Wanting to get a dog.

I am wanting to give a dog a home.it may help my grief has anyone any ideas? Annette.

Hi Annette i have a dog and its gets me out of the house .So for me its a definite plus .But i would research on youtube (ie english bulldog 101) it will give you the info you need a dog that fits in with your lifestyle not the other way round Colin

Thanks for your reply Colin.I guess I have become a bit of a bedroom recluse.I find safety and bit of sanctuary in my bedroom.thanks for your advice .I have had adog in the past a sheepdog .I have been looking on the internet at a few dog shelters and suchlike but it seems rather a vetting ordeal to me.so I am considering a private sale.I would like a daschund dog.I could take it with me when I go visit my darling girls grave.can’t comprehend me even writing the former.sometimes I wonder if this is a nightmare and it isn’t real .oh I wish that that was so.tears are always imminent.I feel its sometimes surreal is that normal ?all my best to you Colin.Annette.xx

Hi Annette,

A lot of people on here have said positive things about pets helping them to cope. Here is a conversation from this site where some people have posted about their experiences with having a pet after bereavement: https://support.sueryder.org/community/general-chat/do-your-pets-help-you-cope

It’s an older conversation, but it might help to read some other people’s experiences.

The RSPCA has some good advice on choosing and buying a puppy, which may help you with your decision: https://www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/dogs/puppy

Hi Annette, I lost my wife almost 2 weeks ago and without my dogs it is quite possible that I would not be here to type this. Perhaps different to you situation because my 2 German Shepherds have been my shadows for many years and have helped me through many dark times over the years. It is hard to stay sad when you get flattened then cuddled walking in the front door.

I don’t like to state the obvious, but you need to carefully select a breed to match your lifestyle though. A new dog will take a lot of effort which may very well be good. Perhaps a rescue dog would be a good idea, puppies are great fun but they can be hard work and house training may just be too much at this time.

Once you form a bond with a dog they will be you best friend for life. They have such empathy. It breaks my heart seeing them also grieving for my wife at the moment

Dear Annette, Before my husband died three years ago we had a massive German Shepherd dog called Barney who, as my husbands illness got worse became his closest friend, always sat with him, I fed him etc. but he was always my husbands pal. When my husband died, Barney sat with me, with his big head on my knee whilst I cried, his big brown eyes looking at me. I got up every morning to see to him and if it hadn’t been for Barney I honestly don’t think I would have been here now, he was a lifesaver for me. Three years after my husband died, about 12 weeks ago, Barney died of cancer, it was so sudden, one day he was here and seemed as fit as anything but the next day he was being treated at the pet hospital and I was told he had cancer of the heart and needed putting to sleep. I held him in my arms until he died it was just like losing my husband all over again. At the moment I cannot face even thinking of another pet because Barney was Peter’s and my best friend and I still miss him so much. You must make a decision that is right for you. Take Care. Sheila x

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Strongly recommend… I have been suffering from grief depression anxiety and panic attacks… I bought 2 husky pups in august… They have helped me immensely… They calm me, give me loving , they are tying, so think a lot if you don’t want to be tied…

Hello Annette
Having read everyone’s replies I would agree that it is a very good idea and as you know what to expect having had a dog before, go for it, but again as others have said, a breed to suit you. A fan of the larger dogs, I have also thought of having a dog again at some point and actually may choose a smaller dog. We’ll see. They are great company and give a purpose to getting up in the morning. Good idea. I lost my husband and unfortunately (fortunately???) we had a business to run. I had to get up in the morning to run it on my own (the last thing I wanted to do to be honest, I could have quite easily just locked myself in my bedroom full stop) So in hindsight (it’s been six years) it was a good thing. It made me get out of bed in the morning. People were depending on me. Although it was detrimental to my health and I have now closed down the business, the grief has set in. I didn’t have time to grieve. Sounds ridiculous. But that’s life I suppose. Good luck with the dog choosing and it is an absolutely great idea. xxx

Hi Annette! My dog has been a Godsend after the loss of my Mother, who I lived with and cared for. I’ve had 7 dogs from rehoming centres, and they have done as much for me, as I have for them. I walk at the same times every day, and have so many friends I’ve met on my walks. Do you know what breed you might like? There are rehoming centres for every breed, and a breed specific rescue centre should be able to match you with a suitable dog. In regards to getting a puppy, do be very careful. If you do go to a breeder, find one that’s on the kennel club register. There are lots of unscrupulous backyard breeders, who would quite happily sell you a sick, poorly bred puppy. You have already had a terrible loss, so that’s the last thing you’d need. You’re welcome to message me if you need doggy advice. Sarah…

I lost my wife and best friend Susan to cancer in June this year . Sam our little Sprocker spaniel is really my saviour. Gives you a purpose to carry on and get out and about. Also company when the house falls quiet from our 2 teenage sons. I would strongly recommend . Take care and very best wishes

Hi mokii.many thanks for your reply .I am or we myself and granddaughter would like a daschund.willing to buy .but as you say the are unscrupulous people out there.I live in Hampshire.don’t know how to go about it really would like to get one before Xmas prefably a house trained puppy.hugs to you Annette.

