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Programmers and their Pets

I just lost my beloved cocker spaniel, Ludie, to illness, and I find I just can't get my work done.  I haven't done anything in a week, and I just can't get over it.  Has anyone else lost a cherished pet?  How long did it take you to get over it?  Did it affect your code?  What kills me the most, is that when I worked from home, she insisted on sitting on my feet right underneath the computer.  It always annoyed the heck out of me, but now that she's gone, I miss that most of all.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

We had to put our German Shepherd/Rottie down four days before Christmas this year.  I can be really tough.  We don't have kids so our dogs are like our kids.  Non-dog lovers don't understand this.  It took me about two-weeks before I wasn't thinking of him non-stop throughout the day.  Unfortunately, it's like any other grieving process.  It just takes time.

My friend gave me this poem

Good luck.  I know what you're going throught :(

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Well, I like dogs, but I've never spent a lot of time grieving about the ones I lost.

I'll be nice and presume that it feels to you like losing a very dear friend, and in that vein, you have my sympathies.

And in the same vein, take some time to grieve, and remember the good times you had together.

Steve Barbour
Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Sorry about your loss.....time is the best healer

Meanwhile try

Code Monkey
Wednesday, February 18, 2004

From Simon and Garfunkel's Greatest Hits:

Time it was and what a time it was
A time of innocence,
A time of confidences.

Long ago, it must be,
I have a photograph,
Preserve your memory,
That's all that's left you.

I'm sorry for your loss.  Take time off if you can.  Trying to gut through it while working may leave you worse off.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

I completely understand what you're going through.  I lost my cat Harvey just before Christmas last year, and it was really devastating.  Since I work at home, it was particularly tough not having him around.  Between that and the holiday season, I probably had a good month of near-zero productivity days.

There are lots of books and web sites that might help you -- just Google "pet loss."  (Unfortunately you'll have to put up with lots of treacly graphics and midi songs.  <g>)  Here's a few:

It's not something you can ever "get over" -- it just takes time.  Try to find something constructive, perhaps.  I found some comfort in volunteering at the local animal shelter, and eventually fostered and then adopted two new kittens who needed a home.  Good luck.

Robert Jacobson
Wednesday, February 18, 2004

I feel for you. I am sorry for your loss. Give yourself sometime to adjust, go for a long walk and reflect.

Remember this too shall pass.

Cosmo Kramer
Wednesday, February 18, 2004

"come on women"

I wonder what has so disempowered and alienated this person that they feel the need to attack others who choose to bare their most naked feelings?

I lost a close family member a few years back after a prolonged illness.  I was back at work after about 10 days I think.  Had to do something to occupy myself.  Would get teary-eyed on occasion.  A couple times a day, then once a day, then once a week, then once a month, etc... 

I can't recommend anything to you, but I work with a cat all day and I know if she died I would need to stop working from home for a while.

Dan Brown
Wednesday, February 18, 2004

"...will be replaced without hesition or sorrow when the natural time comes."

And also with you.

cat lovin' redneck
Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Cowboy wisdom:
If you can't shoe your own horse or shoot your own dog, you don't deserve to have either one.

Doug Withau
Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Your post hit home, anon, it was nice to hear people share their sad feelings when losing their pets. Losing a loyal pet who only knows love for their master is very hard.

Just a week ago, my mother wrote (I work far away from home) that my family had adopted a very malnourished and sickly puppy who wandered by our front door. It was barely clinging on to life. They brought it in, and tried to nurse it back to health. My father named him 'Lucky' because he was hanging on to life despite overwhelming odds.

Then just two days ago, my mother wrote that it is a very sad day for the entire family, because Lucky had taken a turn for the worse and had to be put to sleep. Even though he was with the family only a short time, my mother shed tears, poor puppy. She said even my father (usually a very tough guy) was very sad. Reading her email, I too had tears in my eyes which was strange because I had not even met or seen the dog. Up to now I still have that depressed feeling, but after reading this thread it's nice to know at least I'm not alone.

P.S. When I was still living at home a year ago, I lost my favorite pet dog due to illness, but losing Lucky was sadder because I knew my pet dog lived a good life, while Lucky had all the disadvantages early in life.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

When my dog was ran over by a car, I found that I could not concentrate on anything for a full 2 months. Yes, it takes time. Yes, he was more than a dog - more like a human brother to me. And yes, it hurt like hell. No one could understand why it could affect me so much. They said "But he was only a dog...". He was only 4.

