Retirement: My Dog, ChiChi, Died

by Wendy,

Wendy & ChiChi, 3 weeks ago

Wendy & ChiChi, 3 weeks ago

On December 13, 2016, I lost my buddy, ChiChi. She was my constant companion - I talked to her all day, took her out, fed her, and she was just THERE all day long.

We've owned a few dogs before... but it never affected Terry or I as much as Chi's death has... I wonder why?

Are we closer to our pets post-retirement? When we are still working, they are night time companions but that's really about it. But when we retire, we are with them day in and day out. Our days revolved around ChiChi... seriously.

For days now, we've both cried at anything -- nothing really at all. Our daily routine has been upset and for days now, we do it all differently.

-- First thing in the morning, she went out then demanded her biscuit. I miss that!

-- Her bed is gone, couldn't bear to see it, and yet there is a big space next to my recliner that is strangely bare. Uggg!

-- We haven't eaten dinner at the table yet. Terry always yells OKKKKK, which makes Chi run for dinner, excited. We made a whole chicken the first night, sat to eat, there was no ChiChi running for dinner and no ChiChi to toss chicken pieces down to. Suddenly - I can't eat, and either can Terry.

-- We don't go out back time after time. I haven't touched the back deck in days. Terry used to take her out for a long walk every day, she chased the squirrels and barked at the ducks we feed (until they got the message and flew a bit). No More.

-- I always took Chi up to bed with me. Now I stay down until Terry is ready for bed (midnight). We sleep on opposite sides of the bed so he can continue to watch tv in bed, while I sleep. When he gets up early, I do too... instead of waiting for Chi to wake me up to play in bed.

-- I swear, I tried to sleep in, alone, the first morning... but, in my sleep, I felt her little foot rubbing on my back and heard her licking her dry lips. It happened a couple times... I woke and ran downstairs as quick as I could. I know this will make me sound like I'm crazy, but I swear it happened (in my imagination or whatever.. sure seemed real)!

Life is suddenly totally different... and I miss her like hell.


She has had small seizures lasting a few minutes for months now. The vet said it's age, and normal. She had one at 4am, and I came down with her afterwards. Some time later, I had fallen asleep but heard a weird noise, and found her having another seizure... it lasted for two hours. Terry dug out from the snow storm, we found a vet hospital and were on the road early that morning. Maybe 7am? I don't really know... they gave her an IV and when we saw her, minutes later, she was asleep and totally calm. I felt much better seeing that her struggle was over... I was so afraid she'd die in my arms on the way to the hospital.

We left her overnight to run blood tests to assure nothing was internally wrong. She never recovered....

We visited the next morning, and they took us into a sterile looking room to wait for her. When they brought her in, she was sleeping, snoring like she always did... and on a beautiful white fluffy blanket. When I first talked to her, her ear flickered a bit... I knew she could hear me. Her eye peeped open (a little slit) at one point too. She seriously looked as though she was only sleeping. The compassion this hospital provided for ChiChi and us was really really incredibly thoughtful. She was euthanized and though heartbroken, we were comforted.

Today, five days later, we received a Sympathy card from Advanced Animal Emergency, signed by the staff, and with a tiny packet of Chi's ashes inside. Crying, once again, but ever so grateful for this compassionate organization.

Thank you AAE from the bottom of our hearts!

If you have a pet, please hug them today! Don't delay... give them a big hug from me! Thanks!

Comments for Retirement: My Dog, ChiChi, Died

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I am Blessed to Have YOU ALL in My Life...
by: Wendy,

I have to say your posts have been overwhelmingly heartfelt.... Thank you to everyone who posted.

My life is so seriously blessed by this website -- I started out to help retirees during the retirement years, and ended up finding blessings here daily.

I Thank You All from the Bottom of My Heart!


I am so sorry for your loss. Chi Chi was a precious little soul.

With Sympathy
by: Barbara

Dear Wendy,

My deepest sympathy to you in the loss of your beloved dog ChiChi.


by: Sue/Colorado

So sorry you lost your cutie.

So Sorry
by: Patti/La Grang Park IL

Oh I am so sorry to read this - it made me cry. The pain of losing a pet is so real and overwhelming. The last time I had to put down a pet I cried for days and days. I hope every day gets a little easier.

ChiChi Dog
by: Joe W.

Wendy, Today I am sad with you hearing about the death of your dog, ChiChi! Personally, I don't own a dog. Many times I have taken long walks in our beautiful River Valley and many times I had the opportunity to meet different dogs and their owners.

