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grief, pets

Suck it Up, Buttercup!

I’ve been hesitant to write. Not because I don’t know what to say, but because my dog is dying and I don’t want to talk about that publicly too much.

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Not the best shot, but he was too excited about going outside to pose for a pic.

I know you’re animal lovers and that you understand. But stoicism is the message we’ve been given all our lives; you don’t grieve animals. You bury them and move on. And that has been just what I have done with everyone who has gone before.  I did it with Lucky. With Sage. With DeDe. With Precious and Lover Boy. I cried when I took each of them to the vet that last time, cried that night. Then I got up the next morning and went to work. Because that is what you do.

This time is different. I will not tamp down my grief. I will experience it, and will not feel ashamed for doing so. This time I am being in the moment… for the most part. I’ve been self-soothing with sugar and practicing avoidance by playing Candy Crush Soda.  Otherwise I am here.

I am frightened by how I feel. Grief to me feels like I’m out of control. I need to do laundry, but i don’t want to. I need to cook the veggies before they go bad. I’ll do it tomorrow. I need to go to bed, but i don’t want to sleep. Then the next morning I don’t want to get up.

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Rumpy is still the baddest begger on the block. Some things will never change.

I’m afraid that I’ll be written off as just another depressed middle-aged white woman who can’t get her shit together. It’s just a dog, for christsake!  Be strong! Lift yourself up by your bootstraps! Suck it up buttercup!

Grief is a normal reaction to loss. Even though Rumpy’s not gone yet, he’s leaving me, and I’m hurting. I want to avoid the well-meaning but condescending comments like, “I hope you feel better soon,” or “have you thought about getting another dog?” The DSM-V identifies grief as a normal reaction to loss that can last for as long as two years, and even after that can pop up from time to time. I’m pretty sure I’m right on schedule.

So how is Rumpy anyway?

His breathing has been more labored. I know it’s partly due to the warmer temperatures. I’ve had the a/c on and cranked down low so he’ll be comfortable. Rumpy lies quietly in the floor to breathe easier. He’s still eating well, and doesn’t act as though he’s in pain. He is playful and lights up when we get ready to go outside, but it wears him out pretty quick. A long trek for us these days is a walk around the backyard and back to the front door.

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This is how Rumpy spends much of his day. Lying like this helps him breathe easier.

Sometimes I wonder if maybe they got it wrong. Perhaps it’s not cancer after all. The vet could have made a mistake. And the breathing? Yeah, I haven’t found a fanciful explanation for that one yet, but I’m working for it. I think they call this denial. Then I get mad because my dog is dying. Then I feel guilty for being mad. Then I become frustrated. Then I cry. Then I eat a cookie and play Candy Crush.

I don’t know how much longer I have with Rumpy. I have today, and I’m grateful for that. Tomorrow will have to take care of itself.

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About rumpydog

Rumpy has gone on from this plane. We, his kitty siblings,continue to blog about animal welfare and responsible care of companion animals at rumpydog.com in his stead. You can follow us on Twitter - @RumpyDog. And don't forget to LIKE our Facebook page! Thanks!

Discussion

56 thoughts on “Suck it Up, Buttercup!

  1. It’s like you’re on an out-of-control train taking you to a place you don’t want, but you can’t stop, you can’t get off, and you can’t change it. It’s OK to grieve. It’s OK to take time off. You’re a grown woman and know that no two losses are alike, so no one has a right to judge, even you. Be gentle with yourself.

    Posted by KDKH | March 30, 2017, 9:55 PM
    • But I am judging, aren’t I? I don’t want to be pitied, like I can control what others think of me.

      Posted by rumpydog | March 30, 2017, 9:57 PM
      • Your task is hard enough without the judgement of yourself. Release that, and it won’t be so hard, because that’s a sucky distraction.

