, who is near eighty years old, lost both her dogs early last year, only a few months apart. I believe the second dog died of grief and old age. I suggested she visit her family in Germany to help ease her grief and when she returned we both went and got a rescue dog that has lighten up her life again. Thank you for this post.


  3. Having lost two in my lifetime, one after 18 years and one after 10 years I can absolutely relate to everything you say. Their passing was akin to losing a members of the family and they were my little friends who had been with me through all my trials and tribulations. They were always pleased to see me, loved me unconditionally and never asked for anything in return and I was blessed to have them as part of my life. Even years later I still miss them dearly…

    My thoughts are with you…

  4. I know, you have said it all so well.. Old Dog is on his last legs too, but John refuses to give up, he is not ready for the grief, it is never ever easy, well done.. and hugs.. c

      1. The old Codger looked me in the eye the other day and said..’ You know, we’re none of us getting off this boat alive.’
        I guess he has a point, Dogs too. c

  5. I know too well the feelings and they need to be acknowledged I also learnt who I could and could not share my grief with…some people don’t get it and their lack of understanding only makes your grief more distressing as it makes the pets loss seem somehow ‘less’ in others eyes…hugs and love Fozziemum xxx

  6. 😦 I’m sorry you have to go through that. It is just a sad part of life. I had similar feelings yesterday (not about the poop) after coming across a photo of my grandparents who both died more than ten years ago.

  7. grief has a counter part that needs to be watched. Depression in humans and animals. Both need to eat properly and exercise especially to keep healthy. I have witnessed grief turn to depression. As I minister to elders and shut ins when they lose a pet, friend ,loved one. Take care

    1. I’ve also seen people talk about depression to people who are going through a normal grief process, and by doing so make the person feel guilty for grieving. Don’t rush grief; it’s different for everyone.

      1. It is very different. I have sat with people for 15 years. It is what I do as a volunteer. This year I added Fredrieka/Fred trained her to be a therapy dog. It has worked wonders. Grief can mimic depression, no one should be rushed true but with dogs especially if they stop eating it can cause so much. Walking and play help that.
        You are right about some making others feel guilty about the length of time they greave, especially other family members may be it is because that family member is past it and feels they did not love the deceased as much as the one still grieving.
        Take care in eating properly and exercising, walking throwing the ball just something.

  8. I know exactly what you mean, having lost Mimosa in October. However, at the time I felt that only one of my other three dogs grieved. It was the smallest one and they didn’t even get on when Mimosa was alive. For a while she ate less and became very inactive. I thought I’d have to take her to the vet, too.

  9. I know exactly how you feel, and it’s really hard. Losing Gypsy so unexpectedly really broke my heart. Amber missed her so much, and as hard as I tried to comfort her, we really just grieved together. When 3 days later Amber had a heart attack and joined Gypsy it was devastating – but I think they had a pact. The only comfort was – they were cremated together – so they were always together and never apart. It was really hard to clean out their things, and when I did it was a serious decision what to do with them. Their favorite sweaters and treats went to a special friend in CA, the rest of their things went to a local rescue. I kept two of their beds and it broke my heart every day to look at them – but they stayed. We both missed the pitter patter of little dog paws. The first attempt at adoption was a nightmare all around. It filled me full of distrust and fear to try again.

    But when God and the Angels get together with a plan everything falls into place. We know they sent Herman to heal our hearts.

    Huge Hugs to you all!

    1. I didn’t know that, Donna. In my case, Rumpy seemed to be doing OK afterward, but this weekend he was truly pitiful, and I know I’m not helping matters any.

  10. Some people seem to think that by grieving they are weak – this is so not the case. Facing up to it will help. I know this will probably want you to hit me but it will get better, things will get easier. But I know that doesn’t help here and now!

  11. we have recently lost our labrador Jake and it is so strange without him.You forget how much of your day is organized round him until he isnt with you anymore.The house feels so enpty too. We are thinking of getting another dog in time but not at the moment. x

  12. This is a journey that is personal. Each walks the path in different directions and at different speeds. It is not a pleasant trip but it is brightened by the wonderful MEMORIES. THOSE can NOT be taken or lost.

