A year ago today, the worst experience of my life started where we began to lose our Mikey to AIHA. It feels like yesterday, and an eon ago all at the same time. I can remember each moment of those three days of his illness and then passing like a video, and I’m not sure how I’d manage to repeat that experience if I had to despite learning a lot from the experience. The disease he had is terrifically horrible, what it puts the pup and the humans through.

But I am here to post that, as hard as it may seem if this wound is fresh to you, life does march on. We adopted Tigger about a week later, so she has been with us for nearly a year. I still do not know if it was the right thing to do, adopting again so soon, but it happened sort of by chance we found what seemed like the perfect match and we went for it. After going through AIHA I was the most paranoid and rollercoaster dog-parent around, of an already paranoid and panicky dog, but we plowed through life together and today both of us are in a better spot. She wags her tail a lot, is buddies with our cat, loves food and jogs, and even woofs from time to time. And oh yeah, I don’t check her gums every day anymore – maybe once per week :)

It’s true after losing a dog you count the weeks, then the months. At a certain point this year, life got in the way. I went to India for a month, quit my job, started a new job, searched for a house, found a house, had 8 colds in 7 months, ran a conference type event while going through with a house purchase, have Google announce they want to acquire the company I work for, and moved. And is plainly evident here, haven’t blogged. Being busy and usually sick dulls pain, and at a certain point the monthly “anniversaries” of remembering that horrible day faded away. I suppose now I count the years.

And another thing happens… I began to remember the happy parts of loving Mikey more than the sad ones of losing him. For example, you smile when you see dogs that remind you of him, and you stop comparing your new dog to the one you lost. You start to see her as more of an individual, and you realize that just maybe your bond might be as strong as the bond you lost (although I don’t think you ever really lose that bond). And you become ridiculously firm about some things you know true – such as adopting dogs like Mikey, helping the less fortunate dogs, avoiding chemicals and taking unnecessary risks regarding health, and admiring those who are devoted to the cause way more than I can be time-wise.

Today my husband did our final walk through of the house we shared with Mikey, due to moving to this new place. One year ago today Mikey began his fight with AIHA, one year ago tonight we rushed him to the emergency vet, and he left that place forever too. One year. This past year has been a rollercoaster of a few highs and a terrific number of mistakes and lows. But I wouldn’t trade it for a life of boredom, that I know for sure.

About Author

Jen deHaan is graphic designer, small business owner, and dog person living in Bay Area, California. Jen enjoys learning about dog training and behavior, and has taken several courses and seminars since 2010. She also contributes articles to leading websites, such as Victoria Stilwell's Positively . It all started with a great dog called Mikey (aka "dude"), loved and lost but remembered forever. Jen also runs a freelance business focusing on graphic, web, and UI design at FoundPixel, and a small business creating hand crafted dog products at Stylish Canine.

  • mary anne

    my dear friend’s dog, a spaniel has been diagnosed with autoimmune hemolytic anemia…..Dick is with stage four pancreatic cancer……could you write a line to them ……i know they would appreciate hearing from someone who has gone through this……i am totally devastated for them……..their names are Dick (with cancer) and his wife Rhonda……their e-mail is dbutson1@msn.com They are the most wonderful people…..my heart is breaking for them…….thank you

  • Jen

    Hi Mary anne,

    You are a truly wonderful friend. I have sent Dick and Rhonda a message and copied you on it. I have them in my thoughts – life can be so unfair :(

  • sherri lynn

    My dog Buddy is a 2 and a half year old chihuahua, and was diagnosed with immune mediated anemia. I live in a small town and they don’t have 24 hour care, I am bringing him to ottawa where they have better care for cases like this.
    I am so scared. I hope the treatment works and he can recover from this, he is so important to me and my family.

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