How do I cope with losing pets - long read, I need hep :(

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Joe_Danger
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How do I cope with losing pets - long read, I need hep :(

Post by Joe_Danger » Mon Jun 23, 2014 12:41 am

I apologize for the long read, but I genuinely need help as I'm in a very bad spot in life right now and I think you guys would know a thing or two on how to deal with heavy stuff like this, but before offering advice I would greatly appreciate it if you got to know me a little bit first, so please read this...im a tad weird :)

All my life I've loved animals dearly, I love them all from cats and dogs to spiders, bugs, insects, fish, reptiles and rodents. No animal disgusts me or freaks me out. I find all living beings, human or non human equally amazing and wonderful. I have a thing where it is very difficult for me to distinguish between the worth of a human or a dog and a cat's life, to me losing a pet is equally as traumatic as losing a human family member and try as I might I'm just not able to change that.
The older I get, the more pain I feel when I see a human being or animal suffering or dying.

A few years ago for a short while I used to visit a therapist, I had some self esteem issues with my old college where I wasn't doing well, so that got to me quite a bit, wasn't depressed or anything, I'm too positive a guy to get depressed, but I was feeling down and was scared about the future. Me being...well me I quickly warmed up to the therapist lady, and she did something with me she had never done before, we would analyze the results of the tests and questionnaires together as I was a psychology student and showed great interest in the whole process. She found practically nothing wrong with me over the course of several months but one thing stuck out...extreme and I mean EXTREME empathy.

This leads to me being in absolute psychological and even physical pain when I see a living being suffer, I can easily tell when people are sad, scared, upset, happy and often share those feelings with them, it can be both a blessing and a curse.
Witnessing extreme pain, as crazy as it may sound completely and utterly clouds my rational judgement, prolonged exposure to something like this can cause self harm or worse. I love life, I absolutely adore my life and it's a fantastic life, I'm at the start of a new and wonderful career as an illustrator for children's books, people love my work, I absolutely adore my work and am not the type of artist who is never satisfied with their own work or strives for perfection, far from it. I've been drawing since I was one year old, I'm 30 now and have always enjoyed every second of it.
I'm happy where I am and genuinely enjoy what I do
I'm never really going to be like an artist who draws properly and stuff, but I do illustration work which seems to be very well accepted even though it's not all super anatomically correct and such.
My goal in life isn't to be a good artist
it's to be a guy who illustrates and enjoys his work and warms up people's hearts with his creations if possible.
I have already achieved that, when kids and adults look at my work it brings a smile to their face, it evokes emotion.

My art is driven from pure emotion and unless I feel good, unless I am happy I'm unable to draw.
You guys can check out some of my stuff here
http://shinigamikiba.deviantart.com/gallery/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Now back on topic.
As some of you are aware my poor cat Anastasia, a beautiful 7 year old persian I'd rather not post pictures of because it's not something I can take atm or ever :( was diagonzed with CRF in 2012...well it appears her time has finally come.
I am completely unable to cope with this, when she was diagnosed with the illness in 2012 I almost got a heart attack and since then I've been under almost constant stress and pressure yet still loving every second of being with her. I am unable to cope with the pain of seeing her or any other animal for that matter go through this, the incompetent animal healthcare workers in my country only add to this insane feeling of helplessness and sheer pain.

Even if a vet is nice, helpful or understanding they do not have the knowledge or competence I read about on the internet, I could get into it but there's no point. TWO vets would refuse to give her IV fluids when she clearly needed them a couple weeks back, both within 5-10 walking distance of where I live.
Today we finally tired a different, 3rd vet, getting there is expensive, their services are far more expensive but at least they seem to have a better grasp on her situation than these other two vets did. Unfortunatley even that place with supposed 24/7 services today ended up making us wait ALL DAY and we brought her in at 8PM which the vet admitted might be too late now but yeah.

Anyway the pain inside me is so powerful, so strong that i'm afraid I might react...poorly, harm myself or worse as I've done in the past in situations like this. God knows I love life and if I could I'd live forever, but there are things I simply can not cope with and people who know me in real life understand this.

This isn't my first pet, but with the loss of each pet the pain only grows, I don't get used to these things as people say I should, every new loss I take much much harder than the previous one. The period when you see an animal being ill and dying is simply too much for me.

