Along my journey of loss and my time of study I found that all of us including animals need some type of support.
My wife and I are in our early 60’s, we have never had children but what we have had is our love for our furry friends. For a very long time in our marriage we were not in a situation to have and keep pets and we both love dogs so when we relocated to southern Indiana back in 2005 we bought our first house and with that purchase came the home that we could open up to our new furry babies.
That first fall only a few short months after we moved into our house, we brought home our first little furball of love. She was an eight-week-old Bishon Friese that we named Charli.
Charli was like the perfect little puppy, she was smart, energetic and has the best temperament of any dog I have ever met. In the first year Charli grew into a perfect puppy, she never barked, never chewed on anything other than her toys and just wanted to give and be loved.
At the end of that first year we decided that it was time to get Charli a little sister, a playmate that would keep her company while we were at work eight hours a day. We looked for a few weeks when one of our trips to the local shelter produced a bright eyed, long legged little brown terrier that we fell in love with. We took Charli to meet this newfound friend and they hit it off as soon as they met. With the approval of Charli, we named our newest family addition Autumn since it was October when we found her. For the next 9 years these two were our life. Autumn as it turned out had the personality of a comedian, she just played, ran, jumped, and kept us amused 24/7. She also had a perfect temperament, never barking for no reason, never growing and like Charli she just wanted to play and have fun.
When Charli was 10 and Autumn was 9, I was out one day going past the shelter, I decided to stop just to see what I could see, apparently, I had puppies on my mind again. As I walked through the row of pens, I came across a Min Pin that started jumping up and down like all the dogs do as they await adoption from someone, anyone. I asked the tech if I could meet Layla and take her outside. When the tech came to open the pen, Layla was jumping up and down and could not wait to get into my arms. The tech was shocked, she said that Layla had been with the shelter for 2 and a half months and that she had never seen her looking so excited especially with a man and very few women. I was told that Layla was returned by an elderly man that had adopted her but realized that she was to much for him to handle. I found that hard to believe as Layla seemed like a great little dog that just wanted some love and attention. I also found that she 13 years young and that was a big reason why no one would adopt her. Well it took about 2 minutes to know that I was Layla’s new human as she would not leave me alone. I rushed home to get my wife and the other two, Charli and Autumn so we could go have a meet and greet. Within an hour Layla was on her way to a new home.
For the next 2 and a half years we had so many laughs with our 3 fur babies. Charli was the mother of the pack; Autumn was the middle child class clown and Layla was what I called the Sherriff; I was the pack leader. The three of them would follow me everywhere, I rarely if ever used a leash with them as they watched and listened to my every command and never ran off alone. Now that was not the case with my wife, they new who was the boss and she was not it. Anyway, over the years we made so many great memories.
Like so many other changes in our lives we were to see some changes as the time passed as our three fur babies got older with time. Autumn was diagnosed with a heart condition, she started getting tired easily and had a couple of epileptic attacks. She was put on two medications as we were told that at some point and time her little heart would fail her. Layla was now 16 years young and slowing down, going blind and hard of hearing and Charli well she was beginning to walk a little stiff legged and not climbing stairs as easy as she used to and me the pack leader, well I was slowing down also with quite a few aches that I had never had before.
One morning in the first week of November 2018 My wife left for work and about 20 minutes later Autumn started panting hard and collapsed, I rushed her to the vet were she received a shot of blood thinners and the vet told me that it was probably that time, the time that my wife and I should say our good byes as Autumn may not make it much longer. I only live 5 minutes from the vet office and by the time I brought Autumn inside to lay her in her bed she looked at me, licked my face and passed in my arms. To say the least I was devastated. Not only for losing her but that my wife was not home to say her goodbye to Autumn. When Loree returned home I had to break the news to her and yes, she also was devastated, we had never had a fur baby loss in our life up until then. This was the hardest thing that either one of us had ever had to deal with emotionally in our 20 pus years of marriage. Even though we had both lost our parents this was a grief that we had never known before. We were feeling the loss and now knew that Autumn truly was the life of our party, the next few days seemed so quiet even though we still had Charli and Layla.
