Today Betsy talks about losing her dog Miley and the grief that she is processing.
Welcome to The Art of Living big. I’m your host, Betsy Pake.
I’m an author, speaker, a master hypnotherapist and NLP coach. And I help high achievers rewire for success. If you’re ready for the next level, you’re in the right place. Over the next 30 minutes, I hope to help you redefine what could be possible for your life. Now, let’s go live big. Hello, welcome fellow adventurers. Welcome to today’s show. So all right, so I want to I’m going to talk today about something you’re going to think like, Oh, God, especially if you’ve been following me on Instagram, you’re going to be like, Oh, my God, this is what the episode is about, of course, this is what the episode is about. But I promise you, this won’t be depressing. I just have things to say. Because I think that there’s I think there’s a lot to say, Alright, so let me explain. Um, the last couple weeks have been really hard, like, probably the hardest that I’ve had in a while. And hard, like, emotionally, like, I’ve had some things that were hard, like, moving was hard, but it was more like, more like, structurally hard, not emotionally hard, if that makes sense. So the last two weeks have been emotionally hard. I was sick for a full week. And that was just really a lot of unknowns, I had to go get a COVID test. And when they got medicine, and you know, in the middle of all that, then my dog started getting sick, which is what I want to talk about today. And I’ve got a flat tire a nail in my tummy. And like, you know what I’m saying like a lot of challenges that were like, overlapping. And what I was already dealing with was making these new things harder. And so I want to talk about how my dog died. I know, it doesn’t seem like the most fun episode ever. But I think there is something to learn here. And also. Suffering is what I have found, especially over the last week is so universal, and I think suffering with pets, and there is a sort of, like, I’m only supposed to suffer for a certain amount of time. And then I need to get over it kind of feeling. But I’m getting a little ahead of myself. So let me kind of back up. So last weekend, you know my dog, I have two dogs. I have Miley, who’s my little dog. I’ve had her, I think about 13 years. I’ve had her 13 about 13 years. And she’s my little dog. I’ve had her for a long time. She sleeps in my bed. She has epilepsy. So she’s on medicine three times a week. And there’s just a lot of like, maintenance with her a lot to like think about and we do everything together. I have worked from home like the whole time I’ve had her basically and so we’re together all the time. Now, my husband has a dog named Henry. And you might be thinking like isn’t, aren’t they both family dogs like you have dogs. And I know that this sounds strange, but Miley’s my dog and Henry’s his dog. My husband and I sleep differently. He snores. And so we sleep in separate rooms. So our dogs sleep in separate rooms. So it makes it even more separate. If I bring Miley out to go to the potty, I bring Henry. And my husband brings smiley when he brings Henry. But I will bring him on walks together and things like that. And they play together and they’re together all the time. But there’s just something different. You know, even during the day, Miley would be in with me in my office and Henry would be in a different room. So so my way is Ben, my dog. And I had her before I even met Craig. My husband, Craig. So anyway, about a week ago. She just started acting really funny really like they came home from the park. And she was sort of shaky, like weirdly shaky and I thought maybe she was having a seizure because she does have epilepsy, but it wasn’t that and then after that, she wouldn’t really walk her back legs were like crossing. And but then within a few hours, she was better and walking around and like happy and eating and everything. So, you know, I sort of dismissed it in terms of like, well, who knows what was going on? You know, she was having like a little seizure maybe and now she’s better. And she’s had things off and on. You know, last summer she had, what, four E’s I will say is like pancreatitis, so she’s on prescription dog food. Do you know what I mean? So there’s like a lot of things with her. So when she started getting better, I just was happy.
