Beautiful Lizzy – passed away 26/2/21

“If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die, I want to go where they went.” – Will Rogers

Today marks 12 months since our beautiful Lizzy, 14, passed away after a short illness which was sudden and unexpected. We had, in many ways, been preparing ourselves for a long time but we hoped she’d slowly fade away, that we’d have a special last day of a beach visit, ice-cream and a cheeseburger but sadly it wasn’t to be. I felt cheated. She spent her last 3 days very unwell with numerous visits to and from the vets before we made the decision. The grief that my husband, myself and our son felt was overwhelming. I know we all say our pets are special and Lizzy really was. She came to us at 6 years old after being emotionally neglected prior, and she lived a full and happy life from thereon in. We adored her. She had a stint as a therapy dog and is one of the kindest dogs I have ever met. In the days after she passed, we were overwhelmed with gifts, flowers, cards, and beautiful memorial items. We now have a special piece of furniture with many of her memories on that and around the house. To this day, if someone asks about our dogs, I always include Lizzy. Lizzy in my mind, is still here. I’d like to share this beautiful, beautiful gift given to me to my amazing friend and nail artist, Kellie Sherack (Redhead Nails). If you know my dogs, it will make you cry as her attention to detail was beyond incredible.

I believe that if a dog passes and had a happy life, that the dog will always be with us, following us quietly and taking care of us. – TJ

I was blessed to be overwhelmed with love and care when Lizzy passed because I am a big part of our beautiful and active community. I am aware that often these passing’s are barely acknowledged by friends and family. For those of us participating in Doggie Dates, animals are our family. They are our soft place to fall, our joy, our reason to get up in the mornings. Without a doubt, most of us are ‘animal people’ rather than ‘people people’. While I have been sad to lose people I know, it is the loss of my pets throughout my life that has deeply impacted me.

How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” – Winnie The Pooh

When I was a young child, I went to a friends place one day. She had a lovely cat called Sam Black. I had a lovely cat called Frisky. I was unaware that Frisky was unwell and I loved him dearly. I talked and talked to my friend about my cat Frisky. When I got home Frisky was gone. I was told (quite bluntly) that he had been put to sleep that day as he was unwell. I was beyond devastated. I remember crying and crying and being told not to ‘be so silly’. This grief stayed with me. I never had the chance to understand or say goodbye. I raised my own child differently, he was present for most of the pets that had to be put to sleep, he held them, he cried, and he was incredibly brave as well and participated fully in the goodbye process, right from the passing of the first pet he knew, Christina. He was 3 years old. Now at 22 he is a huge animal lover and has a kind spirit.

Zaidyn having a quiet moment with Lizzy.

“Grief is like the ocean; it comes on waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.” – Vicki Harrison

This wonderful article, Coping with Losing a Pet, covers lots of aspects of pet loss and what you may feel.

Coping with Losing a Pet

What really stands out to me is the section about, “Dealing with the loss of a pet when others devalue your loss.” Reach out to others who have lost pets and regard pets as highly as you do. Look for online forums and animal groups that can understand and share your loss and grief with you. Be kind to yourself.

One of the resources we absolutely love is a counselling service run by Vicky Nonas, who has been part of our group for a long time.

Heavenly Pets

Counselling with Vicky

Just like human loss, there is no right way to grieve, no amount of time or sequence of steps that we go through. We are all individual and the most important thing is that we acknowledge what we are feeling and allow ourselves to grieve. Talking to like minded people helps a lot. The loss of a pet can hit the elderly particularly hard. Often they live alone and have lost many human friends and family and their pet is their constant and can literally break their heart. We need to be very gentle with everyone who loses a pet and allow them to talk about their pet and how they are feeling.

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” – Ted Geisel (Dr. Seuss)

This article, ‘How to deal with the loss of a pet”, lists some tips to cope. I will summarise but strongly encourage you to read it.

Take your time

Give yourself permission to feel

Care for your other pets

Talk to friends and family

Say goodbye

Keep their memory alive

It’s okay to move on too

Talk to a professional

Consider sharing your pets legacy

Please note, everyone deals with grief differently. When Lizzy passed we rescued another dog shortly after. This for us has been very healing but it does not mean we don’t miss Lizzy any less. For some people, they are not ready to get another pet for a long time, for others, another pet helps them heal Neither is wrong or disrespectful.

“Dogs have a way of finding the people who need them and filling an emptiness we didn’t ever know we had.” – Thom Jones

I love our members to share about their pets include pets who have passed recently or many years before. It is beautiful to hear the stories and share your joy and grief so you are always very welcome to do this and to reach out to any of our team if you want to do something special in memory of your pet or if you just want someone to listen.