Hi Annette, the Kennel Club will have a breeders list, it would be well worth contacting them for that. Have a look at www.dachshundrescue.org.uk. They have great info and contacts on their site. Puppies don’t come house trained. You’d have to do that. It’s not difficult, but there will be a few accidents when they’re little. Do be aware that miniature dachshunds do often have problems with their spine when they get older, so a good pet insurance is a must! I think it’ll do you the world of good to have a furry pal. Sarah.

We lost our dog in 2014 the same year my husband Keith was diagnosed with MND. Keith’s mum died too and then our lives changed forever. Ruud died rather like your Barney, he was being operated on and they found a huge tumour on his liver. We allowed them to put him to sleep, I thought I would never get over the loss and I haven’t reading your post I cried big hot tears for you, Barney, Ruud, me and of course your loss.
I now feel that I am able to have a dog but because of his illness Keith isn’t keen. He has 24hour care and I am lonely. I cook for Keith and assist him with the hiring and firing of staff. The turnover of staff is breath-taking. I have very bad arthritis. Which affects me badly. I can barely walk and cannot stand. However, there is such life inside me. I want to help Keith so I try and make amazing food for him.
I make phone calls and keep an eye on his medication needs.
However, when the chips are down he thinks more of his carers than me. I am not being dramatic really they do everything for him and he could not live without them, however I am not the person who keeps him alive. He has ventilators and rigs and hoists and so much equipment, I can’t seem to find my place.
Now wouldn’t you just say that I am one selfish woman. I have made this all about me and some how it has been soothing, but strangely it has done me good for I have felt your breaking heart too and cried for someone else.

Hello Grannysmith and thank you for writing to me. I totally understand what you are going through, the only difference being, my Peter refused to have carers or anyone else but me looking after him, even when he was rushed into hospital he refused to let the nurses wash him or change his clothes, he would wait for me to get to the hospital so I could do it all, I even fetched the commodes etc, so the nurses left me to it as it was one less patient for them to bother about. They even gave me my dinner. He would not let our sons sit with him so I could have a few hours to myself as he was afraid of stopping breathing and the boys would panic and not know what to do. If I had a GP or hospital appointment I took him and his oxygen tanks with me in his wheelchair. This went on for nearly three years and I was falling to bits. Funnily enough the one thing that upset me more than what we were going through was that we were no longer husband and wife, we were patient and nurse, we always had been a very loving couple, not in the way we were when we were young, but we still loved a kiss and a cuddle and holding hands when we went out anywhere but when he became ill all that stopped and I felt I was losing my husband long before he died. With regards to having a dog, we have always had large German Shepherds and shortly after our GSD Max died Peter became ill but still wanted to get another dog, I wasn’t keen as I knew what I had facing me and I could not take another large dog for long walks as I could not leave Peter but he put his foot down, said I was being selfish so we got our Barney and he grew to be bigger than any other GSD we had had, a massive bear of a dog, but I loved him to bits and when Peter died he was my life saver, then he died and my world fell apart again. I will not get another dog now, I don’t have the heart for it, it is as if when Peter and Barney died, my heart just shattered and I am afraid to love another helpless creature in case they died as I could not bear the pain. With your husband having everything done for him by carers it seems as if you need something of your very own to look after, love and be loved back in return because if your husband is anything like Peter was, the illness became all about them. I remember one time Peter shouting at me for making him take his tablets and he said that it was his illness and not mine and if he didn’t want to take the tablets he wouldn’t. I shouted back that it was our illness not his and whatever he is going through so was I. I never went out, I did not go into town for three years and after Peter died I had spent so much time indoors, the GP did a blood test and found I was vitamin D deficient through lack of sunlight. My hair was falling out, I was in a real mess. Even now, 3 years and four months later, I am not the outgoing, confident person I was before my husband’s illness, who loved dancing and going out for meals, getting dressed up, it is as if I vanished when my husband became ill as nothing was about me anymore, it was all about Peter, our lives revolved around him 24 hours a day. I do not regret anything I did for him, I have loved him from the day we met in 1964 and still love him now even after death. He was the best thing that ever happened to me and if I could live my life over, I would not change a thing except stop him smoking, because that is what killed him. I do hope you do what is right for yourself, your husband is well looked after by his carers and you are on the outside looking in so do it for yourself, do anything that makes you happy. Take care. Sheila xx

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Good morning Sheila,

So much of your reply made me gasp and say, that’s me. From losing a husband to an illness, to find that illness move into your home like a third person, changing your Peter from the loving spouse to a demanding patient.