        Posted by KDKH | March 30, 2017, 9:58 PM
    • When you love your pet like it is your child you cannot help but grieve for their loss, or their illness which you know is leading to a shorter life. There are no words anyone can say to comfort you or take away your pain. Rumpy will always be a part of your life, Jen, and he will remain always in your heart. Be there for him now while you have him and know that for every minute of what is left you create a new memory. Those moments he eats, or wants to go to the park are all small things but they are special in that he is there with you, Sending loving thoughts and thank you for telling us just how Rumpy is doing now .

      Posted by Diane Lo Nigro | March 30, 2017, 11:37 PM
  2. Get his pawprints. Have a vet come to the house if you can.
    Grieve your heart out. Nobody who follows you and Rumpy will ever judge you.
    All my love to you at this difficult time.

    Posted by Shelly Lyon | March 30, 2017, 10:05 PM
  3. I don’t pity you, I feel compassion because I’ve grieved every dog I’ve lost. I almost lost my mind when my hearing ear dog died from Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. It was like losing a part of my soul.

    You get to feel pain. You get to pre-grieve the impending doom hovering over you. You get to make memories to hang onto when all there are left are the memories. You also get to escape into candy crush now and then. I’d worry about you if you were not suffering.

    There are some losses that are easier than others. This is one too many in a relatively recent string. Give yourself a break and some room during your experiences of a ride neither you nor Rumpy want to be on.

    I think about him every day. I look for updates every day. I think about you and I wonder how you are doing – because I know how I’d be doing and it wouldn’t be very well. Screw sucking it up. It is overrated.

    Posted by anotherboomerblog | March 30, 2017, 10:11 PM
  4. You are doing exactly what you need to do right now. You are feeling exactly what you need to feel right now. There is a good chance that all of us reading this have been through this too and each of us have experienced it in our own way. We are here when you need us.

    Posted by Rodney Zeigler | March 30, 2017, 10:12 PM
  5. Grieving is, indeed, a natural reaction to a personal loss, and society is coming around more to recognize that people have the same feelings for animals. A cousin of mine said it took her about a year to get past the death of a dog. Then, she went to a shelter and got another one who was a little older than most. Now she has two dogs. I’m eager to adopt another dog (or 2), simply because I want to give them a chance at a good home.

    I’m still getting over the death of my schnauzer, just like I’m still getting over the death of my father. I have a picture of Wolfgang when he was about 15 months old as my screensaver, and I touch my dad’s urn every day.

    Once Rumpy does leave, I hope you still keep your blog going, Jen. I know you have a lot to say, and your followers definitely want to read it!

    Posted by Alejandro De La Garza | March 30, 2017, 10:23 PM
    • Thanks Alejandro. I have thought maybe one day adopting an older dog. Maybe. That’s to work out later. I am happy for your cousin though. Hearing those who have experienced loss have come to a place where they are ready to give another dog a home gives me hope I’ll one day be there as well.

      Posted by rumpydog | March 30, 2017, 10:30 PM
  6. Mom Kim here – And besides, people who really understand what you are going through, many of us have been thru it – they don’t judge or pity but offer support, caring and concern – I’ve been there. Give us a chance to show that we care.

    I also understand where you are – I was sort of there too and at times, my sister still is. It is not easy to open oneself up to others. I lost my Angel Shiloh in March of 2016. What was hard is I suspected what was happening (cancer) but two local vets (one knew Shiloh) kept doing anything but tell me what was going on. But I did blog about it and the comments were caring and supportive from those who knew – and those are the ones that matter.

    And above all – concentrate on what you do have at this moment. Yes, your dog is dying – but he’s not there yet. I wish I had spent more time with Angel Shiloh – I could have, I am/was retired. No, I was doing what the vets told me and forcing him to take meds that didn’t really help him. I should have had him outside more which is what he loved. I had the time – why didn’t we go for short walks more. Like you said, I have today, and I’m grateful for that. Tomorrow will have to take care of itself. I’m still working on that since Lady Shasta remains here with me.