Now on the fifth day after Autumn crossed the Rainbow Bridge, I watched Layal the Sherriff jump up onto the couch as she always did but this time she stopped and looked like she was in a daze. I jumped and ran to her where I could see something was wrong, I could see it in her eyes. I picked her up and rushed to the vet’s office. By the time I got her out of the car she could not stand, her legs were gone, and she could do nothing but lay there looking like a wet noodle. The vet determined that she had had a stroke, this is what I thought first when I saw her looking confused. She was put on a steroid pack and I was told to give her a few days to see if she would come around. For the next 4 days I fed her by hand, gave her water through a syringe and I walked her in a sling to potty. At the end of four days I knew that she would never again be the dog that she wanted to be and that I had to decide to put her to sleep. As much as I loved my Charli and Autumn, I really had a special bond with Layla, she just looked at me different, we were on the same page. She was telling me that she knew what was coming next so the next day we met the vet and I let her go. My wife and I were now doubly in shock, two of our babies gone within days of each other. We were at our emotional wits end.
I started doing a lot of searching and reading about pet loss, dog loss and loss in general. I quickly realized that we were not alone and that many people that suffer the loss of a pet have feelings of depression, anxiety, no sleep and loss of appetite and that Heartbreak Syndrome was a very real thing.
The more I studied the more I learned and the more I learned the more I wanted to take care of myself physically and emotionally.
As I learned what causes all the internal suffering of loss, I found that it all stems from your Adrenal glands and the production of the hormone Cortisol along with 4 other hormones of Dopamine, Oxytocin. Serotonin and endorphins and how all these hormones effect everything that goes on in our mind and body.
I began looking for a cure or at the least something that would make me feel better about life, something that would give me a feeling of happiness and that is when I found through a friend nootropic smart coffee. Now, since I drink coffee every morning, I thought what the heck I will give this Happy Drink a try. Low and behold by the time I finished my first cup of coffee I was feeling seriously better, but I thought no way could I feel that good that fast, it must be a placebo effect. So, I tried the happy drink coffee the next few days and each day I felt better and better, my tears of loss turned to tears of joy with fond memories of my lost puppies. What I have discovered is that if you induce happy hormones back into your body you will reduce anxiety, eliminate depression, eat better and yes, sleep better. The joy in my life came back, I felt the feelings of satisfaction, grace, and an overall feeling of wellbeing, unlike the feelings of loss and despair. For me and so many others I was feeling and living again. Now my wife does not drink coffee, but she was in luck, the happy drink came in a Lemonade flavored drink also. My wife tried it and it did the same thing for her, now we were both on our way to feeling much better about life.
During all of this time of sadness we both joined pet loss support groups where we could share our story and it helped so much that I started my own Facebook group called Grief Relief Pet Loss where others could come and share their stories with others that are feeling the effects of a pet loss. Then in late Dec. 2018 we adopted another senior, a little 12.5-year young Chi that was deaf, she quickly became Charli’s new friend and part of our pack. We loved her like she had been with us all her life. Sadly, Callie had a stroke and was put to sleep 7 months after we adopted her. We gave her a great 7 months of love. The strange thing or good thing was that because of the Happy Drink her passing was a little bit easier to handle although my wife was really attached to her, she is very much missed.
Along my journey of loss and my time of study I found that all of us including animals need some type of support also. While my research found happy hormones for me, I needed something that would help Charli with her depression, oh yes, she was depressed from losing her two best friends also. Our eldest fur baby, Charli was and is still with us, I call her my iron dog as she has outlived Autumn by 3 years, she is now 15 years young. We started to notice that she was struggling with her loss and at her age was getting tiered when walking for long periods of time, she was not playing and jumping or climbing stairs the way she used too so we decided to try a form of CBD that is designed for dogs and cats. She now gets one bacon flavored CBD treat daily and let me tell you, what a difference that has made. She now jumps around and plays; she climbs stairs and takes walks again almost like the puppy we once had.
To sum all of this up, we, you and I, all of us, whether or not we have a loss close to us, we all have stress in our lives that cause our bodies system to go haywire and without maintaining our daily D.O.S.E of happy hormones or some type of natural cortisol lowering anti-inflammatory we will show signs of depression, anxieties, not eating properly with sleepless nights and not enough energy left to make it through the day, much less exercise.
If you would like to learn more about the Happy Drink look here and should your beloved pet need some help with depression or joint stiffness look here.
Thank you for reading my story and please visit my Grief Relief Support Group.
I am Brady Theodore The "Gotti"
At 60 PLUS (and crushing it) myself like many are on the back side of mid life. We have gotten here by way of learning life's lessons the hard way without giving much thought to how or when the journey will end. Never really preparing ourselves for what comes next as we passed what some people may think is the "Prime of Life". I believe in my heart and soul that my life is just beginning... My claim to fame is: I am here, healthy and wise living and loving each day to the fullest while helping others to become financially stable with enough residual income by way of personal branding to continue to do what makes me happy.