But then by Tuesday, by Monday afternoon, probably and then really bad Tuesday, she was burning up like she was laying on the bed. But she was hot, hot, like radiating heat. And I felt like she has a fever. And she was still acting weird and didn’t really want to walk. She could walk, but she didn’t really want to like you could just tell she didn’t feel good. And you know, I had been sick the whole week before. So I was kind of like, I get it, like when you just don’t feel good, you know. So I brought her to the emergency vet. Now the emergency vet ended up being like a whole ordeal. It was Tuesday, it took me like all day, if you have heard me talk about my alchemy collective my membership. I went live in the membership and was like, Oh, my God, this was my day. And kind of explained what I did that day to like, get myself together, I had to drive her to an emergency vet, which because we had moved, it wasn’t one I had ever been to before. And it was packed and everybody was out in the parking lot. You know, and they would assign the, they would assign you a spot and you would wait and they would come out and take your dog and then you would just wait. And it was hot hot that day. And I have a little car, a little convertible. And so it’s built for the air conditioner to work with air flowing through it. It doesn’t work like a regular car air conditioner. It needs you to be moving. So after about 15 minutes, I mean, it was getting hot. I had sort of run out of the house with Miley when she was so hot. And I was worried. And so I ran out of the house. So I had a sweatshirt on. I mean, I was dying. And it was sort of that thing where everything that could go wrong did go wrong. I was sitting there in the spot, and I could hear my tire losing air. And I was like, how am I going to get home, I’ve got this dog that who knows what’s going on. I’m so hot, I’ve got to be moving to get the airflow. Anyway, all of that they ended up coming out and letting me know that she had maybe like a bulging disc in her back or thrown her back out. And so they gave me steroids and painkillers. But within a day or so it wasn’t doing anything. And she just seemed like she was getting worse. And so on Thursday, I brought her to the vet. By this point. She’s like, limp, she’s, I mean, she won’t walk, I’m carrying her up and down the stairs to go potty. She just lays on my chest and sleeps. And I just had this feeling you know, you know when you know, like it’s time. And so. And so I brought her over to the vet. And you know, cuz COVID they met me outside and I had to sit on a bench and talk to them. And they looked at her and I could just tell. I could just tell they knew to you know, and they said, What, What are you here for? And I explained that I had originally made the appointment because I wanted them to look at her just to get to know her because we had just moved to the area, right. And she was on all this medication for her epilepsy. But now, I needed their help navigating this, I needed to know what was really happening. And so they took her and I came back to my apartment, I just walked right back to my apartment and waited. And they called and said her bloodwork was really high like everything was screwy. And that maybe she had something going on internally and that the medicine they had given her at the emergency vet should have done something if it was anything else, you know. So they said they were going to do it up X ray, but that the X ray probably wouldn’t show anything. And they would need to do a sonogram the following week. But they would do it if I wanted. So I said we’ll go ahead and do it. And they call back like immediately. And they said she’s just full of cancer. It’s all over her liver. We could see it on the X ray. So what I want to talk about in this episode is like grief for your pets. But also we want to kind of share with you how I have been grieving. Because I think it’s so universal. And I think we don’t really talk about it, you know? So when they call them they said this, they said we can we get admitted to the hospital, put her on IV. She might die Well, she’s all alone here at the hospital. Or I can give her some medicine. You can bring her home for the night and then bring her back tomorrow. And we can put her down tomorrow or if you’re ready. We can do it now. Now I knew immediately that I was not going to let her die alone in the hospital and I wasn’t going to make her suffer just so I could have another night with her you know? So we knew immediately but I was like can I call you right back They were so kind.
And I hung up the phone. And I made a sound, I don’t even know how to describe the sound it was, I was so thankful, first of all that I was alone, you know, I was thankful I was alone, and I let whatever was inside just come out, you know, it was like, like guttural pain sound. And I just let it come out, I thought, like, the neighbors are gonna call the police, because they’re gonna think something weird is happening. But I just didn’t care. I just I was like, I am not going to get this trapped in my body. And I share that with you. Because I think that’s so important. emotion is emotion. It’s a chemical reaction in our body, we can feel it, right? It’s why we get teary and why we, you know, can we feel that heaviness in our body? And I know that if I I can move through this quicker if I acknowledge it, and I let it come out, instead of thinking or saying to myself, like it’s it’s a dog, Betsy, right? And if you’ve had a pet, you’re like, Oh, my God, no, it’s a family member. Also, if you haven’t had a pet before, or even if you have, you might be like, but there’s a temperament to it there. It’s different than a person, right? I have to tell you that I have suffered grief from lots of people, my mother, my grandmother, passing friends, people I knew co workers bosses. And it feels very similar these first few days, it feels very similar to that. So after I wailed I called them back and I said, I’ll be right over. And on the way there. It was, like I was, um, it’s like when you’re walking, but you’re like, out of your body. Like, you’re just like, I know, I’m moving forward, but I don’t know. Like, I’m not in it. You know what I mean? And I was breathing out, kept trying to breathe. You know, like, forcefully breathing. I’m sure. Everybody was outside, like on the patios eating lunch and stuff. And I’m like, Oh, I’m just breathing out loud. Really, weirdly, I didn’t care. Because I was like, I am not going to be crying like that. When I’m there with her. I promised her a long time ago, when she first started getting sick that I would be there. You know, I wouldn’t be there at the end.