    Oh, and all those other feelings you are having – been there done that. 🙂

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    Posted by Kim Brooks | March 30, 2017, 10:35 PM
    • I’m sorry about Shiloh. I’m not real good with feelings. I’m incredibly bad at being vulnerable. And as a rule I don’t trust anybody. So this is really hard for me. Thank you for being there for us.

      Posted by rumpydog | March 30, 2017, 10:39 PM
      • By the way, here in Blogville is a blog just for letting pet bloggers know that there is a dog or cat or whatever kind of pet, in need of POTP and prayers. With your permission, I would like to let them know about Rumpy. It is a comforting feeling to have others show their concern and support. I have used it whenever me or my dogs were in need of prayer/support.

        Posted by Kim Brooks | March 30, 2017, 11:08 PM
      • Yes that will be nice. Thank you.

        Posted by rumpydog | March 31, 2017, 3:27 AM
  7. I can not say much more than all the others have said before me. I just want to add that I respect you and your right to grieve. I deeply love my furry family members so much that when I lost the last one, I could not do it again.

    I also respect you for loving Rumpy and providing comfort and peace while he is ill. You are an amazing person (I believe it because of Rumpy).

    Peace and blessings, D.

    Posted by Davina "Dee" Lyons | March 30, 2017, 11:23 PM
  8. The process of losing a beloved pet is never easy no matter how you slice it. I commend you and you have every right to grieve in the way that is best for you. I have always said never another but one never knows. I love having one around that much. Thinking of you.

    Posted by Renee Espriu | March 30, 2017, 11:38 PM
  9. I follow your blog and have always enjoyed reading your posts. All I can say is that I dread the day that we too have to go through our dog’s final journey. We all grieve in different ways. You just have to do what is best for you at the time.

    Posted by jaspersdoggyworld | March 31, 2017, 12:34 AM
  10. Oh Bugger what other people think about you and how you deal with this tough time,and when Rumpy finally goes you grieve as much as you want to and those with the stupid comments can bugger off….what the hell do they know any how.We deal with grief in different ways,me I make a special coffin for each bun I have lost ,I line it with a blanket and gentle place my baby in side and then I bury him in the garden next to the other that have gone before the whole time I’m crying my eyes out.Even to this day I still shed a tear for them…happy tears for the happy memories.
    So I say Bugger those that say stupid comments and have no clue and no compassion you do what you need to do and when you need a virtual hug I’m here sending one to you and Speedy will send lots of kisses,xx Rachel and Speedy

    Posted by speedyrabbit | March 31, 2017, 1:04 AM
  11. You’ve inspired me Jen … I have a post 2/3 written and decided not to publish it. Now I’m going to finish it and put it up in the next few days. Grief is a birch. Before, during and after. I miss Bella with a force so strong it has rendered me incapable of the most basic things in the past couple of weeks. Give Rumpy a cuddle for me and know we are here for you no matter how far away we are physically. X

    Posted by bumpyroadtobubba | March 31, 2017, 1:05 AM
  12. I’m grateful that there is a today you have together… and I wish there is a tomorrow and as much time as possible you will have with Rumpy. It’s not easy to find words to describe this time… so I send you a big hug instead….

    Posted by easyweimaraner | March 31, 2017, 1:20 AM
  13. I’m so sorry for what you’re going through. I’ve followed Rumpy’s adventures for a long time and I know how heartbreaking it is to lose them, because they aren’t just a pet – they are family. I hope you have as much time as possible with him

    Posted by suzie81speaks | March 31, 2017, 3:01 AM
  14. No words. Love & loud purring from all of us.

    Posted by Annabelle Essert (@RainbowCatsx8) | March 31, 2017, 4:51 AM
  15. It’s never “just a dog” I still mourn for mine after 7 years and still find it hard to talk about them without crying. Heartbreaking to lose a member of the family.

