First, I'm sorry. I am sorry that you have had to face one of the most painful losses that someone could experience. I am sorry for the empty feeling and the uncontrollable wave of emotions that you faced when you heard the news. There is absolutely no way to sugar-coat it, it takes time before anything can really feel normal again, and it's not an easy process. A dog is more than just a pet, a dog is a member of the family. Growing up with a dog by your side is a wonderful thing; it's like having a best friend with four legs instead of two. A dog is always happy to see you, and can always make you feel appreciated when you're feeling low. A dog fills in those little gaps in the heart, and completes every picture. Going from a house full of wagging tails and loud barks to a house full of silence can shatter anyone's heart, and I'm sorry for that feeling. I just want you to know that you're not alone, and it's okay not to be okay.
Your dog may be physically absent, but will stay in your heart forever. The unconditional love that you had for each other will never go away. All the memories you shared will always be available to play over and over again in your head, and appreciate. As cheesy as it may sound, Dr. Seuss did once say, "Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened." Know that it's always okay to cry and get the feelings that cannot be explained with words out, but when you're ready, smile. Smile because you were one of the lucky ones. You were someone that had an incredible experience with your dog. If the connection wasn't there, and the whole relationship was meaningless, saying goodbye would be easy. But the fact that it was such a difficult separation only means that it was true, genuine love.
You may also be thinking about how much your life has been changed by your dog. Of course, you are absolutely right. There aren't words to perfectly describe the effect that a dog has on a person, but it's incredible. A dog cannot have a conversation with us or do things that our other friends and family members can, but a dog can show all the love and loyalty in the world to you. And while your life has been changed by your dog, their life has been changed too. You were there to bring them into your home, play with them, teach them new things, show them what it's like to be loved and make every moment special. The moments that you could have done more don't matter, because your dog probably didn't pay attention to that. You were their whole world.
You're going to be okay, but in the meantime, it's okay to be overwhelmed and sad. It's okay to be frustrated that such a good soul had to go so soon. It's okay to want space, or to not be able to identify what exactly you're feeling. From someone who lost the dog who stole her heart, it's normal. It's been a few years and I still miss opening the door after a terrible day to a cheerful soul ready to make everything okay. I still miss putting on my Heelys and letting my dog pull me around the neighborhood, or sobbing at the end of Marley & Me and being lucky enough to hold my dog in my arms the entire night. It took a while for everyone in my family to be okay after the sudden loss, but we made it. You'll make it too. I believe in you.