I want to keep owning pets, I've given up on dogs because for them i get stressed out even more, but at least another cat would be nice but I'm not strong enough to go through this again. :(
How do people do it

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Jacks
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Re: How do I cope with losing pets - long read, I need hep :

Post by Jacks » Mon Jun 23, 2014 7:23 am

Dear Joe,

I'm so sorry to hear about Anastasia and not only the heartache but the trouble you've had finding vets who care at least part as much as you do about your precious girl. You don't say what country you live in but your calenders on your web page are in a language I don't recognise, which suggests it's some way from here. That means we can't do much for your practically and all we can extend is our own empathy and hopefully support and advice if we can. There are certainly a number of people who regularly visit this forum for whom loving their pets is the most precious thing in their lives and if you read some of the threads in the the bereavement pages you would see what I mean.

Loving and being loved, whether it be cat or human or anything else, makes you vulnerable to pain as well as joy. I think you've concluded that you can't rid yourself of being empathic - and it's an essential part of what you are - but I'd be careful about reading too many sad stories at the moment but instead TRY (I use that word meaningfully) to act practically for Anastasia (as you are doing) and to focus on the good, loving, happy and joyful things about your relationship with her. Love and empathy are NEVER wasted; you have a chance to help Anastasia not to suffer, which is what is most painful I guess - her little life has been HAPPY because of you; loved and cherished. I think you probably will need another little life to love and cherish and to try to see your empathy as a gift, rather than a millstone round your neck. It's a gift you can give again and again (it doesn't get any easier) and it's part of the responsibility of being a human that we have to handle the hard times, pick ourselves up, and find another opportunity to give that gift.

PLEASE take care of yourself; the world would not be better without your empathy; lives would be poorer. You do need to concentrate on positive aspects of your life as well - you need to get a balance - otherwise you will drive yourself mad. If you could talk to your therapist about this I think it would help - you need to offload your feelings to someone who will listen if you can.

Your art is astonishing and very unique - and also an important part of you. I love the Literacy Awareness - who else would have thought of such an allegory. I've heard it said that creativity can be close to madness at times, and that's because of the incredible ability to feel and take meaning from everything around you. If you can, task yourself to focus on happy themes whilst you're coping with this loss, then give your gift again. It's who you are.

Fusses to lovely Anastasia, who was lucky to find you as her human.

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Re: How do I cope with losing pets - long read, I need hep :

Post by bobbys girl » Mon Jun 23, 2014 9:25 am

Dear Joe,
I've just read what 'Jacks' said and I couldn't have put it better myself. I am in a bit of a rush this morning - I have to take my boy to the vets to have his dressings changed. I was completely shattered at the news last week that, on top of his other problems he is FIV+. That's the reason I found and joined CC. I feel much more positive about him and his future now.
I must go but will write later. Hang in there, cats NEED people like you.
Regards
Sue

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Re: How do I cope with losing pets - long read, I need hep :

Post by hgale » Mon Jun 23, 2014 11:28 am

Dear Joe

Again, Jacks has given advice far better than I can give already, but I want you to know that you and Anastasia are in my thoughts and prayers today. Please take care, it will get easier in time.

Helen.

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Re: How do I cope with losing pets - long read, I need hep :

Post by bobbys girl » Mon Jun 23, 2014 12:42 pm

I'm back!
The vet is very pleased with Bobby's progress, hurrah!

You say you are having difficulty finding a sympathetic (and competent) vet. Our local vet is a very nice man. But he is a farm vet - most of his clients moo! We went online to look for another vet and found a brilliant one just over the border in the South (Ireland).
Have you tried an online search or are there any local animal organisations/homes who could point you in the right direction.

There is a charity not too far from us that works with Cats Protection and funds neutering and treatment for stray cats. They help a group of us who keep an eye on the local stray/ferral cats. Is there a group like that near you?

Finding such a group could be of mutual benefit. They can help and advise you and are usually short of volunteers to help out with dog walking, cleaning out pens, socialising cats and dogs ready to be re-homed. Use your compassion, get involved. You may have a tear in your eye at the plight of these animals, but they don't care and in helping them you will help yourself.

Your Anastasia is a lucky girl to have you. I am sure that you have given her the best life possible. We lost our dog Rosie last year. She was 13 and getting very feeble. One day last summer she flopped down on the grass and gave us a look that said 'I've had enough'. She is at peace now, buried in our garden next to my old dog (17 1/2 years!) Bonnie. They each have their own rose - 'Rosa Mundi' and 'Bonica'. The roses are just about to bloom. When they do, we will remember the girls. We will be sad but there are SO many happy memories.

I agree with the Poet, Dante, when he said 'Nature is the art of God'. For all it's problems and miseries, you are right, it is STILL a beautiful world.