    Posted by DailyMusings | March 31, 2017, 5:13 AM
  16. 11 months on and i refuse to suck it up..it stinks..and knowing they are dying stinks..anger fear dread misery all before even they have left..and no you are not a crazy middle aged woman you are a compassionate human losing a dear family member…people who don’t get it..never will..i’ve been watching Doc as he too goes down that shitty path..no sooner had we lost Forrest than Doc was diagnosed…so i feel totally battered and permanently bereft..your grief will be as individual as your relationship..but i get it..there is only one MUST and that is must do what you need to do to keep yourself afloat..take your cues from Rumpy..he is more aware of this time in life than you…sending my love to you all 💕

    Posted by Fozziemum | March 31, 2017, 5:21 AM
  17. I am very sad for you and the Rumpster right now. I took Jamima to the vet for her final adventure only 3 weeks ago. I think we grieve forever. We never forget. But if you give yourself a day or 2 off, clean the house. Get active and when you are ready there will be a new fur-baby to nestle in next to that hole in your heart. Im house hunting at the moment. So, the week or 2 after I move I’m heading to the lost cats home…….🐿🐿🐿🐿with love,H

    Posted by helentastic67 | March 31, 2017, 5:22 AM
  18. Thank you for sharing the reminder that grief sucks and love is sometimes very hard. Personally, I think that one of the biggest problems in our country is that people don’t like to admit that sometimes incredible sorrow (or rage or depression or helplessness) is the most appropriate reaction to events.

    If you could “suck it up,” I’d really worry about you. And you certainly wouldn’t be the person I believe you to be.

    I’m sure it’s no comfort to you that your reaction to Rumpy’s condition is a sign of an appropriate humanity.

    I still weep thinking of my first dog who was my rock and comfort in an abusive home. I’m never going to apologize for the sadness of that child who lost the only being she could count on.

    Posted by somethingwagging | March 31, 2017, 5:32 AM
  19. You have captured the very real existential torment of the pet parent. There are no right answers and you will always doubt. But the memories and the pure love will eventually outweigh that

    Posted by Roy Sexton (Reel Roy Reviews) | March 31, 2017, 6:04 AM
  20. Enjoy the time you have with him. He’s so adorable. My sweet Brady passed away a month ago for a cardiac arrest, totally unexpected. I though we would have him with us for at least another couple of years. I’m still morning him today.

    Posted by edithlevyphotography | March 31, 2017, 6:47 AM
  21. No, Jen….it’s Not just a dog……..you are talking about one of your family members. Your reaction about what’s been happening to you is normal…..Rumpu….he is very very important to you. Of course, Rumpy is very important to me, too……every single time, I enjoy looking at his pictures…his lovely faces that I don’t want to lose….I love your family……

    Posted by eripanwkevin | March 31, 2017, 7:26 AM
  22. hugs

    Posted by ksbeth | March 31, 2017, 8:05 AM
  23. It isn’t just a dog, for Christsake. Rumpy is family. I’m with you on this all the way, sending love and all too sadly understanding.

    Posted by The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap | March 31, 2017, 10:21 AM
  24. I understand Jen. I went through this with Mac. He passed to the Rainbow Bridge on February 28th. While he was here I didn’t want to go anywhere or do anything. Just wanted to spend as much time with him as I could. After he passed I didn’t want to do anything or go anywhere because he wasn’t here and wouldn’t be here when I got back. I’m slowly getting back into doing things but I still cry when I think about him. Rumpy is as big a part in your life as Mac was in mine. It’s a really hard transition and has no time limit. You grieve for as long as you need to and don’t worry what others think. (((hugs)))

    Posted by bigdogmom2013 | March 31, 2017, 11:46 AM
  25. I am so sorry to hear this very sad news.

    Posted by Bassa's Blog | March 31, 2017, 1:00 PM
  26. We grieve. I think we grieve MORE for our dogs and cats than for people. At least people understand what’s happening.

    Their lives are much too short. We may get another dog, but it won’t be THAT dog. We may love it as much, but it will be a different love. The stoicism for me is understanding that their passing is natural. Nothing i could have done would make them live longer. That is hard for me because I desperately want them to live and for me to make peace with their passing, I need to recognize when they have had enough. When they are ready to go and not let what I want be in the way of what needs to be done.