Then I would,
I would be what she needed, you know, because she’s been there for me, and I was gonna be there for her. So I mean, I was like, practicing my breathing. You’re like, I’m gonna be so strong. I’m gonna do it. And I did. And I went in and I held her, they let me I mean, they would let me hold her for an hour if I wanted, but I didn’t want too long. It was almost like when you’re standing on like the ledge of a building, and you’re like, I know, I’m gonna fall. So I just want to jump, you know, but probably like five to seven minutes. I just held her and cuddled her. I gave her a little treat, she ate it up. Like, which I was kind of surprised because she hadn’t really eaten. And when I say ate it up, not like a normal dog, but like a very sick dog. You know, she seemed to know I was there. Although I don’t know that she could really see if that makes sense. She was so out of it. But I felt like she could smell me and feel me. And then when the doctor came in, I asked, Can I want to keep holding her like, I didn’t want to just lay her down on the table. And so they let me they were so nice. Um, you know, they let me take my mask off and kiss her so I can feel her on my face.
you know, then she was snoring. And then she was gone. It was sort of like a surreal experience. And I just was ready. Later down. It was just so weird, because it was weird because she was still warm. Like, it was like my brain was trying to process like, she was still warm. She was still like Miley shaped. You know what I mean? But like, Where is she? And so it led me into this whole thought of like, I have really distinct ideas about where we go as people when we die and how we’re spirits and how we are energy and so energy doesn’t die and I feel that about her. Um, and so it I’ve done a lot of thinking over the last few days about where she is, and about love and pain and moving through really hard things and obtaining lessons from them. It’s hard things, and about grief. And if you’re doing it right, right, or if you’re doing it too much, or if you’re allowing yourself pain, or if you’re avoiding pain, you know, if you’re talking about it too much, I know that I have been posting it pretty freely on my Instagram. I’m recording this on Sunday. So she died on a Thursday, and I lost followers like zonkers numbers of followers. I don’t, I don’t care. But I noticed that because death and suffering in pain, it makes people uncomfortable. And you may have even felt this, like when I was talking about the story, right? Like, it’s just as uncomfortable. One of the really great things that has happened, a couple of great things I want to share in case you know, somebody that’s going through this, or if you are going through this, or you’re about to go through this, you know, it’s coming. So one really great thing is my daughter, I facetimed her like 13 times that first day. And she didn’t try and fix anything. She just listened to me. I told her I’m going to I’m not going to cover my face, I’m going to have the ugly cry. It was important for me, to have someone witness me.
It was important
to not try and cover it up, or not like pretend I was okay, or just talk on the phone because I was alone, making that decision when the vet called. I was like, How am I supposed to do this all by myself. But in the end, it was fitting because it was always her and me. So one of the great things that all it did was she just witnessed me, she just said I’m sorry, Mama. And so I want to share that, because that’s all like doing that for somebody is that it’s everything, I didn’t need her, there was no fixing it, she wasn’t gonna make me better, I needed to work through that on my own. And part of working through that was just having somebody witnessed my pain. And to say they were sorry, you know, to be to be connected in our suffering.
You know, a couple of weeks ago, I had all of en, and we did an episode on on her and her anxiety and depression and mental health. And, you know, in that I kind of went through, I didn’t realize how much it was like bringing up stuff for me until after. And I have wondered if that’s why I got sick a couple weeks ago too. But it reminded me of during that time, I had a friend at the time. And when everything went, it was the it was the day that all of got put in the hospital. And my friend said, I’m not going to say I’m sorry, this is happening to you because I know it’s going to lead to something better. And I needed compassion, right? I needed to have somebody witness me and say you’re suffering and I see you in your suffering. And so, you know, bringing it forward to right now. You know, I was suffering and all I could see that I was suffering. And I think that it’s so important. It doesn’t mean like it was going to something better when I’ve got put in a hospital it did lead to something better, you know, mildly dying, it led to the end of her suffering is leading to openings for me to have new things places I can travel and things I can do becomes easier because I don’t have a dog where I have to give meditate medication two, three times a week like there is an end end and beginning to everything and that’s good. But having somebody have compassion and you share in that. Just witnessing it is so so important in the process of healing and recovering and moving on to what’s next to that
You know, I posted on Facebook about it. And every time somebody posts about their dog or cat or losing a pet, I always comment because I could like no, because I have loved Miley so much. I knew that when that time comes for me, I always would say to all of you, I’m going to be a mess. Like it’s gonna be a train wreck. Like be ready. You know, put your seatbelt on for when that happens. But when I posted on Facebook, and people that came forward and acknowledged it and shared I I get it. I lost my dog. I lost my cat. Like I get it. Betsy, this is the worst. Oh, this is so hard.
