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He's Slipping Away: Deep Sadness as I Watch my Beloved Dog's Health Slip Away


Tears run down my face as I write this message to you, knowing this message is just one of many to come. I'm experiencing anticipatory grief for my beloved pet.


I've wanted to write to you for some time now, but the thought of sitting down and verbalizing what's been going on in my head and heart made me petrified. I use the word petrified because somehow, saying out loud what's roaming around in my head feels like it might come true.


I bet you can relate if you're in a place like I am—taking care of a beloved senior pet and watching their health decline. I find myself wondering how the ending will turn out—will it be unexpected and traumatic for both Spencer (the love of my life pictured below) and me, or predictable and peaceful?


Rachel Shirleys Beloved Dog Spencer

(Spencer is enjoying one of his favorite spots in our house.)


Anticipatory Grief & Gratitude


As I contemplate the ending of my sweet boy's days here on earth, as so many of us do, I also have this burning desire in my heart to be fully present with him and enjoy every sweet and tender moment I can.


I find balancing my emotions to be a healthy way for me to grieve with grace as I wait for the day God takes Spencer to his new home in heaven. This is an intentional motive of mine...to let Spencer see/feel my deep sadness alongside my immense gratitude filled with joy, love, and appreciation.

Permission to Feel

Giving ourselves breathing room with our hearts overflowing with self-compassion, acceptance, love, and grace for what we are going through, knowing our loved one is going to die sooner than later, will invite moments of being fully present for the last days. This is important. It's important because we only get one shot at this...and we don't want to have any regrets.

If you are experiencing anticipatory grief as you watch your sweet one slip away like I am, please know you are not alone on this journey. Give yourself permission to feel whatever you need as you navigate the unknown and uncertainty.


My friend, keep your heart overflowing with gratitude as you bravely embrace the road ahead. It's worth it, and you can do it. And remember, we will get through this one day at a time with perseverance, grace, and grit.


From my grieving heart to yours,


Rachel xoxo

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