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Dina. 2001 – 2009.

I lost my best friend and my family’s guardian this weekend and wanted to write about Dina. I’m not a wordsmith so please excuse the random text. I do want to say thank you for providing a place I can do this – there seems to be little acceptance in society for loss of a family pet and its effect on us all. We lost part of our family, I have seen my children & wife morn a friend and cry a river, I can’t shift they empty feeling and the feeling of loss yet few understand how ‘just a dog’ could upset us this much. Dina was not ‘just a dog’ – she was part of our family and we miss her. Her pictures are here. http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=1519640&l=81f8ed93c6&id=688413103

The day we picked Dina up from the breeder we had no idea of the journey that was in store – no idea that this small bundle of fluff would change our lives forever.

Dina passed away this weekend, she was only 7. She was not her usual energetic self on Saturday morning and decided to take her to see the vet. I should have known it was serious when she walked into the surgery instead of bounding in, bounding on the reception desk and demanding a hug from the nurse (that was always given).

From a pup Dina was extremely energetic – which caught us, inexperienced owners, off guard and without knowledge of how to control this. Several dog training classes later we were still no further on and Dina was leading us a merry dance with all the puppy energy she had. Dina’s temperament was superb; she was confident, friendly, loving and fun - just a ball of energy.

We stumbled across an ex-police dog trainer – Tony - who within minuets of meeting Dina told us we had a very special dog and needed to channel her energy – she was born to work. He advised to look into SARDA (Search and Rescue) work and he helped us begin. Dina approached this challenge as she did everything, whole hearted and with a smile. She was tracking within a couple of weeks and air scent within a month. She had it cracked and exactly as Tony had said, she taught me how to do this.

For the next couple of years we had many adventures and she loved the work side of life but she loved home life more. Our children were 2 & 3 years old when Dina arrived and she walked them through the next 7 years of their lives teaching them how to really play, how to forgive, patience, how to love and how to fall asleep on her as if she was a massive pillow. She listened to all their stories and never judged; she sat through all their tears and understood: She became their guardian and they always came first, we knew the length she would go to protect them and in return they loved her unconditionally and she knew that everyday (although some days I’m sure she would have swapped the noise for a quiet house!)

The vet knew by looking at her something was very wrong on Saturday – he wanted to complete some X-rays so we agreed to sedate her. The process was going to take an hour and he asked me to come back later.

We never saw Dina aggressive or annoyed – she would alert and bark but never aggressive. It was not in her nature to be aggressive. She must have been disappointed at me when I let her down at times but never showed it – if she missed a walk because I was working or being lazy it was not a problem. If the kids did not want to play – there was always tomorrow. If we ignored her for our busy lives she would always be patient and wait for us to come around. She taught us more than we will ever know. She never let me down, ever. She knew I would let her down often; she seemed to understand I’m human and one of my faults.

As I went back into the surgery I knew by the look the nurse gave me things were not good. Dina was well known and loved in the surgery. The vet called me in and slowly put the x-rays up on the light. Her stomach had twisted over night and there was a tumor present. She was in a lot of pain and would not survive 24 hours nor would survive surgery. As he uttered the words ‘it’s best to put her to sleep’ I broke, I slowly walked away from the table and cried like I have not cried in many years. I’m a 38 year old 15 stone guy and I was weakened to my knees. I went through all the stages of grief in record time. I asked a thousand questions – what were options? What are the chances of surgery? How did this happen? Why did this happen? Did he have it wrong? All the answers were there and there really was only one option. We spoke for half an hour and then agreed.

I could never see her suffer – that was never an option and I had to do what was best for her - but while making that decision I felt I had let her down. She trusted me and it was my responsibility to make sure she was safe and now I could do nothing. The emotions that you go through are not to be underestimated and I think it’s important you make the right decisions for you as well at this time. I decided to hold Dina as she died – this is very emotional but now as time has passed I’m glad I did as I know she died peacefully, not in pain and with some comfort of a friend being there. Even then, she taught me something – and gave me strength.