the sharing in the suffering right? So that you don’t feel so alone. You’re like, oh, what I’m going through is really normal. A lot of people feel it. I mean, I think I had like I don’t know 100 and 70 people comment that they all get it. Like it was so helpful. It almost was weird to me how much lighter it made me feel. And so I think in this experience that we’re having this physical reality, feeling that connection where other people understand there is compassion for what you’re going through, like nobody said it’s going to, well, some people said, it’s going to get better. And that felt good. I mean, they were like, it really will get feel better. But nobody said like, there’s good things about this. Like nobody said that, right? Because that’s not what I needed. I just needed somebody to witness where I was, you know? So, in all of this grief and weirdness, I think I’ve, I’ve just come to a place where I’m, I’m just maybe finally today feeling like maybe there’s a little bit of moments of relief, you know, I have mornings and evenings are really, really hard, because I think that’s when I would get all her medicine ready and bring her out, like there was a lot to do with her. And then at night, we cuddle the lot, I didn’t realize how much I reached out for her and the middle of the night, you know. And now when I reach out, it wakes me up, and then I cry. And so, this morning, when I got up, and I went to tell Alexa, good morning, because that’s what I do in the morning. And it turns on all my lights and everything. Usually, I would like put my hand on her. So she would know, she didn’t have to get up yet. And it was sort of freeing to not have to do that. And I realized I could have a totally different routine in the morning. Like I could create something really cool and good for me Who do I want to be, you know, my identity has been this mom, dog mom. And as silly as that sounds, because I think also because she was on so much medication and prescription food and all of that stuff. It was took a lot of extra time and always thinking about it, you know, always thinking about her. And now that opens up, right? It’s different. I texted out to my text community, if you’re on my text list, you got you got this, if if you’re not and you want to be, you can just text me at 770-343-3409. And what I said was I said this week, my dog died. And I’ve been really struggling. And so I asked and my deep streaming, and this is what I heard, when you think it might swallow you up, diving deeper. It’s there that you find the depths of your love, your capacity to feel and the strength to move through it. It is in the depths
you heal and you rise, and you’ll become changed by this experience. So that you may open up and love fully once again. And I and there was more it’s on my Instagram if you want to read the whole streaming.
But I have
to allow myself this time to grieve, whether it’s a week or a month or often on for a year or whatever it is, so that I can get it all out so that I can process it so that you know, next time I experienced grief, I’m not pulling this experience into that. Does that make sense? So if I don’t heal it, it pulls forward to the next event. One of the things that we do with my coaching clients and in in in my group is in my membership we have a monthly in my in my membership, the alchemy collective, we have a monthly NLP session. And I do time techniques, which is where we go back and release emotion from the past, then you’re just left with the wisdom right of the moment. And, um, and so I want to make sure I’m releasing the grief that I’m getting it all out that I’m crying and wailing when I need to and being okay when I need to like laughing when I need to. I know this sounds silly. Maybe because it’s a dog. That’s my own programming because I feel like I have to say that. But like the first time I started laughing I felt a little bad. But that doesn’t mean my love is any different. It means that, like I have this great capacity to heal. It means there’s lots of other good things in my life, you know, and it means that I really, really loved her because I know things that I really love. I don’t want to suffer.
