The Meisha's Hope Bandanna
The resources contained on this page include suggestions from those who have lost their dog to autoimmune hemolytic anemia as well as book, tape and website resources. If you have lost your dog to AIHA, it is our hope, Meisha's Hope, that these resources will be helpful to you as you navigate your way through the loss and grief process.
The bond between humans and their dogs is such a strong one that when it is broken by the death of the dog, the grief from such a loss can be very intense. Because many times autoimmune hemolytic anemia can strike with the speed of lightning with no warning whatsoever, the loss of a beloved canine companion to the disease can cause the owner even more grief then had the dog died of old age or a long lingering illness. The speed at which the loss can come may leave the owner with many diverse emotions such as guilt, doubt and fear. The owner may question all the events leading up to the death of their dog. Some of the questions running through the mind of one who has recently lost their dog to AIHA may be, "why didn't I see the symptoms sooner or would it have made any difference if I had gotten my dog to the vet quicker". If the dog survived AIHA for a period of time and then worsened and was euthanized, the owner may have feelings of guilt that perhaps they should have given the dog more of a chance to recover. Others may feel they allowed their dog to suffer too long before the euthanasia. Although there are no concrete answers to these questions, the following insights from those who have survived the loss of their dog to AIHA may help you deal with your loss and grief.
- Not beating myself up with "shoulda's, coulda's or woulda's". This will not bring my dog back to life or help me in any way. It will only add to my present pain. Learning that in every situation in life, there will always be "what ifs".
- Letting my grief out through tears and other emotions
- Realizing that I did everything I could for my dog with the knowledge I had at the time
- Learning that there are some things in life such as illness & death that I do not have control over
- Teaching myself that, as wonderful as my dogs are, they won't outlive me, that is about guaranteed. But if I learn to enjoy the days I have with them I can look on the end with more joy than sorrow.
- Talking with others who have lost a dog to AIHA
- Reporting the death of my dog to my breed club so that they can become aware of the number of deaths due to AIHA in my particular breed
- Reading all I can about the disease on various websites, so I can better understand what happened to my dog
- Making an appointment with my vet to have him answer my questions and explain the circumstances that led to my dogs death
- Burying or scattering my dog's ashes in a place that he loved
- Making a memorial to my dog such as memorial website or a memory photo scrapbook
- Getting another dog when the time "becomes right"
Other helpful suggestions for dealing with the grief associated with the loss of a dog to AIHA are:
- If you are thinking of adding a new dog to your life, consider getting one from your local animal shelter or from a breed rescue group. Each year millions of dogs are put down because there are not enough people who will adopt these dogs.
- If you are not ready to adopt another dog you might want to consider volunteering at your local humane society or animal shelter.
- Giving a monetary gift in memory of your dog to the Meisha's Hope AIHA Fund #338 at Morris Animal Foundation. The Meisha's Hope AIHA fund #338 at MAF is an account that funds humane canine AIHA/IMHA health studies.
- If you have a surviving non AIHA dog or adopt another dog, consider training that dog to be a therapy dog at a nursing home, hospital or other facility. Once you and your dog start work in one of these facilities and see how much good you can do, you will for a while forget about the pain of your loss. Check with animal organizations or health care facilities in your area to learn how your dog can become a therapy dog.
- If you have a surviving non AIHA dog or adopt a another dog consider having that dog become a blood donor. One of the greatest tributes you can give to your deceased AIHA dog is to help another dog live through blood donation. Contact your vet to learn more about how your dog can become a blood donor.
- Plant a tree in your yard in memory of your dog and watch it grow and reach for the sky. Every time you look at the tree you will see life and growth.
- Read books on pet loss and grief
- Purchase and listen to an audio tape called Journey Through Pet Loss by Deborah Antinori, MA, RDT, LPC
- Purchase an “In Memory” bracelet the from the Foot and Paw website. Five percent of the profit from the sale of each bracelet will be donated to the Meisha’s Hope AIHA/IMHA Fund #338 at Morris Animal Foundation. To learn more Click Here.
- Host a garage sale to benefit the Meisha's Hope AIHA/IMHA Fund #338 at Morris Animal Foundation. For more details Click Here
Books on Pet Loss & GriefCoping With Sorrow on the loss of your pet, by Mora Anderson, M. ED.
Good-bye My Friend, Grieving the Loss of a Pet, by Mary & Herb Montgomery
A Final Act of Caring, Ending the Life of an Animal Friend, by Mary & Herb Montgomery
Forever In My Heart, Remembering My Pet's Life, by Mary & Herb Montgomery
To obtain the these three books, contact Montgomery Press: P.O. Box 24124, Minneapolis, MN 55424 or Phone: 952-928-0826
Three Cats, Two Dogs One Journey Through Multiple Pet Loss, By David Congalton Available at book stores or from NewSage Press
Links to Pet Loss & Grief Web Sites
What I Learned from Losing My Dog
Pet Loss Support Page
The Association for Pet loss & Bereavement
Grief and the Loss of a Pet at the Doctors Foster & Smith web site
Grief and Pet Loss by Margaret Muns, DVM
This page was last updated on January 9, 2013.
All contents on this site Copyright © 1998 - 2013 Joanne Dickson. All rights reserved.