Dealing With Guilt When You Caused Your Pet’s Death

Written by on December 2, 2013 in Animals, Depression, Emotional Health, Healing, Pet Lovers, Pet Therapy, Pets with 75 Comments

Here are several ways to deal with the guilt you feel for accidentally causing your pet’s death – or by putting your pet to sleep too soon.

These tips are inspired by a reader who had to put his dog down. Saying good-bye to your beloved dog or cat is heartbreaking - and it’s even worse if you feel guilty about your pet’s death. I hope these tips help.

“If there is a heaven, it’s certain our animals are to be there,” says Pam Brown. “Their lives become so interwoven with our own, it would take more than an archangel to detangle them.”

Even though your dog or cat is no longer here with you, your lives and souls are still entangled.

4 Ways to Deal With the Guilt of a Pet’s Death

Some people accidentally cause their dog or cat’s death by accidentally leaving them in harm’s way. The most important thing to remember is that you did NOT purposely cause your pet’s death. Dealing with guilt may be a bit lighter if you know you would’ve acted differently if you had the chance.

If your actions led to your pet’s death, you have to keep reminding yourself that you did not deliberately harm your dog or cat. It was an accident, and you would have done things differently if you had know what would happen.

Identify “imagined” guilt about the loss of your dog or cat. Not recognizing that your Yorkie, cockapoo, or Siamese cat was ill doesn’t mean that you weren’t paying attention or taking good care of him or her! This is imagined guilt. Animals can’t always communicate their physical health; pet owners can’t see inside their bodies and brains.

Another type of “imagined” guilt is if you’ve accidentally caused your pet’s death by letting him out, keeping him in, or losing track of his whereabouts. If you did not deliberately set out to harm your pet, then you have nothing to feel guilty about. I know this is easier said than done – and it takes effort to forgive yourself.

If you’re dealing with imagined guilt because of your pet’s death, remember that sometimes illness or disease overcomes our dogs, cats, and other beloved pets…and there’s nothing we can do. This loss of control is a very painful — but real — part of life.

Remember that it’s normal to feel guilty when your dog or cat dies. Whether your guilt is real or imagined, know that it is a normal grief reaction. Even the most “innocent” pet owners feel guilt over a pet’s death. For instance, I now cringe when I recall how angry I was at my beloved cat, Zoey, for scratching the basement door (I didn’t realize the door to her litter box was shut tight, and she couldn’t get in). That was over 12 years ago, and I still feel guilty! Healing after you had to put your pet down often requires forgiving yourself.

dealing with guilt pet deathGoodbye, Friend: Healing Wisdom for Anyone Who Has Ever Lost a Pet is the number one bestselling book on pet loss and grief on Amazon. I love the book because it offers both heartwarming stories and practical guidance on grieving the loss of a pet. It’ll help you deal with guilt when you caused your pet’s death.

Identify “real” guilt about your pet’s death. Real guilt may spring from your feelings that you neglected your dog or cat’s annual vaccinations, daily food intake, exercise habits, and “quality time” with you. If you’re struggling with real guilt, remember that you had reasons for doing what you did. The stress of money, work, kids, marriage, and daily life may have taken precedence over how you treated your pet. Maybe you didn’t make the best choices.

Healing after your pet’s death involves accepting that you wish you would’ve done things differently — and talking this through with your family, friends, or loved ones.

Remember what you did right — because you did a lot right. Your dog or cat loved you beyond all reason – so you must have done something right. How did you love and take care of your pet? Balance your real guilt with the real ways you loved your pet. You took good care of your dog or cat in many ways; don’t wave that away.

Dealing with guilt when you caused your pet’s death isn’t just about grieving; it’s about cherishing the best parts of your life with your dog or cat.

Do you feel like you caused your dog or cat’s death? I encourage you to share your experience below. Talking and writing about it is healthier than ignoring it, and can help you process your grief.

dealing with guilt pet death

If you’re struggling with grief and guilty feelings because of the circumstances surrounding your dog or cat’s death, read Letting Go of an Animal You Love: 75 Ways to Survive Pet Loss. I interviewed veterinarians, grief counselors, and pet experts for the best ways to survive the death of a beloved dog or cat, and I included stories from real pet owners who coped with guilt and grief in sometimes surprising ways.

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  1. Laurie says:

    Are you finding that the guilt is easing up a little? Sometimes, the guilty feelings fade as time goes by. I still feel guilty about my cat’s death – and it’s been more than 10 years – but the feelings have faded a little.