I observed that there was a special relationship bond between the dog(s) and their owner. I can only imagine the pain that dog owners go through when their pet dies.One evangelist said that there was a doggy heaven. If this is true I'm sure that you will have the opportunity to meet ChiChi again. God Bless!

Joe W.

by: Elna Nugent, Lenox, MA

Dear Wendy:

Whether you believe it or not, you will see ChiChi again.

The love we feel for our animals and our loved ones never dies.

So sorry about your loss
by: Tracy/Milwaukee area

I am so sorry to hear about the hole in your heart left by your dog's passing. We never had kids and have two older rescue dogs. One of them has liver failure. I recently retired at age 55 after working 38.5 years due to my husbands job relocation. Then I started another job but quit after 3 weeks, thinking, "I want to spend the last remaining time I have at home with Paco."

Retirement gives us the gift of spending quality time with our pets instead of leaving them home alone all day. In the 9 months I've been retired, it's been great walking them daily and being together in a strange new town. They've kept me sane.

Go through the proper grief and don't apologize for it. These pets can be closer than most people we know.

by: MaryLee/ Florida

Wendy, I am so sorry for your loss. Please know that I am thinking of you and that I wish you peace.

by: Sheila, Cambridge Canada

I believe that ChiChi was with you that night to let you know that she will be waiting when you meet again one day. I know folks who have seen their loved one after death. Even those who were only casual acquaintances.

Our spirits, human or animal, stay awhile in order to adjust to the change before they leave for another world.

I know it's heartbreaking that those we love leave us too soon, but it's a small price to pay for years of their company.

You probably feel right now that she cannot be replaced. Replaced? No! But your kind heart needs an outlet, and another animal is waiting to step in and receive your care. One day...

I Feel Your Pain
by: Karen

So sorry for your loss. It's like losing a member of your family. We have had a few dogs and each time one passes, we swear that we'll never get another because it's so hard when they leave us. We have a cat now who is getting up there in age and I know she probably won't live too much longer. I can get myself so worked up just thinking about it.

The point you made about becoming closer to your pet when you are retired is so true. When you worked your life was so full with the hustle and bustle of every day life that you really don't have much quality time to spend with them. Just know that you gave your ChiChi a loving home and I believe, at least I want to believe, that we will be reunited with our beloved animals some day!

RIP ChiChi
by: teresa. birmingham uk

My darling friend my heart goes out to you. On 28th december 2015 we lost our beautiful springer spaniel Denis. This year has been the worst in all my 65 years. Having retired early due to partners ill health 6yrs ago.

Pete had a heart transplant 2yrs ago. It was a very worrying time and throughout it all our beautiful Denis was there for me. I loved him like he was my child. I still cry most days and miss him more as time goes by. After he died he made his presence felt. A list too long to mention here. Life has changed forever. He was my first and last dog, i could never ever replace him.

I believe in the afterlife and know one day he will be waiting on the rainbow bridge for me. I send you love my friend and will say a prayer to help you through this terrible time. Love Teresa. Xxxx

Kitty Loss
by: Kata-ABQ

I too lost my kitty girl, Shadow. Nearly 8-1/2 years. Retirement brought us so much closer. She disappeared one day. Had tags/chip. Always knew her way around the side yards/protected areas. I think something happened and no one is talking.

So difficult to not know...Devastating. Heart-breaking. She was my 'little girl'. She was my everything. Had dreams she was asleep in bed with me. Heard the kitty door open a few times.
Still now, i think of her in bed. Helps me go to sleep. Like the old days.

Discovered i am quite allergic. Thought i had some medical condition. One good outcome. Yet, can't have another, even a dog.

Soooo, feeding a feral. Call her 'Catapult'.
She 'sunbaths' in my enclosed backyard in the winter. There is a secret entrance for her.
Hopefully, we will become friends.

In the mean, have a kitty 'condo' protected from weather, grain-free kibble and fresh water. She still prefers 'living rough' in a make-shift cat bed more exposed, but enjoys the food and water and treats.

At least make her life a little easier.

Very sorry am there now too!
by: Donna Augusta, Mo

I lost my Sadie the day before Thanksgiving this year. She was a rescue from 3 and a half years ago after losing my Golden of 10years. Sadie was a golden/lab mix and probably the sweetest dog I ever had.

We had a morning routine and a daily routine. We walked every morning here in the bluffs of Mo. as Dakota and I had for 10 years prior. She was calm and fit in with the 2 cats instantly. They greeted each other daily and gave kisses.

Now, we all feel her loss. After Dakota passed of tumors in his chest. Sadie began with a tumor in her groin that just kept growing. She was bound and determined to walk that morning even if she was limping. I still have break out crying out of the blue.