“Sorrow is how we learn to love. Your heart isn’t breaking. It hurts because it’s getting larger. The larger it gets, the more love it holds.” – Rita Mae Brown

I wanted to finish with some memories of pets from group members that have passed on. We express our sadness to all our members who have lost pets recently or long ago. They will never be forgotten and have shaped who you are today. Please see below also for support contacts.

Firstly, a beautiful memorial written by Vicky Nonas, Pet Bereavement Counsellor who recently lost her own precious dog, Daisy, who I had the privilege of meeting.

‘My Daisy Dozer – 14/02/2008 – 28/01/2022 from the page, By My Side – Pet Loss Counsellor’

Daisy and Vicky

I haven’t been ready to publicly share the loss of my beloved Daisy, a little over 4-weeks ago.I t goes without saying that my heart is incredibly heavy and there are times I find it hard to breathe facing life without her companionship. From day one as a cheeky pup, Daisy travelled with me on a daily basis where I help my husband in his business. Then in 2015 she also helped me at The Cottage seeing my counselling clients, often sitting steadfast and providing quiet comfort by their feet as they found themselves in the midst of the loss of much cherished pets, or other life challenges and transitions. But there was none of that first, as first she would get all of the tennis balls out of the kids room to play! I was always replacing toys and balls! She was my Office Manager and then my Practice Manager. Both personally and professionally, life revolved around my tenacious Daisy. In 2018 her eyesight deteriorated and slowly dementia played its awful part. Arthritis too became her daily lot. I had known the gut wrenching inevitable time was coming, and sadly whilst we were on holidays recently my sweet girl rapidly deteriorated. For some reason I had packed her special blanket, the new pack of tennis balls, and some musk sticks (her favourite treat) were purchased. Surrounded by her people, she gained her wings on 28th January. I then tested positive to Covid and had to return home without her. The house is eerily quiet, the silence deafening.If love could have saved her, she would have lived forever here by my side. I have been taking a break from seeing clients this past month and allowing the space I need to tend to my broken heart, as grief demands my attention. Loss makes us question everything, about our lives, about why we are here. It shakes everything up and turns our lives upside down. Please know you are not alone in feeling so deeply the loss of a much loved pet, in fact it makes sense it is a painful experience such is the indescribable bond we are so privileged to have with them.Daisy, you will always be by my side, and forever in my heart girl.


For support contact:

Vicki Nonas

Lifeline 13 11 14 (24/7)

Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636 (24/7)

Doggie Dates NSW 0422354798 / M-F 9-4

Some of our Doggie Dates NSW members much loved pets. Never forgotten.

This is Bianca, taken one week before she died suddenly in her sleep. She was only 8yrs old gone since March 2018. I didnt work for a number of days, couldnt get out of bed she was perfect. I had a sketch done of her and light a candle next to it with her collar on those days when it still hurts. – Linda
Mason passed away October 2021 I didn’t cope at all the loss was indescribable the void even worse I miss him every day – Leonie

This is our Floki
He only passed away yesterday. Still trying to deal with it. No way to cope other then let your emotions out and try to push through. – Tracey