I am reminded of a story that goes something like this - A man was walking along a beach that was covered in stranded star fish. He saw a boy throwing one back into the sea. He said to the boy 'you are wasting your time. There are too many of them for one person to make a difference.' As he threw another one back into the sea, the boy said, 'yes you are right, but I DID make a difference to THAT one....' Go on make a difference!

With very best wishes to you and Anastasia - be strong!


and PS
to the nay-sayers out there. The people who know me best think I am a cynical old bat, but if the above makes me sound soft and fluffy - then guilty as charged!
xxxx

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Re: How do I cope with losing pets - long read, I need hep :

Post by SarahT1 [PLLE] » Mon Jun 23, 2014 1:44 pm

Hello Joe

I love your art! How clever and appealing it is. Good luck with all that.

As to feeling other's pain - well, it's very hard for you, I appreciate, but it seems that the majority of people don't feel other's pain AT ALL, let alone feel it too much. Or, they project their pain onto you and blame you for it! So I think you are a blessing to others, though it may not feel like that.

As to coping with pets' deaths - been there and done that. Dead birds had to have a funeral in our garden when I was a child, complete with a hymn and sermon! It doesn't get easier, but if the alternative is not to have any to protect ones self then we can't help any of the furries out there who need us. When I adopted my oldest girl 18 months ago, I felt so overwhelmed by how much I love her that I couldn't bear to think of her going to RB ( she was 16 at the time and handed over to me with the parting shot that she probably wouldn't live very long anyway) and part of dealing with that was to adopt another little girl because I thought it might give my emotions more balance. We have a lovely ex stray boy as well now. I think it did help me in that respect, in that I love them all very much, but I don't feel like a neurotic mum of an only child. They are all equally important to me and are equally loved, protected and cared for. I will be devastated when they go to RB but I hope that I will have at least one of them still with me to help me through that, and I have established very clearly in my mind that I am one of those who would need to adopt again straight away to help the grief. Not to forget the little one who has passed on (I know some people get very angry at the thought of 'replacing' or 'forgetting' the departed furry), but because it's what I would need and in doing so another little one would find their forever home.

Look after yourself and your precious girl, and when the time comes, you will be with her and she will go to RB knowing that she could not be loved more.

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Re: How do I cope with losing pets - long read, I need hep :

Post by Joe_Danger » Mon Jun 23, 2014 2:28 pm

You are all good and understanding people
I really appreciate all the nice words and advice you've given me, this sure ain't easy to cope with and try as I might to tell myself it's all normal and part of life it's not enough to make that easier, but knowing that people like you guys exist out there who fully understanding where I'm coming from and how I feel helps tremendously.

This new vet she is staying over at now seems more knowledgeable than all the other vets before, but whether he helps her pull through or not we have yet to see, even if he doesn't it won't be his fault but it will be my first vet's fault who up and refused to give her IV fluids when she needed it the other week, that other vet I took her to afterwards was much nicer tho.

I tend to stay away from forums and stories about people losing their pets and such, can't read that stuff even if I'm not dealing with anything sad myself, it just sticks with me forever and that's no good, just kinda guy I am, I get easily traumatized from sad stuff but on the plus side I also draw joy and genuine enjoyment from just about anything too :)

Guys, really appreciate your help
if I can just talk about this stuff in this topic when I need to it will help a ton when things get even worse, I'm the kinda guy who never bottles his emotions up and talks a ton with people which really makes things easier imo.

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Re: How do I cope with losing pets - long read, I need hep :

Post by Walesgang » Mon Jun 23, 2014 9:21 pm

Hi Joe

I joined the older version of this forum when my cat Luna was diagnosed with lymphoma. I found it very strange posting personal stuff on a faceless forum, but I was impressed with the way members literally immediately gave me lots of sound support and advice.

The forum helped me through the dark times of her illness and the decision to end her suffering. I honestly didn't think I would ever have been able to deal with it, and probably without this forum wouldn't have done so as well.

Keep strong. You are likely to be in for a rough ride but we are here in any way we can be to help you

Val

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Re: How do I cope with losing pets - long read, I need hep :

Post by Joe_Danger » Tue Jun 24, 2014 2:51 am

I think I'm really some kinda messed up over this.
I'm a guy who is up and about the moment he opens his eyes and I don't need much sleep. I don't need coffee to wake up or anything, I'm up and about the moment I open my eyes and it's awesome so something like what I'm about to describe is unheard of for me. I'd rather draw and create things, hang out with friends and those I love or play video games which inspire my own work than waste my time sleeping :)

Ever since this whole situation started I've been getting dizzy and feeling sick as soon as I get stressed out but I ignore it. I normally don't sleep much as is but for the past 5 days I hadn't been able to sleep at all, maybe 2-3 hours a night and that's it. Never told anyone about the dizziness as I have so many people in my life who genuinely love me and care about me as I too love them that worrying them would be the last thing on my mind, naturally I won't tell them about this lil...incident either :)

I've been working non stop when not around my cat, I have stuff to do for both work and for my graduation project at college so despite being stressed out and tired I haven't had time for anything other than work and my poor cat for the past 5-6 days.

