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Oh dear, so sorry about Bella! I also have a dog that i love so much and i can relate to your feelings. i am aware that he will (most probably) go before me, and this makes me so sad i don't even want to think about it. his health is ok but each gray hair that he gets is a reminder... i try to cherish each moment with him and am already thankful for all the love and lessons he's sharing with me.
i think people without pets can't really understand this emotions...

By the way, thanks for Madonnas Cd, it's really entertaining!

Petra - Thank you. It's been tough coming to terms with her illness when I thought I had at least 4-8 more years with her, but I'm trying to focus on being positive and present. Definitely cherishing every moment I have with her! (You're welcome for the CD - glad you like it!)

Yuck. Yuck yuck yuck. These things suck in the worst way. I'm actually kind of going through this sort of thing with my Aunt who is battling cancer. The situation is similar in two ways: 1. She's nearing the end of her fight, and I feel really guilty if I don't get a chance to talk to her one day or if I don't make an effort to call her more. I put pressure on myself to have excessive communication, because that's what I feel like I should be doing - when in reality we both know we're thinking about eachother and forced communication isn't necessary. I always need to remind myself that I shouldn't feel guilty for living my life as well. 2. The celebration instead of mourning concept (that you seem to already have down). My Aunt was diagnosed four years ago, and looking back I could not be happier that our family responded the way we did. We've spent four years enjoying every minute with eachother. She went on trips, we made extra visits, we soaked up every moment, more so than we would have done without the diagnosis (as crappy as that sounds). When it's all over, you'll look back and remember those amazing times and you'll be SO glad you didn't waste your time together being sad. It's hard to do, and of course you're going to be upset at times, but remember that there will be times for sadness later. For now, enjoy the time you DO have.

Anyway, just my (very long) $.02. Bella is very lucky to have you, and the stars will align in whatever way they're supposed to. Thinking of you guys!

Juliana - Thank you so much for keeping us in your thoughts and for sharing what you're going through. It's such a difficult thing to go through, and it's so nice to feel like I'm not alone. I agree that the stars will align where they are supposed to and even though it's hard to accept that, I have to keep that in mind. I'm sorry to hear about your aunt's illness. It sounds like you and your family have been really making the most of the time you have with her, which is awesome. It's so hard not to be sad, but celebrating life is a much more positive and productive way to deal with illness. And, as you said, looking back and remembering all the fun you had will be so much more fulfilling than looking back on months of sadness. I'll keep your aunt (and your family) in my thoughts.

I'm so sorry to hear about Bella. My dog is 10 years old and has brain cancer. Believe me, I know exactly how you feel. She's your baby. The initial shock was very difficult and I was in tears for almost everyday. The vet told me she had 3 to 6 months to live. This was about six months ago. She is still doing well, i.e., eating and playing. I am doing everything I can to make her comfortable and happy. If you're upset and stressed, believe me, they will take that on as well. I know it's easier said than done. I take it moment by moment. But remember, she's still alive, don't mourn the living. When things get difficult for me, I meditate and take deep breaths for 3 to 5 minutes a day, sometimes twice a day. This helps me keep everything in balance. When you're calm, Bella will be calm. This will help alleviate some of her symptoms or pain she may be in. Just remember that you're not alone as there will be times that you feel like you are. My thoughts and prayers are with you and Bella.

I just wanted to add that my dog Howie was diagnosed with 75 per cent kidney failure and went on to live three more years quite happily with medication and a careful diet. Apparently kidney problems in dogs are much less predictable than in cats and other species.
It was a major blow when he was first diagnosed as he was very young and it meant some lifestyle changes for him (he had been a canine blood donor before, which was part of why he was diagnosed in the first place) but I focused a lot on number 4 above. As it turned out we ended up having a lot more time with him than we had first thought, and boy oh boy were those years made richer by keeping it in mind.
My Howie passed away (not from kidney failure, thankfully) quickly and painlessly just over a year ago. I miss him terribly but I'm also so very thankful for the opportunity to have shared my life with such a wonderful animal. He lived life very much in the present, accepted people (and other animals) just as they were, and always had a positive outlook. I should be so lucky as to live life like him.

I wept for you and Bella, but am also glad you're finding ways to be present now with her and with yourself. My beloved cat of nearly 15 years, Shadow, died the day after this last Christmas. She was so precious because she saw me through some of my toughest days--deaths of my brother-in-law, father, and mother, my breast cancer, and my broken and surgically repaired ankle. Though she's gone,and I have two new cats (Missy & Molly), the love Shadow brought to my life will stay with me, as your and Bella's love will never be gone no matter what the days ahead hold for each of you. Peace and Blessings!

