We hope you find some comfort here. I will continue to add some special things to this page as I find them.
Losing your dog is the worst thing that can happen. It would be wonderful if they had the same life span as we do, but the reality is, they have a shorter time on this earth than we do.
I have been lucky enough to have had dogs all of my life. My mother was a dog lover, and I guess I got it from her. I have come to the conclusion that as much as it hurts when they leave me (they leave a hole so big that it feels like it will never be filled up again) that I would so much rather have them for the time I can have them and enjoy that time than be without them. Being without them is, for me, unthinkable.
The thing that helps me most in my grieving process is getting another puppy. You never replace a dog, you get another. Until I am holding that little piece of the future in my hands, I grieve hard. I am then able to tuck the dog I've lost into my heart where she belongs and go on with my life and on to being a new parent. Only then does my grief become manageable.
Each dog has a totally different personality; just like people do. Even if you are a first time dog owner and are so convinced that another dog could never be the same and feel that you don't want to try again, please think about this. You will be just as "into" the next dog or maybe even more so, and you will find yourself enjoying the new dog just because he is the way he is, just as you enjoyed your last dog. You will also be an even better parent the second time around. The first dog you had taught you how.
I have also so often heard the argument that you don't want to be hurt again. What you've forgotten about is all the joy you experienced before that hurt came and how much your life was changed when you had that dog in it. You have also temporarily forgotten or become unfocused upon the good memories you have of your time together. Those are the things you should be remembering about your dog, because to do less would be unjust.
I hate to see a good parent or set of parents running around with no dog. There is a dog out there who needs you and will have less of a life if you don't take him into your home and love him. This is the one place in your life where you are guaranteed unconditional love, because this is what a dog is best at. They ask so little of us and give us so much in return. They've even proven that dogs can help us live longer. I know we live better.
August 1, 1997
It is my hope that this page will eventually have many short pieces on grief, as I find them.
Cleveland Wheeler is a popular Tampa Bay Radio Personality, whose performances on morning radio have earned him numerous industry honors, and to date, the highest ratings for any radio show ever in Tampa Bay. For a nominal fee, you may submit a photograph of your dog and a submission of no more than 255 words, and your tribute will appear on his site. Part of that fee will be donated to various animal charities. This site is worth looking at if only to see the "dog angels" he has on just about every page (lovely photographs of dogs, and they all have angels' wings).