Earlier I finally had the chance to sleep for several hours while Anastasia was at the vet's, at one point I woke up, checked the time on my phone and I had this nagging feeling as if something was missing, I remembered i had a cat and that cat wasn't here but I couldn't remember her name or the way she looked, then slowly I remembered that she was gray but couldn't remember if she had more than just gray on her, I knew I was scared/worried but wasn't sure why, I tried to remember why then remembered she was at the hosptial for some reason, still couldn't remember her name or what she looked like, how long I've had her, nothing. Keep in mind I've had this cat for 7 years and love her with all my heart.
I went through a bunch of names in my head, past pet names, random names and after I sat up because I figured something way off with me everything came back to me....it felt weird to say the least, terrifying if I'm to be completely honest, it was like a temporary amnesia that lasted for several minutes.

I don't smoke, drink or abuse substances, I don't do weed as many of my friends do or any of that stuff, don't need it, I'm good just the way I am yet something like this happened.

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Re: How do I cope with losing pets - long read, I need hep :

Post by SarahT1 [PLLE] » Tue Jun 24, 2014 6:14 am

Dear Joe

Do take care of yourself and get things checked out if you are feeling poorly either in mind, body or both. Anastasia needs her daddy to be well for her.

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Re: How do I cope with losing pets - long read, I need hep :

Post by bobbys girl » Tue Jun 24, 2014 7:48 am

Go easy on yourself Joe. You are going through a very stressful time at the moment. At times like this we all do daft/weird things. It is normal in times of stress and grief to do and think strange things. You are not unusual in this.
Take good care of yourself. We are thinking about you.

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Re: How do I cope with losing pets - long read, I need hep :

Post by Joe_Danger » Thu Jun 26, 2014 11:45 am

well that didn't end well :(
I can not remember if she passed yesterday or the day before due to stress but yeah that was it.

thanks for the support and all
I just realized atm I am not sure when it happened, but it happened at the vet's and he said he'd take care of the body since there's no way I would've been strong enough to handle that.

I really want another cat
but I have no idea if I'm cut out for owning pets anymore, I get exceptionally stressed out over everything, I dunno how normal people do it.

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Re: How do I cope with losing pets - long read, I need hep :

Post by bobbys girl » Thu Jun 26, 2014 12:16 pm

What's 'NORMAL'? You are suffering from stress and grief - both of those Bogie Men are normal. Go easy on yourself.
We have all thought 'never again', but then some little furry person needs your help and you can't say no! Take care.

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Re: How do I cope with losing pets - long read, I need hep :

Post by Walesgang » Thu Jun 26, 2014 8:51 pm

Joe, I am so sorry to hear this.

It it totally normal to feel sad and stressed. Don't beat yourself over it. You have had to make one of the worse decisions possible. Take each hour and each day at a time. I know it is a cliche, but time is a great healer.

Your baby is at peace now

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Re: How do I cope with losing pets - long read, I need hep :

Post by Joe_Danger » Thu Jun 26, 2014 10:12 pm

Thanks

oh and don't worry, I didn't make ...that... decision, she wasn't put down
neither the vet nor we wanted to do it, the poor guy tried everything he could and he didn't even want to be paid at the end because he failed to save her.

vets here might not be all that competent but they postpone putting pets down until everything they could have possibly tried has been tried, some would rather let the pets die peacefully if they're not in pain saying they don't want to kill a living being. Vets here are very nice and kind for the most part and more often than not would give you completely free check ups and such if you bring an animal in, even that rude and downright terrible vet who is to blame for all this would do that.

In my country for this very reason we have many stray cats and dogs and they're genuinely happy, healthy animals, especially the dogs who often get rounded up, are given shots and then are let go in the same areas where they were originally found. Dogs who haven been given shots or have been neutered/spayed usually have yellow tags on their ears so people know they're safe to be around.
They're usually pretty tame too, heck my entire neighborhood is taking care of 2 dogs and we all love them :) ...they used to be 3 but some sick **** poisoned the biggest one.

I'm not saying pets aren't put down when needed of course they are, but from what I've read vets abroad in the US and UK seem to be a lot less hesitant to doing it which I must admit seems very strange to me.

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