Why Am I Still Coping with the Loss of My Dog Months Later?

I miss my dog. I really really really miss my dog. 

I have to get this off my chest— no one has asked, but I miss my dog more than anything this semester. For the last few months, I’ve been questioning myself…is it okay to still feel so sad over my dog’s death? I’ve decided it most definitely is. He was my best friend, and despite how it has been a few months, it still feels like just yesterday when I said goodbye. 

Source: Delanie Fico

My baby boy’s name was Monte, and he was a springer-doodle-golden-doodle mix. My dad researched dog type after dog type, searching for extremely hypoallergenic breeds since he and my brother are both highly allergic to dogs. He was also looking for a dog type that was extremely easy to train— there were three young kids in the house at the time, and my mom was never the biggest fan of dogs. But when my dad told us we were getting a dog, the excitement ensued for weeks! 

We took a family trip up to Niagara Falls to pick up Monte. At the time, we had no idea which dog we were going to choose since there was a total of about a dozen. Monte was off to the side, chilling outside of the gated area, just calmly moseying around the grass, minding his own business. My dad knew instantly that that was the dog for us. My two younger brothers and I were ECSTATIC to be bringing a dog home. The ride home was so much fun. 

Source: Delanie Fico

He was a big puppy, but still, a puppy, and training him was honestly a breeze. He listened so well and learned extremely quickly. He doubled in size in what felt like a few days and became a cute ball of fluffy energy who loved to nap. Monte grew up to be a dog who loved the outdoors but also valued his naptime. When I went away to school, it was pretty hard to say, “See ya later!”

The first time I went home freshman year, I was thrilled to hug Monte. He was always the most excited one to see me back on Long Island. During the summers, he was always there to lay around with me when everyone else was busy. 

My brothers loved him. Monte slept in their room every night and hung around them as they played countless hours of video games. When they were outside playing hockey, Monte was too. 

Source: Delanie Fico

This past summer, Monte started to act differently, and when I got home from school we decided to take a trip to the vet. After about a month of vet visits, we found out that Monte’s liver was failing. We tried to put him on medication, but after the first week, we realized it was just making him feel worse. 

That week was the worst week of the summer.

It hurt to see him laying around the house not really wanting to move. It was sad trying to get him to take his pills. And it was exceptionally sad to see how it started to affect everyone else. 

When we decided to put him down, we each said our goodbyes and went to our own rooms. 

The end of the summer was fine— it seemed like everyone kind of forgot about it and no one really thought it affected us much. It was a weird time. There were a few “I’m so sorry” sentiments and a few hugs, but we rolled them off our shoulders. I didn’t really know what to say. Monte was my first pet and I played it off like everything was fine. 

Source: Delanie Fico

The truth of the matter is, it really sucked. And it still does. 

It felt like right after everything happened, every person I ever knew got a new puppy, or was posting pictures of their dogs. I would see new dogs around the neighborhood every day. It really sucked. I can’t really find another word to express the feeling of losing Monte. 

The worst part of it all was that little things started to change. When my brothers dropped food on the floor, Monte wasn’t there waiting for it. If I was coming home late, Monte wasn’t there to greet me at the door. The house got way too quiet at night without his footsteps up and down the stairs looking for the best spot to sleep in. It was oddly quiet throughout the day, there was no longer a reason to keep the back door open so he could get out. Just like that, there wasn’t a furry friend to watch TV with at all hours of the day. 

Leaving for school this year I was so excited to come back to Boston. I was ready to see my friends and move into a new room. Before I left I went to say bye to Monte and realized that he wasn’t there. It was really sad getting into the car and realizing that when I came home for the past Thanksgiving, the first thing I saw was a happy dog who would jump up to greet me. 

No one’s really asked me about Monte since we had to put him down and I don’t mind that, but I’m not sure I ever fully got over it. I pretended it was fine right after and no one questioned me, but Monte is always in the back of my mind, and I’m not quite sure how to deal with it. 

Source: Delanie Fico

It’s weird to think that Monte won’t be there when I get home for Thanksgiving, but I’m glad we were able to give Monte a happy life where he was loved by everyone. At the end of the day, I knew putting Monte down peacefully was the best case scenario. That week of the summer was an emotional rollercoaster that I’m not sure I ever coped with, but I’m working through now.  

Losing a pet is never easy, and I wish I could say there’s a magic way to get over it, but there isn’t. I miss my pup more than anything, but when I look back at all the memories, I’m so thankful that I had eight amazing years with the best dog in the whole world. Love you, Monte. 

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