He worries about his life after his dog dies

Posted: June 26, 2013

D EAR ABBY: I am a childless man, but I have owned my dog for 12 years. I work from home and we are together constantly. Honestly, Abby, he is the joy of my life.

My problem is I live in constant fear of losing him. I know it will break my heart, and I'm not sure I can deal with it. I can't sleep for thinking about the day when he will no longer be with me.

I know he's "just a dog," but he has been my kid for all this time. Do you have any advice for me?

- Afraid of the Loss

DEAR AFRAID: I understand your feelings. I doubt there is any pet owner who hasn't had one special departed pet who lives on forever in his or her heart.

My advice to you is to not spoil one more precious second you have with your dog by worrying about what will eventually happen. You knew going in that your dog would have a certain life span. That's the "deal" we make when we become animal guardians.

When the time comes, talk with your veterinarian about support groups in which you can share your feelings. You'll find that you are one of many.

DEAR ABBY: When I was 11, I lived with my dad and stepmom. My 14-year-old brother lived with our grandparents in another town, but they would visit every couple of months.

After one visit, as they were leaving, my grandmother said, "Come here and give your brother a kiss and tell him you love him." My brother and I looked at each other and, in typical kid fashion, said, "YUCK!!"

Abby, I never saw my brother again. He died the next week from a congenital brain aneurysm.

It taught me a lesson. The words we say to our loved ones should be sweet, because they may be the last words from us they will ever hear. My brother died 55 years ago and I miss him still.

- Still Missing Him

DEAR STILL MISSING HIM: Please accept my sympathy for your loss. The life lesson you learned from your brother's untimely death was an important one. I am sorry it is one you had to learn at such a tender age.

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