I'm so sorry to heat about Bella's illness. I don't know how kidney disease affects dogs compared to humans (I'm sure different in some way), I can relate in some way in that my mom has been battling kidney disease for a long time due to diabetes, now she is in end stage renal failure (never a candidate for a kidney transplant due to the diabetes). You are doing the best thing for her in the care and love you are giving her. I try to be diligent with my mom in asking her all the time how she's feeling, what were her vitals like today even if it annoys her. Too bad. I know you can't do the exact same for Bella since she can't talk (well words that is) but I'm sure she knows and feels you are doing what's good for her and helping her. It always amazes me how dogs can feel emotion so strongly and want to comfort you if sad or make you more happy if it's fun they are picking up. So very much to learn from such warm little beings. I will keep you and Bella in my thoughts and send many soothing rubs and love her way. Hugs to you Dani.

Tanalee - I'm so sorry to hear about your dog, but also happy to hear that it's been six months and she's still doing well. I really appreciate your support and inspiration. You make a great point about staying calm. Doing so will benefit both me and Bella. I'll keep you and your dog in my thoughts as well. I hope she lives much, much longer than the doctors anticipated.

Jill - Thank you for sharing this with me! Even though the vet seems pretty certain she won't last more than a year, you just never know and your example gives me hope. You've also reminded me how inspiring dogs (like Howie!) can be. They are such great role models for living a positively present life.

Mary - I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your cat, Shadow. Even though it's been months, I'm sure it's still very difficult to be without him. Thank you for the great reminder that what time and love Bella and I share will always be with us, no matter how many more days I have with her. That's such an important thing to keep in mind!

Saggleo - That must be very difficult, dealing with your mother's illness. I really cannot imagine it, but it sounds like you are doing a great job of helping her through it and making sure she knows you care. Even though Bella can't speak, there are definitely ways I can show her how much I care. Plus I think dogs can somehow just sense emotions, which means they can probably sense love too. I'll be thinking of you and your mom. Stay positive!

I am so sorry to hear about Bella's illness. I don't think you are being over dramatic at all. Bella is a member of your family and it's natural to be upset. I would feel much the same in your place. I don't know how you are able to break through all the awfulness to focus on staying positive. Your words prove how strong you are and how lucky Bella is to have you to care for her.

No matter how much time we have with our pets, it is never enough. I think in some way having a pet is brave. We know they are likely to pass away long before we will and yet we still give them our hearts. As hard as it is to contemplate saying goodbye, I do know I'd rather have the memory of my dog, than never have had her in my life at all.

I will be thinking of you and wishing Bella well.

Kristine - It's definitely been a challenge to stay positive, but when I think about how much she is able to pick up on my emotions, it makes it easier to stay positive for her sake. You're so right about how having a pet is brave, but like you I'd much rather have this time with her (however hard) than not have had any time with her. Thank you so much for thinking of us!

Aah so sorry to hear about Bella. In times like this, I just try and go with what I feel as much I can without judgment. It is so easy and natural to feel negative, in times of stress but you always know that your true being is joy and happiness and it will return. I see the negative emotions like a cloud, allow and accept them. I know that I will be positive once again when the time is right and I don't push it. Try not to be so hard on yourself. This is a tough thing and you are allowed to be devastated and sad and that does not mean you are being negative. You are being human and feeling pure emotions for your dog and that is ok. If you force yourself to feel something you don't then you repress an essential part of yourself and that is not healthy. You feel sad let yourself feel sad. You feel negative and that is ok. You know what your true state is and it will return when the initial shock of the news is absorbed. You do not have to be positive and present every moment of your life. All you can do is try your best in any given moment.

You are doing really well and already looking at the positive things which is brilliant and shows your strength of character.

Wishing you all the best xx

Tania - Thank you so much for wishing us the best. And thanks for the reminder that it's okay to feel without judgment. It's okay to be sad and negative at times. I think the important thing for me is not to dwell on the negative emotions. Trying my best is the best I can do and so far it's been working pretty well.

I'm so so sorry. I know how hard this can be. we lost our dear cat in December and i still miss him. bella is a blessed pup to have you as her human :) wishing both of you strength and grace. xo, nicole

Nicole - It's very tough with lots of up and down days (today being one of the not-so-great ones...). I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your cat. Losing a pet is truly devastating, and I hope you were able to enjoy whatever time you had with your dear cat. Thank you so much for the wishes of strength and grace -- I can certainly use those right now!

thank you for sharing this article. i'm so sorry to hear about your litle bella :'(
we lost our beagle dog 2 yrs ago. those last 3 months, we're living horrible ways... crying, struggling, all the world seemed colorless and felt just so unhappy..
i really admire your possitive way of thinking and all of your energies.
whishing you and your bella all the best.
Fan from japan :))

Mimi - You're welcome. It's definitely been a tough situation with Bella, but I'm trying the best I can to enjoy the time I have with her right now. I'm so sorry about your loss. Even though it was two years ago, I know how hard it is to lose an animal. Thanks so much for reading (and commenting!) all the way from Japan!

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