  13. every words found a place in my heart and I can understand and feel… I know what it this, when I lost my cat, I lived the same things… and nothing goes… the love is great and you keep them with yourself, even while you are crying… memories are the great to keep them alive… My heart with you all my lovely little friends…. Give a big hugs and kiss to dear Jen, for me too, dear Rumpy 🙂 Thanks and Love, nia

  14. I know this all too well. I kept a zip loc bag of fur and made a ‘memory box’ which felt kinda weird at the time but I’ve since gone into the memory box to re-use some of the old dog’s things and now it feels good, reminds me of the happy times. Dede will be well remembered and she’ll always be there.

  15. We kept our dog’s unfinished dinner, in his bowl, in our fridge for weeks after we lost him. And we couldn’t wash his nose prints off the window for the longest time.

    And driving home from work would find me crying in my car on the highway, even if I had been fine all day, because I knew he wouldn’t be there when I got home.

    It’s such a deep grief, because you are losing an immediate family member.

    1. That I understand. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t have before she passed. Even though I’ve had many pets go on before, I’ve never grieved as deeply as I do with DeDe.

  16. I kept saying goodnight to my snowy for months, keeping his side of bed empty…
    I keep forgetting he isn’t with me and end up saying things that hit me so hard because he is gone…
    Hated the fact that people dont understand grieving a dog is for real…
    still seeing his picture makes me cry like a baby…
    i have started loving every dog on street, today only i gave my choc biscuits to this tiny little dog i found on the street…
    i cant see a dog movie anymore
    I end up replaying his last day on my mind
    Biggest was- for weeks i had this dream that he has come back to me..started from day one and i still dream of him..feels so real
    somedays when im alone at home i talk to him while making my coffee “snowy how are you baby?” , i ask that alot…
    but i dont think people i know understand anything about grieving for a dog..

    sorry got little carried away…

    1. They don’t get it, and I know my coworkers thought I was crazy for crying at work over my loss. But loss is loss, and when you love someone or somedog with all your heart, and they are taken from you, your grief is very real.

      1. totally agree there…grief is for real..i didnt even go to work that day because i was a mess…crying so bad…and i knew people would think im crazy…and if someone had said anything like “you are crying over a dog”, i would have hit that person…so i just didnt go…it hasnt even been a year now and people expect me to overcome it…makes me so angry…

  17. My parents got me a dog when I was 16 after serious eye surgery. When he died I was devastated and couldn’t watch any TV program that had a dog. Later I always had two pets at the same time and it made it easier because there was a pet to grieve with. It didn’t lessen the sorrow, it just let me share it and have a pet to hug. Each time I watched the companion pet grieve too.

    Don’t let people dictate your process. Go according to your heart.

  18. its always hard to lose a beloved pet be it a dog ,or a cat or even a rabbit,and It feels like a part of me has died too every single time but I wouldn’t have it any other way so I will always have a pet ,a bunny with all the fluff you get covered in,xx Rachel

  19. There is no good way to deal with grief. My beautiful Tia, Sep and Katie still possess my heart and even years after their passing I will find there are moments that bring them back to me. Sometimes a smile is what happens, sometimes a tear still. Sadly these beautiful creatures live so much shorter lives than ours so we often must grieve for them. But I will take all that sadness, for I also will never forget the joy of those seemingly short years. Sending love to you across the seas.

  20. The grief is always so painful. The first few weeks after the loss are the hardest. It’s good that you still have Rumpy there to help. Maya was a great help when Sephi passed and my mom, who just lost Rocky, has her dog Solo with her.