My condolences to both of you. Time is the only thing that will help us heal. Thanks for sharing your story it helps too.

Blessed holiday season,

Wendy Donna -- I shared the story as I simply needed to write it out. BUT -- damn, it does help me and helps others. HELP AND BE HELPED is my site motto, and I didn't even think of that. Yikes! Thanks!!

Pets are Family
by: Carrie in Texas

I'm so sorry for your loss Wendy. Pets are really and truly family....the kind that is the most loyal and loves uncondionally. Maybe a little time will help. I hope you'll consider adopting another some day. I saw myself in your story. My little dog is my constant companion and she's almost 15 years old.

Rainbow Bridge
by: John A

When I lost my kitty, Oreo, to cancer two years ago I was devastated. She was my constant companion in retirement. Every time I sat on the sofa, she would jump up onto my lap to knead the dough on my stomach. For nearly ten years that was the routine and it is gone.

We had Oreo cremated and her ashes are in a small wooden urn. The crematory gave us a small story written on a beautiful card when they returned her ashes. Below is that story:

Rainbow Bridge

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.

There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.

The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

Author unknown...

Wendy: WOW. .John, that is beautiful! Love you!

by: Sandy

Wendy - I am so sorry for your loss of ChiChi. You have always been here for so many of us struggling with our lives and now it is us who know you are struggling.

It is so hard to go through the daily activities of life without our beloved pets with us-and I can't even use the word, "pets" without feeling like it is minimizing the loss. They are family.

I hope that you can someday move past the grief and think of how enriched your life was because of your special little ChiChi. Until then, please know that I am praying for you.

by: Paula

Your post brought tears to my eyes. I am so sorry to hear about your precious ChiChi. For so many of us pets are family and their passing is as sad and hard as with any family member. My sincere condolences to you and your husband. It is obvious that you loved her very much.

Losing ChiChi
by: JoJo

I'm now in my mid 70's. I don't participate here because I feel I'm too old. I'm also a member of that demographic that social workers call elder orphans...people who are aging alone, without family or a support system so I don't have husband or grandchild stories and problems to share.

Nonetheless, I had to remark on your tribute to ChiChi.

I'm a Healing Touch for Animals practitioner, and I have been fortunate to share some remarkable experiences with animals. It is not unusual to be visited by or feel the presence of your beloved pet for a while after it has passed. Usually it is only the owner who is blessed to have that experience, but I can describe one instance from years past in which I was also involved.

Holy Terror was a feisty, friendly mutt who belonged to a close friend. She and her husband got him as a puppy, and when he died, he was 18 years old. They had no children, and they adored H.T.

Two things characterized H.T. He had the noisiest collar of any dog in the universe. He had an id tag, a medical alert tag, a city registration tag, a vet address/rabies tag and even a small but very characteristic sounding bell hanging from his collar. The sound he made at the slightest movement was unmistakable. He also had the largest collection of toys in the dog world. They were kept in first one and then two and then three baskets in the den.

After H.T. died, Annie, his owner, told me about continuing to feel as if he were in bed with her. Her husband was away on business for weeks at a time, and Holy Terror had been her constant companion. She said she could not only hear the sound of his collar as he got up and down from the bed and walked through the house, but she could also feel his weight as he jumped on and off the bed. She also sometimes found his favorite toys on the bedroom floor.

One day not long after H.T. died, I visited her. We were sitting silently watching the sunset. Suddenly we heard the music of his collar break the silence of the quiet house. She reached over, squeezed my hand and whispered, "You hear it, don't you?" Indeed I did.

The sound began in the den, came into and through the room we were in, and faded away. We hurried into the den, and a couple of his toys were on the floor in the center of the room.

She continued to have these experiences for about a month. They grew less frequent over that time, and they finally stopped. Both Annie and her husband have died, and I hope H.T. was waiting for them. It would be wonderful if they were together again.

Wendy: WOW.. what a beautiful story about HT... thank you for sharing!! I also have to say -- "mid 70s" and too old to share life? Really? You have much wisdom and experience and just what others are seeking on this site. Please DO share... we need many voices and opinions!

I'm so, so sorry
by: Nancy

Wendy, I get it. BTW, my husband is Terry also. I have 2 senior dogs, Lapis, a Basset/lab, and Darla a large Chihuahua mix, both rescues and both seniors. I'm very sorry for your loss.

Sympathy and Understanding
by: Pam

Sincere sympathy to you and Terry on the loss of Chi Chi. They are family and are always there for us. Good days, bad days, always. When they leave us, we grieve. For those who never loved a pet, they just can't understand the meaning of losing them.