Your words again triggered so much emotion and all I can say is that you have made a few hours bearable as you have put into perspective what I considered were problems. My dear girl the only reason we both feel so bad is because we both come from the generation of love and loyalty.

This generation will be the last of wives feeling these intense emotions. I find that people are empty of strong feelings unless it is about someone on a tv show. I will be 70 this year and Keith is 55. I divorced my first husband who drank and was abusive.

I know I could go out and about however, I don’t drive which is so awful, I feel that I have lost my independence because of not driving.

Your experience is just the opposite of mine. You had to do everything for your husband and I am not allowed to do anything mainly because of my arthritis and Keith feels I am not strong enough but he flies into anger very quickly with me, I tell him I am his punch bag, no matter who has made him cross somehow he will turn it into my fault.

I have been searching for a new member of staff, finding good people who are in your home sometimes 12 hours is daunting. We are now looking for someone to live in. That would be better as they would have their own room to spend time in. We would still have to have all of the other carers as Keith needs them 24/7

I tell him that I am his cook and bottle washer. I am just being sorry for myself. Keith is still around even though I make him cross and no one else does.

I hope we can talk more. I will try and stop moaning as I said your story has put my life into prospective. You are one of the unsung heroes who are carers saving the government money. My son looked after his father who refused all help, in the end Daniel started taking heroin, says it helped for a while then he realised that he was addicted, my poor boy suffered mentally and he is now in his 40s and can’t really cope with problems anymore I am glad to say he is on the mend although he says he has had no closure,has never cried and yet the pain is always there.

Good afternoon Grannysmith, Thank you for your lovely comments. I am just like you, never wanted to learn to drive so I didn’t, now I wish with all my heart I had listened to my husband all those years ago when he said that one of these days I would be glad to be able to drive. Peter and myself were joined at the hip and we never, ever thought that one day one of us would be on our own, so I thought why would I want to drive, Peter is always with me, we lived in cloud cuckoo land and thought bad things happened to everyone but us, how wrong we were. When Peter used to get bad tempered with me, just like the old song (You always hurt the one you love, the one you shouldn’t hurt at all). Sometimes I walked out and cried, other times I came out with some disgustingly terrible swear words and told him I was going to tie the oxygen cable round his flaming neck and throttle him. Then we said sorry to each other and it was over. I cannot imagine what Peter and your husband went through and in your case is still going through, because they were strong young men once and to have to be reliant on someone to help you now you are getting old must be heartbreaking for them, I know for certain it would kill me, but what I do know is that I would rather have him here with me now, having to struggle on every day than be without him because the pain of him not being here is soul destroying. I am 75 years old and Peter was three years younger, I called him my toy boy. All I can say to you is hang on in there, try and find time for yourself when the carer’s are there, it must be hard if you are in pain as well as you won’t want to go out for walks, but have some ‘me’ time because if anything did happen to your husband, there would be no more carers and your house would be empty and believe you me, that is the worst thing, getting up in a morning to nothing with no-one waiting for you. You talked about getting a dog but even with carers you have enough on your plate for now, but only you know what is the best thing to do. Love Sheila xx

Hello Sheila,
Today is the kind of day I would have liked to get in the car, wrap up warmly and walk my dog on a nearby beach. They are simple things but because (a) I can’t drive, (b) don’t have a car and even if I did I couldn’t drive the bloomin thing) © although the dressing up warmly bit is alright, I cannot walk on a flippin beach with its sand and pebbles and finally (d) is for dog that I don’t have.

So instead I will make some lemon curd, which because I have started my diet I can’t eat anyway, but it does taste good and we have two carers here today and a few neighbours who also enjoy the yellow lemony goodness.

We are looking at our finances and decided we needed to get rid of a few monthly outgoings which added up to a hell of a lot of interest. We started off paying off by paying off quite a lot of money to one company and when we tried to pay off another bill were told that the transaction had failed. I rang the bank and had to talk to the FRAUD TEAM who told me that it was a large transaction and they needed to check with me that my card had not been stolen and that it was ok.