I cried buckets for weeks. Spent time alone in the washroom because I could not stop weeping. When I went home, I'd half expect to see him at his usual spots, but he was not there...

The very next week, my mum bought home 2 JRTs. I knew they could not replace the special place in my heart immediately. But they definitely made the sun shine again.

Although we know that the day we bring them home, we'd have to prepare for such a moment... but you can never be prepared.

You must have loved your dog a lot. And she was the luckiest dog in the world to have been with you. She had a happy life :-)

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Thanks for all the comments, links and advice.  It was really comforting to me and my wife that you guys/gals would take time out to share your experiences.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

My profound condolences for the losses described by the survivors.

Our pets: four ridiculously spoiled, fat house cats, all but one being "rescues".  All participate regularly in house-wide wars of attrition and mutual humilation and conquest.

The programmer's archetypal pet is a cat because they are aloof, haughty, intelligent and independent...

Bored Bystander
Thursday, February 19, 2004

I've lost a cat a year for the last three years.  The surviving cat is under orders to live for at least two more, although she's very old and always did have the feline tendency to not follow orders.  The grieving process will need to play itself out is all.  I still miss all of them, but over time the pain lessens.  The first casualty no longer causes me unbearable pain.  It's been a while since I had any nightmares about the loss of the second.  The third, that one still bothers me a lot, and she died in June. 

The only advice I can give is to remember your fallen pet, don't be afraid to mention their names or talk about the things they did.  It's hard to do that, but it's worth it.

As for the callous bastard injecting their unwanted derision, please feel free to look me up in person and say those things.  Please put your affairs in order first, you won't have time afterward.

Clay Dowling
Thursday, February 19, 2004

I don't really know too much about animals with fairly long lifespans, like cats and dogs, but I've known lots of those cute and smart tame rats, and those things die quick.  It's extremely painful at the beginning when they start heading off into the great unknown...  but fortunately it became clear that these little suckers only stop in this world to observe it for a while, and then move on.  And it does seem this world is a pathetic, sad boring place anyway, and I learned it's kind of a good thing for them to get off it.

You probably really regret some things.  But these are natural mistakes.  You've gained knowledge, and possibly you might keep an eye open for a dog that finds you interesting and you wouldn't mind spending time with.  Not a replacement but some lonely guy/gal who could perhaps stand a good time.  Of course, you'd have to find a dog that's Smart and Gets Things Done, a 99.9% kinda fellow.

My first rat who died (and when I say "my rat", I actually wasn't responsible for him.  They would starve to death if I were.) was a fireball-colored guy.  Smart as hell, and had all sorts of emotions like jealousy, passion for food, desire not to be disturbed in the morning when he went off to the bathroom and then ate breakfast.  He had good manners.  Oddly clumsy for a rat.  I had only seen one other rat who was so observant of humans, and unfortunately she was a sociopath to those she considered weak.  So you can imagine all my mistakes hit me hard... admittedly they weren't my responsibility and I didn't want them initially, but I did grow attached to the wee beasties.  It's important to get things right in this world, even if you underestimate their value.

A lot of what you're feeling is chemical; you'll usually just need time.  It's important for the experience to improve you somehow, because the alternative is to admit there is no point to death.

I had something else to say but I'm too tired and depressed to remember. ;)  Oh yeah, when I speak with the person who was responsible for them, I talk in terms of the rainbow bridge and how they're leading absurd lives inviting each other to dinner occasionally or whatever.  I don't know why, but it is a beautiful picture and for some reason I believe it on some level.

Tayssir John Gabbour
Thursday, February 19, 2004

Sir, I am Jack ( Age 13)
I and God, are best friends.
Everyday we spend hours talking to each other.
You know private talks... ;-)
Although he gives me everything late, but still we are friends.
I remember one thing.
One day he said me,I want someone who loves me un-conditionally.
Humans,really don't care about me. But this time I would like to have someone real faithfull and loving creature with me.
So Sir, He might have selected your pet. I know God will take care of him. He knows everything about pet -diet , walk and all...You need not to worry .I am saying this because I know him very well. As he is my BEST FRIEND. 

Saturday, February 21, 2004

I don't have any advice, but I know what you mean.  Whenever I've been without a dog or cat, I felt like something was missing.  Don't know why.  Maybe a hundred thousand years ago, our ancestors came from tribes of cavemen that hunted with wolves.  And maybe these were tribes of geeks and that's why we're both programmers.  ;)

Anyway, good luck.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

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