Coming home and telling my wife and the children was incredibly tough but we cried together and then swapped stories about her... The kids love talking about her and cry and laugh as they do. They have printed out 60 odd pictures of her and making a collage and them added photo’s to face book - each photo generates a story – even in parting from us Dina manages to create a family bond. I have been on a rollercoaster of emotions since and questions many things. Today I went back to the Vets and walked through everything again – as I had convinced myself I had made some mistake along the way – things were clearer today and I’m glad I went back to talk to him. I know most people reading this have been through exactly the same situation and for that I’m truly sorry – its something very difficult to deal with.

I really hope that when people lose a loved pet that they are allowed to grieve and not be distracted or embarrassed by the ‘it’s just a dog’ mentality that can be experienced – you’re grieving a friend, a loyal loved friend.

The house is strange and the loss is felt within. Our other dog – Ella - is lost – she does not understand only knows Dina is not here. I have lost animals and dogs before - but never felt a loss like this. I’m trying to work out if it’s because she helped raise our kids or maybe because she was always watching out for us – I can’t explain – but I do know she was special, she was our friend, our family and will be sorely missed but never forgotten. Sleep well Dina.
 

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I'm so, so sorry for your loss :(, but I'm positive she had a joyous life with you and knew she was loved r.i.p Dina.
 

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I am so sorry for your loss. Through your words I can tell how much you loved her and how much she loved you. I am sure she was so grateful and comforted that you were able to hold her as she passed and that you loved her enough to allow her freedom from the pain and suffering.

I pray that you will allow yourself to deal with this loss through working through and letting yourself feel the pain and your grief as you heal. Just the thought of losing my girls makes me so sad and I pray that when that time comes that I will also be able to love them enough to let them go and grieve the loss and not feel pressured to conform to what others may feel is appropriate when it is not.
 

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I am so sorry to hear about your dog. When we had to put down our just turned thirteen year old dog, my husband and I took her to the vet. I had cried before and on the way home. My husband even cried though denied it. We also made a tribute to her on a dog page similiar to this one. Our dog had gone through our children also. This may sound crazy but I know where she is buried and sometimes talk to her. It has been three years. Keep writing. It may help.
 

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It sounds like Dina truly had one beautiful and fulfilling life.

The tribute you wrote for her was wonderful and it brought back a lot of memories for me. I remember the grieving I went through when I lost DeVante; he wasn't just a dog as many people thought, but a loved one and part of the family. To this day I still think about him all the time, brings a huge smile to my face to of seen him so happy. I was there for him and he was there for me. Even if they have your side they are ALWAYS there with you.

Dina was a stunning girl and she was lucky to have such a loving and caring family. You did the best thing any owner should do; you put her before your feelings. That is very commendable.

Rest in peace Dina
 

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Oh how I can relate to your pain. You have every right to grieve. He was a family member just like your child. If you scroll down you will find my posts about our Hank. We are still devastated over him passing. We also had to put him to sleep but we werent allowed to be with him and that is what kills us today. How did he suffer till they injected the shot. Our veterinarys police is no one be there when they put him to sleep. It is so wrong.
The strangest thing happened today..Ive got the flu and I was sleeping on the couch and I heard a scratch on the door just like Hank would do..kind of unnerving. We have our Hanks ashes in his treat cookie jar. The cookie jar looked like him...
It get easier everyday...I try not to think about him...I will always cry...So I know your pain. I just wished they could be with us longer. This is a lonely house now. If you go to my blog you will see pictures of our Hank. I checked out your pics of Dina. Pretty dog. Hank was 9yrs.
Hanks Mom...sally www.chicroses-chicroses.blogspot.com
 

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I am so terribly sorry for your loss... my heart aches for you and your family and I have tears in my eyes remember how utterly heart-breaking it is to lose a member of your family. For me there is some comfort in knowing my departed pup knew every second of his life how loved he was... I know your Dina did too.
 
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