by Debra J. Bilton


by Debra J. Bilton


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It was a difficult year. Her doctor diagnosed her with dementia caregiver burnout, while she was also experiencing workplace stress. And Toby, an elderly dog with colitis, became lame and then was dying. He died alone with her in her room.

Debra lost two beloved canine companions in less than six years. Farley was the first and Toby was the second. The way she grieved the death of each one was so different, and she needed to understand why. She immersed herself in researching pet loss, death and dying, and grief and the bereavement process. She gave herself two years to complete her research and then write a book about what she had learned.

Then, she unexpectedly won a book publishing package with the publisher she had originally intended to use. Being an early riser, she was the first person who correctly answered a trivia question. The catch? She had to submit a manuscript within a month to claim the prize. The problem? She didn't have a manuscript, and she had never written a book before.

It would be a daunting task. Her first thought was, "There is no way I can do this." Her second thought was, "What have I got to lose?" The worst-case scenario was she wouldn't complete a manuscript and submit it by the deadline.

With her original book idea a year off from completion, she put it on the back burner and started a new book. She was up for the challenge and ready to do this. She hit the ground running at a snail's pace. She was still dealing with some cognitive deficits, caused by prolonged stress that affected her brain functioning.

For the first two weeks, she wrote nothing of use. This was not because of a lack of trying. She couldn't pull things together in her mind. There was no outline, and her thoughts and ideas were fragmented. And then two weeks into writing, early on a Friday evening, her creative brain kicked in.

The memories of her relationship with each dog, and the experiences they shared flooded her mind. Her pen couldn't write fast enough to record her thoughts and feelings. She wrote about what each dog had taught her through the different stages of their lives, and how she learned to read their behavior and body language.

She wrote of their lives and their deaths, and how she grieved each. She applied the new knowledge and understanding she gained from her research to her own experiences. She learned there were different griefs she had experienced with the loss of each pet. In this book, she also shares some things she found that helped her to move through the grieving process.

This is Debra’s first published book. It is short, parsimonious, and jam-packed with as much detail as she could muster in two weeks. It’s the book she never intended to write, and the one she was meant to write.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781647181406
Publisher:, Inc.
Publication date: 12/25/2019
Pages: 84
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.17(d)

About the Author

Debra Bilton has had pets in her life since childhood. Each one has taught her something about herself and the mysteries of life and death. She has degrees in psychology and education and looks at the world through the eyes of a martial artist and a Buddhist.

Table of Contents



The One

Farley and the Fear

More Steep Learning Curves

The Gazelle

The Red Rocket

Bunnies and a Soft Mouth

Dogs and Energy

Birds, Too

Farley and Toby

Becoming a Towny Dog


And Then There Were Two


Unknown Origins

Taming of the Wild Thing

Camping: Good For One, Not the Other

Crate and Rotate

Mama Bear


The Ravages of Time

Do You See What You See?

Some Things Get Harder With Age

Bucket List

An Unexpected Ending


An Old Dog New in My Life

The Dog Next Door

The Plan

Car Rides and Walks!


The Wonder of Gas Stations?

Familiar But New

Health Problems

Prey Drive

A Change in Sleeping Arrangements

Degenerative Myelopathy

Harmony With Another Dog

A Natural Death

Nothing Left to Give

Yes or No?

Home Again

Give Him the Best

Go Pee

Turning and a Turn


Two Dogs, More Than One Grief

The Different Types of Grief I Experienced

Disenfranchised Grief

Complicated Grief

Anniversary Grief

Anticipatory Grief

Normal Grief

Factors and Circumstances That Affected My Grief


Emotional Investment

Unexpected Versus Gradual Death

The Veterinarian

Euthanasia Verses a Natural Death

Veterinary Support

Experience With Grieving

Private Versus Public Grief

Things That Helped Me While Grieving

Talking About it With Others

Journaling or Writing

Spirit Walks


Connecting With Your Spirit or Spirituality

The Surge of Yang Energy


Perfect Storm

The Animals


About the Author

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