I’m trying to just really, really feel it, as you can tell by my voice. So I don’t think there’s any right way to do grief. Even with pets. I think that it’s really allowing yourself to feel the pain and getting into it. I think it’s finding people that you can really trust that will just listen to you and not put a parameter on it, you know, not say, Well, this is the best. I can do none of that. Just listen and say, I’m sorry. I’m sorry. You’re struggling. Like I see you. You know, I was mentioning too that Milo was on a lot of medication. And prescription food chain was on these, like cans of food that were like seven bucks at can. It was insane. But I found them cheaper on chewy. This is not an ad for chewy. But I’ve been getting all her medication from chewy and getting the cans of food from chewy because they’re cheaper there. And they ship them to you. And it’s super easy. And and they just auto ship, right. So all her stuff was being auto shipped. So before she died, I had ordered the food. And it’s like 100 bucks for a case of it. And I almost knew I shouldn’t. I ordered it like on Wednesday, right? So I hadn’t brought her to the vet on Thursday yet. I almost knew I shouldn’t. But I did because I knew I shouldn’t. But I did it because I didn’t want to believe what I knew. And so then it hadn’t even arrived and she was gone. So she died on a Thursday on Friday, I reached out to chewy, like I had to had to delete her profiles. I wish they let you put in a died date. And like a little commemorative thing. It felt bad having to delete her profile, but I wanted to delete all the autoships and her medication and all that. And I messaged them and said, You know, I ordered her food and then she died the next day, is there a way I can return it? Because I’m gonna have like all these, I just won’t be able to use it, you know? So, immediately, their immediate response back was we just refunded your money. Like, that was your immediate response back we refunded your money on your Amex, and when you feel better donate the food. I mean, like how is that amazing, right? Like it? It’s, it’s silly, but it was like such a relief because those last two days of doctor bills and you know, x rays and bloodwork and emergency vets and, and then, you know, I had her cremated and I’m getting the ashes and you have to pay for the but like it was a lot. You know, that’s what I mean. It’s worth it all. I mean, I’m not complaining about that. But it was an expense and then to have like another $100 of something I didn’t need. So it was just so kind. And then within a couple days, I got a bouquet of flowers from them at my house. Can you imagine? Like it was so kind and I think it’s the kindness of people acknowledging that this is profound. You know that it’s not just a pet, that it’s a family member, and it’s profound. And so I’m so just so grateful. I wanted to share that I have another dog, you’ve probably seen me talk about both my dogs. So Miley and Henry. And a lot of people have asked about Henry and like, I want to just say like I love Henry by Henry is my husband’s dog. He sleeps in my husband’s room. He sat outside with me today, but the moment he heard my husband and he got up and went running like it’s his dog, you know? And so it’s different. And Henry’s awesome. He’s a sweet dog. He is a nice, nice dog and but he has everything that’s written on the side of the tin. You know, Miley was soulful and more than a dog. She was just different. Henry’s great. I’m not saying that. But it’s it is a different kind of experience.
And, you know, I
have thought last couple days could Henry be that? Like, maybe it’s because I communicated so much with Miley like, maybe it’s because we were so connected and so together. I don’t know, I don’t know if she was given to me in that special way or became that way. But regardless, it’s my husband’s dog. So it just feels different. You know, I have been trying to give him an extra love thinking that could soothe me a little bit. But he said like, he’s not super interested. You know, he’s like, cool with me, but he’s like, you know, whatever. So, um, Monday, tomorrow, I gotta get back to work. You know, I’ve been sick, and then I was dealing with this. And I got to get back at it. You know, one thing I realized this week was this past week was TEDx here in Atlanta. And I don’t know, I think I mentioned it on the show. I know I mentioned it on my Insta GRAEME, but I hadn’t. I had applied for TEDx this year,
I’ve applied a couple times.
And I didn’t get picked. And I was sad. But I said, even at the time, I know the universe is always supporting me. I know everything’s working out in my favor. I really believe that even though we can’t see it at the time, sometimes it takes months or years for us to see it. But if I had gotten chosen,
the whole week,
where I was at emergency vets with Miley and I was laying with Miley and I was holding her and our last hours, and I was with her at the vet while she died, I wouldn’t have been able to be there. And I would have had to do a TED talk less than 24 hours after she passed. And that would not have been what was best for me. So sometimes, when things don’t go the way we want, we have to just trust that there is some greater plan and then keep moving forward towards something else. This week, I’m getting back at it. Get to get back at work. I am drained. And I’m drained. I think I’m tired too, because I’m not sleeping well. And so I’m going to take extra time. You know, what, where do I need? You know, Babs? No, my husband has bet like emptied the dishwasher, like got dinner, like did more than his fair share around the house. He does his half or more, but just did extra, you know, so that I didn’t have to. And I’m just gonna soak that up. I think some time our reaction is like, No, no, I got it. But I’m just soaking that up and taking what I need so that I can move through it. And I can be okay. And I know that with every ending, there’s some new beginning that’s coming, something new, some new opportunity, easier to travel and even to move. So April has been a challenge so far. And I don’t know if it has been for you, but I feel really positive. I feel like I’ve moved through a lot of things in the last couple of weeks and I’ve been present. I have been in it and I haven’t deflected a stick to my workouts that stuck to my eating clean. You know, like just trying to be healthy. Like I have done the things I have not defaulted to online shopping or drinking or any of those things that we do just to numb out for a little bit I’ve really been present and stayed in my emotions so that I can feel them all without fear and move through them. So thank you for listening and witnessing me today. I think being present even during the hard things, I think that’s how you live a big life. I’ll see you guys next week. Thank you so much for being here and for listening to today’s episode. If you liked it and got something out of it please be sure to share with me by leaving a review over on iTunes. And if you’re not following on social media, I am everywhere at Betsy Pake but most of the time over on Instagram, so follow and comment on my latest post so that we can connect there. I will see you next week. And until then, keep living big