My beautiful old dog Sally died six months ago and I am just bereft. She was always with me whatever I did or wherever I went, and as I live on my own she was my companion and I would talk to her all the time. When I walked her, people would come up and talk to me sometimes - somehow when you have a dog with you it makes you more approachable.
I just feel so lost without her, and so lonely, made worse by the lack of understanding of those around me. I have thought about getting another dog, but just don't think any dog could replace her.
Patricia Marie says...
Many people, even our closest friends, feel uncomfortable talking to us about our losses. Because of this, we are sometimes most alone just at the time when we need support. This applies especially for the death of a pet, as our society often does not acknowledge loss of a animal to be a cause for grief. However, the reality is you are not alone, as there are many dog owners who have to face the loss of there most loyal companion.
Allow yourself time to come to terms with your sorrow. Recollect the wonderful memories that can never be taken away from you, and in time hopefully you will soon begin to remember your beloved dog with more smiles than tears. Display a photograph of 'Sally' - it will help you to feel connected when she is in your thoughts.
There are many dog rescue organisations desperate for help, where you could perhaps volunteer to temporary foster, or help to look after the dogs at the centre - therefore, benefit from having them in your life, but without full responsibility, although I cannot promise you won't become attached to these vulnerable animals. Attending a place of work will also enable you to make friends and not feel so isolated.
If the only reason you can't face getting another dog is because you feel the new one wouldn't replace the old. Of course, no two dogs could ever be the same, but having a different dog could prove preferable to having no dog. Do consider this, and you may just want to begin a new unique and perfect bond with another furry friend, who will benefit from the love and care you could clearly offer.
For a comforting read, I recommend: Goodbye Dear Friend: Coming to Terms with a Death of a Pet by Virginia Ironside.