This is Meekah.
I adopted her in 1999, at 4 months of age from the RSPCA.
She had parvo virus when I adopted her, and she spent 2 weeks at the vets, before coming home to live with us. She nearly died.
I hand fed her and nursed her back to good health.
As a result, she became very spoilt.
At 12 years old, she was diagnosed with laryngeal paralysis.
This is a potentially life threatening disease, which required specialist surgery to help her survive.
She had tieback surgery at SASH and went on to live to 15 1/2 years of age.
She ended up with her back legs being paralysed, which is another symptom of that horrible disease.
I made the absolutely heart wrenching decision to let her go.
It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life. Because she was so alert and eating well, but she couldn’t walk anymore and was incontinent. I couldn’t lift her, she weighed 36kg.
The vet came to our house and all the people she loved were with her.
I lived her dearly and she helped me through lots of tough times.
She also held a special place in my heart, because she knew my husband before he died in a tragic work accident.
He loved her very much also.
She was there to help me raise my then teenage sons and to help me to grieve.
I’ve had a few other dogs in my life, but Meekah was extra special.. Kazza <3
Our beautiful boy Billy. Over the rainbow on 7/10/21 at age 17. Originally a rescue dog for my mum who unfortunately got dementia and went into care. He was the last bridge to her. The vet made it very comfortable for us and assured us that as he had kidney failure that we were doing the kindest thing to help him fly. We have lovely memories and pictures of him. He will always be in our hearts – Trish
Delta and Charlie after a doggie dates oldies walk 23 March 2019. – Rebecca
It was the day I always thought of as Charlie’s birthday (although his official paperwork said May 1st). I didn’t think I would have him much longer or that he would make it to May, so we celebrated on this day with a doggie dates walk and then some lunch at the entrance and a final beach run.
Charlie died in June 2019, aged 14.
Delta died in May 2021, also aged 14.
My beautiful Jetson 🖤 miss him so much. He was 6. – Angela
Leanne – Harry was 16 and a beautiful old soul – miss him dreadfully 💙
Missy, 12. Passed Dec 2017. The sweetest girl ever. She was my girl, I l9ved her so & miss her dearly. Robyn
Jojo, 12. Passed Aug 2018. Cranky. Not dog friendly, but loved all humans, on her terms. Definitely a daddies girl, but knew I was boss. Such a personality that is also dearly missed. – Robyn
Cosmo, I still miss him. Died April 2016 at 13. The best dog I ever had (sorry Stealth!) and my first secondhand dog. I loved him dearly – Margaret
Jack (17, lost him in 2016) and Jill (15, lost her in 2015)
I miss them so much, and my life has become a little bit less bright now that I no longer have the greatest loves of my life. – Sharon
This was my main man Buddha! He stuck to me like glue from the day I collected him at 8 weeks to the day we set him free just shy of 14 years. The last few years he struggles with cushings and then incontinence and immobility, but he never once complained and we loved him deeply. – Ashleigh
This was my little girl Charli, taken just before she died just over 4 years ago… she was only 7. We only opened our hearts again to another puppy at the end of July last year, our hearts were that broken. Pugs are like no other dogs. – Debbie
My beautiful Sunny Boy who went over the rainbow bridge in October 2021 (at the age of 15 ½) He is in our thoughts every day, but one of our fondest memories (that we continue to remember him by) is whenever we see a black poodle out & about we call them a “Batman Sunny”. We bought Sunny this jacket so he could be a Batman Sunny too 💛🖤💛
Doggie Dates has helped Sunny’s sister Lexi with her grief since the loss, by building her social skills & keeping her engaged with other dogs ❤ – Kimberley
This is Demi. She passed away unexpected at the age of 12 in 2018. A huge lose and devastation as my hubby passed away 2 yrs earlier. I have put their ashes together and that has given me a lot of solace. I visit them both at Palmdale. – Narelle
Baxter was my best friend and was with me for nearly 15 years. Baxter, a Jack Russell Terrier, started life as a hyperactive pup, an energetic youth, an active mid lifer and a gentle, calm and devoted old man. He was a very healthy dog until 2 days before a midnight dash to the ARH Vet. Sadly it was his time to leave me, I was devastated. I couldn’t go to work or even leave the house for a number of days, my grief was so great. Eventually I decided that I need the companship of another dog, the loss of Baxter left a huge void in me but I didn’t want a replacement. I need a full 12 months to grieve and to think happy not sad thoughts, to smile not cry when when I thought of Baxter. Another dog is now part of my life, not to replace Baxter but to be a new family member – Jennifer

My girl Mini 💔 the reason my soul smiled. 18 yrs she walked beside me, she was more than I dog to me she was my family. I held her close on the 2-10-2021 and thanked her for being my girl, as she crossed over rainbow bridge I told her it was ok and I love her. The tears still haven’t stopped – Tracey😢💔
This beautiful old man James was rescued from the pound by the amazing Gina from Golden Oldies.We only had him for a year as he was palliative but he won my heart and I think of him so often wishing I’d had more time to love him.Everytime we left him alone he did a little renovation on our house so left us with many reminders – Sandi
My beautiful sweet companion Missymoo..age 15 had her since 6 was old passed away 2021..passed away from a tumor on her pancreas which bled out..we took her home from the vet with pain relief for 5 hrs she said goodbye to her friends the ducks n chickens..and even walked up to where her playmate of 12 yrs is buried she stood in the yard and took it all in we laid with her in the sunlight on the front porch till we had to go ..the sadness was overwhelming..I went into a deep grief ..for weeks till we decided to get a beautiful lil girl named ziggy..this our girl that passed..we had her cremated and put into a lovely white urn with footprints on it and this beautiful watercolour – Louise
Beautiful mix Maxine (14yrs 2007)❤️ and beautiful BC Izzy (16yrs 2003-2019)❤️ totally devastated 😭still talk to them daily ☺️ – Julie
Tui our gorgeous big boy passed away from lymphoma at 11.5yrs old in 2015 – he was such a gentle giant who adored our 2 kids and has been so dearly missed by all of us – Jayne

Ginny, she was only 9. She was peacefully put to sleep on the 19th of august 2020 due to congestive heart failure. I’ve assisted lots of pets cross the rainbow bridge, despite that it’s always incredibly hard when it’s one of your own – Luka🤍

Bula passed away in Feb last year at almost 13 years & we still miss him & think of him every day. He was our protector & snuggler. Our first grandchild born two months later helped to ease our broken hearts. – Donna

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