  21. I once read, long before my first dog came into my life, “Don’t give your heart to a dog to tear…” I gave my heart to a dog, just like all of us who love dogs do… and my heart got torn… just like all of us who have loved and lost our dogs have… but I think we can all say for one reason or another it was worth it for all the wonderful and precious moments we shared with our beloved dogs, our friends, our family and our companions… your beautiful post speaks volumes and your final words re grief, “So experience your grief. By doing so, you’ll honor your dog and yourself.” put grief in a very special light. Wolfie hugs 🙂

  22. this is great advice. Im so sorry for your loss and I can completely understand your pain. Everyone grieves differently and thats so important to understand. I remember when my last dog passed I did not want her ashes, and some people were judgmental about that, I just said everyone grieves differently. However, I totally experienced what you are feeling regarding the dog poo. I know Dee Dee was a special girl and she was so lucky to have you

    retro rover

  23. My parents and I put our German shepherd to sleep nearly 29 years ago, and we still talk about that dog as if he left us just yesterday. My current dog is almost 12, and I’m trying to brace myself for his inevitable demise. Nothing is easy about losing a loved one, so you just try to recall the best times you had with them.

  24. and it is true with grieving over cats as well. I am so very sorry. Take care of yourself and your fur babies and honor Dede with your grief. She was a inspiration to me. you are an inspiration to me.

  25. I hear you loud & clear! I’ve gone thru basically the same feelings 4 times in my life so far; and I suspect I’ll go thru it many more times in the future. No matter how much it breaks my heart to say goodbye to a canine friend/family member, I just cannot imagine my life without at least one canine in it at all times. Their unconditional love and constant companionship is worth all the tears I could ever release.

  26. These are all so true. We’ve been through the pain of loss with pets more times than we care to think about, and every time we say we can’t bear to go through it again – and still we end up adopting another. We truly feel your pain.

  27. You described it perfectly. That is how I feel every time. I still have my old dog’s collars and tags because I felt like getting rid of them would be getting rid of my beloved friends.

    I think about you every day and wish you some easing to your grief, but I suppose all of us must go through it. Wishing you peace Jen.

  28. I’m so sorry for your loss – I’ve been away, back, busy, away – and just caught up on the sad news about DeDe, and that is all I can say, I’ve been there, it’s worse that awful, and I’m sad for all of you.

  29. I lost Oskar the Samoyed in 2009 and still break down in tears. I am so so very sorry for your immense loss. Never deny grief, it is just another expression of our deep love. I am sending you {{hugs}}
    Marty’s mom

  30. I got a little shiver when I read that bit about not wanting to clean the yard. After Fang died I collected every wisp of his fur left on the furniture. Still have it. Intend to keep it. Always. Pawpats. So sad.

  31. I still feel Sadie and Maverick….they passed with 3 weeks of each other
    some become part of those heartbeats inside of you…
    Beautiful thoughts …
    Take Care….You Matter Much…

  32. I am sorry for your loss. I am with you in heart and soul. I lost animals before too, the last one 3 years ago. Is a very difficult time, and the pain for me is always there, I am able to see the good memories too. But there is a certain amount of that pain, that always stays behind. I think that is normal, the more important is how you handle it. To let the sadness come for that it can go, and allow the good memories to be there too, so the pain is not the centre of everything. Be well!!!

  33. I especially agree with all the inappropriate things people say who mean well, but can’t quite connect with my grief. For months and years later, if I unexpectedly see a picture of my departed animal companion, I start to cry.

  34. Its a year on Wednesday I lost my Boxer Alfie. I lost my Jack then on the 15th of June. 4 months between them. although I have the puppies now, my heart still aches for my boys. and especially little Jack because he was ‘mine’ .

    I cry most days. My mind will wander or I will see something to remind me and I cry again.

    I kept their bowls in my dressing table drawer, Alfie’s collar by his casket and Jacks is beside my daughters bed. Jacks half eaten chewie bone from his final day is beside my special stuff in my top bedside drawer. Their pics are everywhere. their caskets side by side in the front room.

    We never forget our furry family. we never stop missing them or shedding a tear. we just after a good few months learn to cope with the heartache a little bit better. I watch videos of them on my phone and that makes me feel like they are still here and thats good for my soul.

    Let yourself grieve Jen, you must grieve. I used my blog to outpour so many times my heartache over the boys..maybe this will help you? and don’t forget Rumpy…when Alfie passed away I spent quality time with Jack cause it was so sad to see him missing his brother.( I think I obsessed a bit too much)

    There are no words I can say to help heal your pain all I can do is speak of my experiences this past year and hope it helps a tiny bit.
    Sending you and Rumpy and your family
    much love
    Ceri xxx

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