The Death of a Dog: The Healing Afterwards

The death of a dog can be an extremely traumatic experience for its owner. I know that’s true, because I’ve experienced the death of a dog a number of times. In fact, I’ve written a book, called Charlie: A Love Story, about the last years of one of my Golden Retrievers. Even though Charlie lived a long, full life, and even though I’m a psychotherapist and regularly help my clients cope with loss, Charlie’s death was very difficult for me. How could this joyful, loving, loyal being be gone?

I’ve had dogs most of my life, usually more than one at a time. Over and over again, I’ve asked myself why is it that the best beings on the planet live such short lives, even if they live to their expected age.

The death of a dog is not something you can get over quickly or easily, particularly if he or she was your best friend and the two of you had the best of relationships. When you experience the death of a dog, you need support. You need to know that you’re not alone in your feelings. Talking to family and friends, counseling, and support groups may be helpful.

In Charlie: A Love Story, you can see what I did for myself after Charlie died (you can click on the following link to find out more about that: charliealovestory.com). For example, writing about him and to him was extremely helpful. Keeping busy helped. Besides the things you can do to ease the pain, just the passage of time will help. And like me and most everyone I’ve known who’s experienced the death of a dog, you will one day feel happy that you got to spend time with such a special being. Dogs are a gift we humans have been given. We just don’t get to have them for as long as we’d like.