So yesterday we spent time paying off bills. We also found that we were still paying for two mobile phones, we were paying £68 a month. I cancelled Keith’s phone, and found that if I went to Sky mobile I could save another £15 each month. Yay

I have also been looking at dog breeds. From Rhodesian Ridgeback ( size of a horse but very sweet natured and loyal) Dachshunds I like what I read about these little dogs they live between 12 - 16 years. Playful, lively, devoted and clever. Beagles are adorable but are excitable and energetic. I didn’t like the sound of the pug as they are charming, quiet, docile. However, they are attentive and clever, I’m not keen on their looks and they snuffle a bit.

Basset Hounds are amazing to look at, and sound like me, affectionate, tenacious, devoted, sweet tempered (?), gentle(NO) and friendly they also tend to become overweight when they get older. lol They like a daily walk but they like to be in the garden a lot. methinks I am a basset hound.

Yesterday I spoke to a young woman from the Czech Republic, she lives in London with a lady as her house/keeper and carer. The lady is downsizing and will not need Nina anymore. We spoke on skype and Nina looked and sounded very nice so she is coming to Blackpool to see us on the 17th.

I have started the low carbohydrate diet and I must admit I feel much better, I have more energy and that with a bit of sunshine makes me feel much more positive.

Writing to you and reading your story has also helped, ‘what the hell are you doing?’ I said to my self. Nothing is going to change unless you change it. You are not the most important person in this house and you certainly are not helpless.

Does the new spring time make you sad? Will you miss Peter more? I know I missed my mum when she died when the flowers came out, because she loved her garden and flowers. However spring is rebirth.

I think it is a bit late to take driving lessons although I am told you are never too old to do anything. I have blue hair, love bright colours and music but I am too old to do some things. I know for instance that there will never be another man in my life. It would just be strange. May dinner with a friend but please no romance.

Being alone at this time appeals to me. I have my books, I am writing a novel (about my life) I love watching films and drama on television. I have my food delivered and most of all I have my garden.

I was put in touch recently with a group on Facebook called the Blackpool Belles they are a nice group of ladies but have not the courage and personality of people like you.
Sorry to go on about me. I do hope you are well and looking after yourself.

Love and best wishes Kate

Hello again Kate and thank you for your very interesting and in formative comments. I love music, but it is 60’s Rock ‘n’ Roll, both American and UK. I can still jive and before Peter got ill you could find me singing and rocking away whilst I was gardening with my Bluetooth headphones on. Peter used to say, ‘you will never grow up’, but that was me in those days.

I loved my life, loved my husband and family and all was well with the world, then Peter became ill and everything changed. We loved Blackpool, went every single year, we even talked about retiring to St. Anne’s but just before Peter was due to take early retirement he became ill so the next eight years of his life was hospital visits, we could still go out in the car as Peter was fine driving, it was the last three years of his life that he became totally dependant on me. I have been to Blackpool since I was a toddler with my mum, dad and sister then when we were teenagers. We always take our grandchildren for the lights and I treat them all to the amusement arcades, I love seeing them running around with all the tickets they have won in their arms, then choosing their prizes. I remember one summer, Peter and myself were walking from the North Pier to the Pleasure Beach and they were playing all the old 60’s songs, we were holding hands and singing ‘What do you want to make those eyes at me for’, fantastic times.

I also loved reading, watching films, listening to music and loved our garden, we spent hours in it until Peter became ill then when he died, I lost interest in everything, could not concentrate on a book or a film, I went in the garden because of Barney as he loved to play ball and go for walks but it was never the same without Peter with us. Barney would sit in the garden, looking through the back window waiting for Peter to come out and it broke my heart, I have sat in the garden swing many a summer’s evening with Barney by my side, crying my eyes out for what I had lost, then Barney died and my world came to an end all over again…

I know you have it very hard but I really envy you, you still have your husband albeit he is so ill, but you can sit with him and talk to him about the good times, I would give everything to have my husband back again, to snuggle up with him on the sofa, watching television and laughing at the old programmes that are shown.

No-way would I take driving lessons at my age, there are enough idiots on the road without me being one of them. I also love to get dressed up, makeup, jewellery etc and go out for a meal with my friends but they still have their husbands so I feel as if I don’t have the same things in common with them I used to have, but it is a break from being in the house all the time. I go out with our sons but it is always with the grandchildren, they are under 12 years of age with another a baby on the way so I never get much adult conversation.