We lost our buddy 4 years ago at age 14 and it seems like yesterday. We sometimes feel like here's still around at times. We "feel" his presence. Is it wishful thinking or do the visit us from time to time?. Who knows!

We would like to have another dog, but no one could replace him. We also wonder if the vet bills would be a financial stress in retirement. It is difficult to not have another pet though. We've always had a dog.

Time heals. They say they will be waiting for us when we leave this earth. That thought is comforting. Peace to you.

aw, so sorry
by: Anonymous

Aw, I am so sorry. I also have a little chichi.

Here is just a random experience: people seem to like it when I offer to help out if they are ever delayed and can't get home to their dog. I tell them just to call me, tell me where they hide their key, and I will help them out. I know this relieves stress they sometimes feel, and it is a treat for me to offer it. Just keep that in the back of your mind in this sorrowful time. It is joy giving to do this.

by: Sherry Wilmington, NC

No more suffering for little ChiChi!! I will pray for you and Terry. It hurts so bad to lose your ChiChi. My Sparky, chihuahua, passed away in Sept. I love him so and miss him terribly. He was 15 and could not see or hear.

We are all here for you Wendy. You do so much for
the retirement community. I enjoy your website
very much!

So sorry for your loss
by: Lisa/Canada

I'm so sorry for your loss! It's so difficult to lose a furry family member. Life will not feel the same for a while...maybe a new puppy will help with your pain. Hang in there and remember the good memories and ChiChi will live on in your heart.

by: Joe with Score

Hi Windy,

So very sorry to hear about CheChi. Me wife and I used to babysit my son's dog, his name was Bandit. He had to be put to sleep a few years ago, but we still have his empty kennel in our garage. Our pets have a way of making a huge impact in our lives. All we can do is be grateful for the great memories.

Heavy heart
by: Elizabeth , West Virginia

At 83, I have a passel of dogs waiting for me at the Rainbow Bridge. One never replaced the other, each was special in their own way, but they had one thing in common. All they asked from me was attention and love.

Did you really feel that paw as you lay in bed, there is no question. You will forever have him with you, deep in a special corner of your heart.

So sorry for your loss.
by: Marcia. Ft Lauderdale.

So sorry for the loss of your beloved Chi Chi.My animals play an important role in my life too. I would be lost without them. Wishes for comfort and good memories.In time the pain will not be in the forefront so much but she will never be forgotten. Take care.

So Sorry About ChiChi
by: Diane

I am so sorry about the loss of your dog. I have one cat and he is my constant companion when I am home, which is most days because I'm retired and it's winter here in New England.

My husband passed away 5 years ago and I feel so lucky to have my cat.

They are a member of the family.

Take care.

So sorry for your loss of ChiChi
by: Joyce, Coxs Creek, Ky

I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your beloved ChiChi. We have lost more pets than we care to imagine, and they all broke our hearts. However, there were two dogs, Cocoa and Ginger, plus a cat, Gizmo, that were very special.

I do, indeed, believe you felt Chichi' s paw on your back and heard her licking her lips. Our angels do visit us to give us comfort, and let us know they never really leave us.

After Cocoa died, I found a red silk rose upstairs on our landing - have no idea where it came from. It just appeared.

by: Lindaz,Long Beach

So sorry to hear of your loss. A pet is part of the family. After my husband died, Yoda my best friend, was my constance companion till he fell of my bed and fractured his hip, at the same time I fractured my back. Yoda didn't recover I had to put him to sleep , cried like a baby, the hardest thing I had to do... so my sympathy to you both. Love,Linda

Special friends
by: Anne/UK

It's hard losing a dog. After we lost ours, I couldn't bear to walk in our local park where I'd taught her to retrieve balls and where she and my husband had their daily Frisbee games. When I go there now I feel she is with me, snuffling in the bushes, just out of of sight. She was a person who happened to be a dog and we miss her always.

Sad for your loss
by: CJ New York

I put down my lovable Golden R. who had very bad seizures that just got worse and worse over the years. He lived long and prospered and outside the seizures was just a normal acting dog at 14 yrs of age...but he really suffered through those last episodes.

I am not religious or spiritual in the classic sense and only made the decision out of a desire to not have him deteriorate psychologically. I wanted him to remember how good and happy life was and to go from us with those memories, and I think he did.

As life cycles, 8 months later we have our first little guy...a 10 lb mixed peke who is so loving. I feel he is channeling our Golden who is telling us "see everything is okay, and life goes on". It just took us a while to realize it.

Take your time to grieve and seek comfort. The road is wide.

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