    Garry and I made a deal long ago, having once put one of our pets through horrible medical stuff because we so much wanted her alive. We swore we would never do that again. We haven’t.

    Which doesn’t make it any easier.

    Posted by Marilyn Armstrong | March 31, 2017, 1:40 PM
  27. I am just here, thinking of you and Rumpy. I went through this with Z Cat and she left us on January 17, 2009 and I am still grieving. Being in the moment works I think but it still hurts, makes you so mad you want to scream. It is frustrating, you want to fix it because that is what we do… we fix things but this can’t be fixed. But being there and being present does work on some level. It kept me busy and that worked for me. I spent a lot of time in a big overstuffed chair with Z on my lap and I didn’t dare move because I knew she wanted to be close. Don’t worry about the veggies… 🙂 Do what comforts you and Rumpy during this impossibly difficult time. Letting the tears roll helped me too. Rumpy knows your love and that is big!

    Posted by Under the Oaks | March 31, 2017, 2:34 PM
  28. Rumpy sure is special. Thinking of you both x

    Posted by Catherine Johnson | March 31, 2017, 6:35 PM
  29. We think you are doing everything exactly right. Rumpy is your special friend and you love him very much. Prayers for you all from Dennis, Emily and their Meowmy.

    Posted by Dennis N. Emily | March 31, 2017, 8:14 PM
  30. To heck with those who have never been lucky enough to experience the true unspoiled love you have with Rumpy. Love and grieve and be who you are. You and Rumpy deserve that. Enjoy every moment. I have been there and still miss my Oskar something fierce. That’s what a “heart” dog is. Sending you strength and support.
    Marty’s Mom

    Posted by marty the manx | March 31, 2017, 9:04 PM
  31. Jen, Im so sorry about Rumpy. Its hard when they are old. Its hard when they are sick. Its like one day you wake up and are out of time. I think someone said it feels like a slow motion train wreck… and thats true.

    I lost my last girl to cancer. My boy just got old and frail and mostly slept his last year. I still miss them. My current girl is showing her age and slowing down. She still thinks she can do everything like she is young, but she cant. We still have years, barring anything sudden, but I also know our time is getting short. It makes me sad.

    Rumpy is a special boy. It wont be the same without him. Life is better with him tho.. and as long as you have moments together, make the most of them. Even if its just together doing nothing. Or an extra cookie. Everything is ok as long as he is comfortable and happy. And when the time finally does come… we will all cry with you.

    Big hugs to you and Rumpy… :0)

    Posted by Margie | April 1, 2017, 7:28 AM
  32. A dog is a dog but it is never “just a dog”. Big hugs to you and Rumpy.

    Moppy, one dog that we’ve loved dearly just left us last week. We’ve been sad, very sad. But at the same time happy that he died naturally – we’d always thought that we would put him to sleep but always had reason to not do it. He had lost his whole nose – we never talked about it publicly before his death as we didn’t want to kind of talking about him behind his back – yet he survived for almost 3 years. He lived happily in a very comfortable place for his last years….

    So, Jen, take your time. You’ll be sad, embrace the sadness. Cry. Mourn. You need it to say goodbye to your beloved one….

    I’ll pray for your best!

    Posted by rike jokanan | April 1, 2017, 9:01 AM
  33. No, no, no….you do not need to suck it up, not one bit. It’s tough with an ailing dog when our grief starts before we physically lose them. Is it easier after they’re gone, because we’ve gotten a jump start on it, or does it just drag it out even longer? We recently went through the same thing, and I still haven’t figured out what the answer is. But I do know you have to let grief take it’s natural procession, no matter what anyone says.

    Posted by Jan K | April 1, 2017, 9:37 AM
  34. There is no sucking it up when you are losing part of your family. It hurts and there is no shame in grieving. I am so sorry that you are having to go through this with Rumpy. You are in my thoughts.