Thank you once again for writing to me, it is appreciated, take care and I send my best to your husband. Sheila xxxxx

I make my own meals, fresh vegetables, steamed fish, pastas etc. I eat plenty of fruit and yogurts too. I just miss having someone to go on a walk with.

I am also going to start healthy eating, I eat far too many biscuits and chocolates

Hello Sheila,
This is not a throw away gesture, but I really mean it. Next time you are in Blackpool or even near it let me know and I will get a driver to pick you up and bring you back… It would be lovely to meet you and it would be good for me to just talk to someone who can see my life that I whinge about as ‘not so bad’

I’m afraid Keith and I can’t snuggle he is very sensitive and too much touching or hugging is just too painful. I think the reason that I feel so neglected is that I don’t have that physical closeness, although Keith has never been demonstrative, physical closeness is what we all need, (hence the dog)

I can get sort of adult conversation however, Keith and I would talk for hours even when we had been together for years if he were out driving which was his job, we would talk he did have a hands free phone. He would phone and ask me just to talk to him so he could stay awake if he had had a long day.

Because of our jobs I was a psychiatric nurse and he owned and ran our own courier company we didn’t spend much time together, however, he would pick me up from work if I had done a night shift and take me to wherever he was going so I have seen most of the UK, Scotland, Ireland and Wales there were also quite a few European cities we delivered to as well.

We were and still to some degree best friends. He is the person I tell things to but more and more his illness is more important to him and I just end up talking to myself. You lost Peter physically, emotionally mentally you lost a husband, a lover, and a friend.

I am already losing Keith a you lost Peter the husband and gained Peter the patient. Keith’s carers get to talk to him and often I find things out from them, even small things. Also, young women soon realise that they can stir things up a bit.

For instance he will hear me telling one of them that they have not done something, they always seem to answer that they don’t remember me telling them. Keith will take their side in front of them saying that I probably thought I’d said it but I obviously hadn’t said it, I just thought I had.

I wrote the first part of this email a couple of day ago. I have started a new diet and I got the worst diarrhoea ever. So I was as they say unavailable for a while

I am going to make lemon curd today. You must give me your address sometime and I will send you some of our produce. We are going to try and get a television advert going so that we can make people aware of how ugly and devastating Motor Neurone Disease is.

I hope you are well, it will soon be spring.

Best wishes Kate

Hello Kate, that is a most fantastic offer, and I really thank you for it. At the moment, with my illness, eyes, mouth and having to have tests for non-hodgkins lymphoma, I seem to spend more and more time at the hospital. Luckily so far there isn’t any symptoms but with having Sjogrens Syndromen there is a possibility. When the better weather arrives I may just take you up on your very kind gesture but will find my own way there as I would not dream of having you send a driver to pick me up. You sound just like me, a 1960’s girl, rocking and rolling. Did you wear those net underskirts that were edged with different coloured satin ribbons, I used to wear about six of them when we went out jiving.

I remember one holiday at Butlins, Skegness, myself and four girlfriends went when we were about 18 years old and I won a jive contest, I met a boy there and then found out that my boyfriend from my home town had turned up to see me (not my future husband Peter I may add), it was like a Carry On film, me trying to keep both boys apart. My friends had never laughed as much in all their lives, me jumping on one of those three seater bicycles with the boy I Met at Butlins, trying to hide from my boyfriend from back home, it was an absolute nightmare. My sister told my mum and dad and they were disgusted with me. I have had a wonderful life both before I met my Peter and after, I always said I had lived a charmed life, I wish it could have gone on forever.

Yes, you are so right, when a partner becomes seriously ill, we gradually lose them well before they die and we cling on to some sort of normality, but it is never the same, cross words are exchanged then when they are no longe here, you don’t dwell on the things you did for your loved one, you dwell on the cross words you said. What you said about your staff not remembering what you told them rings a bell with me too. I would tell Peter something then a few days later he would say, why didn’t you tell me, I would say I did tell you and he said you didn’t, sometimes I thought I was going doolally and questioned myself.

I also started a diet on Sunday and finished it on Monday, at the moment it is too depressing to even want to go out, I think one of my sons and two grandsons are coming to see me at the week-end so looking forward to that.

I might have an early night as I was tossing and turning all last night, dreamed I joined a store queue for some sale items and then needed the toilet, I walked up a gangway, used the toilet then found out I was on a plane bound for Australia. Panic stations. Weird.

Speak soon,

Love Sheilaxx