UNITED STATES—I have lost a pet in the past before, hell to be honest I’ve lost 3 pets in my lifetimes. Each dog lived more than a decade. However, in this past week I lost my Schnauzer who was 17 years old, and it struck me like a ton of bricks. When most animals are sick you have an instinct, however, there was no clue this time around. He seemed fine in the morning when I fed him then I went to work and discovered he was so ill he had to be put to sleep.

Right now I’m going through the shock; that is the thing that hurts the most because I’m so used to seeing my dog daily. Not seeing him is difficult because I have to keep grappling and reminding myself he’s no longer here. He truly is gone and that has been a very tough pill for me to swallow the past few days. People are asking me left and right how are you doing and I’m telling them I’m fine, but in all honesty, I’m not. I still have not processed that my dog that has been by my side for years is not there.

He’s gone and he’s not coming back. The biggest issue is the triggers in the home. I see his pet bed; I see his cage, the huge bag of dog food that was just purchased less than a week before he died. I’m seeing these reminders over and over again and it just sucks. I’m starting to think it is best for me to get rid of all the pet beds, the cage, his toys, his shampoo and the dog food so that I don’t have those constant reminders, which become triggers each time I walk by. I notice that I happen to stare at them. He’s gone, I have to start to accept that, but in my gut I’m not ready to except that.

For some people, it’s like a pet dies and they just get a new cat or dog to replace the animal before and to me that just doesn’t work. Not all dogs or cats are alike. They all have different personalities. My dog was great because there was calmness about him. This isn’t a dog I had to worry about using the bathroom in the house or getting into things that he was not supposed to. He had his quirks and his system to say.

Early morning he’d go out to the bathroom, he’d eat, he’d roam around the house a bit and then he would sit in his cozy bed and sleep or nap throughout the day, barking occasionally when a stranger or someone he didn’t know entered the house. That is in addition to the four to five times a day he went outside. The biggest problem for me right now is grappling with no longer having to do things I’ve become so accustomed to over the years. Getting up early in the morning to let the dog out, feeding the dog, letting the dog out right before heading to bed.

I don’t have to do those things anymore, and as a result my brain has not been programmed to that change yet, so it’s a constant reminder my dog is no longer here. It absolutely sucks, it is devastating and I am just processing this new normal and my emotions the best way I can. People are saying just get a new dog or look at this dog I have. Let me be clear that’s NOT my dog or the dog I know, so stop it, I don’t want to hear that. Let me deal with my emotions the best way I can; I need to grieve and I am grieving and I’m sure I will bounce back, it just make take a bit of time for me to get there.