    Posted by Melissa K. Clinton | April 1, 2017, 12:04 PM
  35. We send you gentle hugs as you care for you sweet Rumpy…
    God bless you both
    Hugs Madi and mom

    Posted by cecilia07 | April 1, 2017, 5:10 PM
  36. I do not know what to say. I feel for you and Rumpy. Everyone else has said it all. Sending you all the best. 💜There is no right way to deal with grief you can only go with your grief. xxx

    Posted by willowdot21 | April 2, 2017, 1:27 AM
  37. Granny and I am so sorry you have to go through this… horrible time, Jen and our heart breaks to hear about you Rumpy. We hope your mom and you and the kitties still have some time good together. It’s hard to let go of your furrbaby 😥 Healing Pawkisses to all of you ❤ ❤ ❤

    Posted by angelswhisper2011 | April 2, 2017, 1:53 AM
  38. OH, SO WELL HAVE YOU CAPTURED THE EXPERIENCE OF saying good-bye…without really ever saying good bye…because those we love are forever with us … I want to help you feel not so sad…but that is hypocritical of me because I am still sad about several humans and even more furry kids I remember with such fondness…I am completely empathizing with you…and your perfect expression of love and grief and how those two are intertwined.

    Posted by murphysmission | April 2, 2017, 3:21 AM
  39. Sending prayers that you have many more days with rumor. He is not just a dog he is you love and life and it’s ok for you to feel all the stuff you are feeling you are a true dog lover. Peace.

    Posted by Sand Spring Chesapeakes | April 2, 2017, 7:00 AM
  40. I’m coming over from POTP, and although we’ve never met, or just met, I have to say that I know how you’re feeling. We take in senior dogs for a rescue. Some are with us for months, one this past January, for 16 short days. Grieving is a process unique to each of us, no matter what or who it may be. And I know from my experience that grief is something that has become a part of me and has altered who I am – Just as each dog we’ve cared for has. There’s no such thing as “just a dog” and don’t let anyone make you feel differently. You do what you have to, and don’t ignore what your heart and soul are telling you. Prayers and good vibes from my corner of Virginia for you to find peace and comfort at this time with your boy.

    Posted by Kim - Life at Golden Pines | April 2, 2017, 7:06 AM
  41. We all have our own way of grieving, just do whatever you need to do to grieve in your way. No one can tell us how to grieve, only we know what helps us through that grieving process. Take every minute you have with sweet Rumpy to do what you need to do to help you and him at this very hard time. Will be keeping you and him in thoughts and prayers. Warm, gentle hugs

    Posted by Mags Pooh and Chancy | April 2, 2017, 8:24 AM
  42. You do what is best for YOU! Don’t worry about the rest of society and how they think you should feel!! Enjoy the time left and love on your sweet boy. Sending hugs and love and prayers from Florida.

    Hugs,
    Lily Belle & Muffin

    Posted by Lily Belle & Muffin | April 3, 2017, 11:36 AM
  43. I completely understand your anxiety. I worry constantly about the day my dog is no longer with me. I’ve had many pets in the past but my dog Klaus is just different. My husband died suddenly a few years ago and I probably would have ended my own life if not for my dog. He saves me every single day and I worry what I’ll have to live for when he is gone. I am a firm believer that you can never love your dog too much. Enjoy every moment with Rumpy. He knows you how much you love him

    Posted by doomedunicorn | April 3, 2017, 12:29 PM
  44. Dear Jenny, be sure, my heart with you both, you are a great team and you both know how great your love. I wished to be there with you, please be sure, I pray for you, not easy for anyone. I cry now. I l,lived this with our old cat and I was crying every day in the vet clinic… Love and Hugs, dear Jenny, and Lovely Rumpy!

    Posted by niasunset | April 3, 2017, 1:31 PM
  45. Believe me we can grieve animals more than humans sometimes. Animals never judge and are always by ones side.

    Posted by Mags | June 20, 2017, 7:31 PM

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