    • Terra says:

      I feel a little better, but I keep blaming myself. You see….I had October declawed when she was a kitten. she never was an outdoor cat and I don’t understand why she was having fits to go outside. That Friday night, I believe October snook past my husband and I when we were coming in the door. Saturday morning, we woke up to find that October was not in the house. My husband went to check the mailbox and found October laying by the door step. he yelled at her and told her to get in the house and noticed that she was moving really slow. She passed out in the middle of my living room floor. I looked at her tummy and I could see the dog bites in a big round circle. October came to and was responding really well by rubbing her face against my face and sticking her paw in my face, as if this was her way of saying good bye. I took her to the vet and begged them to save my baby. I put a hundred dollar deposit down for them to help her. The doctor really did not explain any thing to me about her condition and I feel that he knew my cat was dying and he fooled me into making her suffer even more for two more days. He should have told me she was dying, so that we could be at peace with ourselves and put October down instead of making her suffer.

  2. Terra says:

    I am having trouble dealing with the death of my cat October. I feel so bad, I wouldn’t wish the way I am grieving on no pet owner. October was a house cat and I had her since she was 10 weeks old. October would have been two years old in October of this year. In addition, October was declawed at a young age. October never was an outdoor cat, but recently she had fits to run out of the door, when we were leaving or coming in the house. I don’t know why because she was also spayed or fixed at an early age. However, this past staurday

  3. Linda says:

    Last night we lost our 15 year Green Cheek Conure to an unfortunate accident. Our 19 year old son’s devoted pet spent every moment with him, he is home this semester from college and the bird was with him snuggling when my son fell asleep. It is going to be difficult helping him deal with his guilt and grief. Our pets, offer such unconditional love. Thank you for the guidance in some of the posts in helping us reinforce it was not an intentional act and to focus on the bond they had. Regardless of the age of our children, helping them get through grief let alone guilt is so painful.

  4. Laurie says:

    Dear Carol,

    I am so sorry for your loss. It sounds like it was a traumatic experience, and you are experiencing alot of regret and guilt that you decided to put Chucky down. I’ve experienced similar feelings — it felt like it could be the right decision at the time, but later it seems like a huge mistake.

    I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers, that your regret and guilt ease up, and that you’re able to remember Chucky with peace and joy. He gave you so much love over the years, and you give him so much love, too! May you hold the best part of your life with him in your heart.

    You made the best decision you could, under the circumstances. It sounds like Chucky was suffering – perhaps something went awry in his little brain. It doesn’t sound like he was healthy at the end of his life, and I believe letting our beloved animals go when they aren’t healthy or happy is the best way to love them.

    You are grieving, and it seems like part of grief is always regret and guilt. You wish you could have Chucky back, because he was a source of love and comfort for you. I’m sorry you lost him. It’s heartbreaking, and I wish there was something I could say to ease the pain.

    Let Chucky go, and forgive yourself for putting him to sleep. You made the only decision you could, and he is now resting in peace. I hope you’re able to forgive yourself and grieve his death knowing that it was his time to go.


  5. Carol McLaughllin says:

    I can’t stop crying from making the decision to put my cat Chucky to sleep-he’s been gone for two months and it seems like yesterday-I was leaving tennis when I was handed a note to call home-Important-my husband who has Parkinson’s stage 2-said he was practicing his speech lesson-which is very loud and the cat came and sat near him-he reached to pet him and the cat bit his hand-sending him to the ER- the cat bit his hand one month before for petting his paws-another trip to the ER infected red swollen-everything was ok that time-
    this time we had a very aggressive Doctor who wanted to admit him for anesthesia and drain the wound-my husband is 75 and doesn’t do well under anesthesia-also he didn’t have his medicine with him and started to shake uncontrollably-I never saw this before-I went home and got one dose of this meds and he calmed down-the Doctor started to scare us by saying your husband could lose his arm or even his life-needless to say-I was extremely upset-we were now in the ER for nearly 8 hours-the next day when we went upstairs to the room where he was practicing his speech -Chucky struck thre back of his pants violently-he really scared me-he was my cat-he loved me so -slept with me every night-when I was sick he stayed with me-always obeyed me-and gave me all his love-we also have his sister-he never liked her in the same room too long-but if we went out the were always together when we arrived home-anyway-I just can’t stop missing him-and now I realize he was only reacting to the scary noices-but now it’s too late-it’s hard forgiving myself for now thinking it through-

  6. Laurie says:

    Dear Lori,

    I am so sorry for your loss. It sounds like you’re coping with so much, with your sick older dog and your younger dog freezing outside. What a painful loss, and so unexpected. He sounds like he was a wonderful dog, so loyal and faithful until the end.

    I hope you are able to forgive yourself for his death. If you had known this was going to happen, you would have done everything in your power to prevent his death! You didn’t do anything wrong – but I know how hard it is to forgive ourselves.

    I’ll keep you in my thoughts and prayers.


  7. Laurie says:

    Dear Maria,

    I hope everything went well with your dog. By the time you read this, you may already have said good-bye. It sounds like he was ready to go, and you did the right thing.

    Thank you for your thoughts on dealing with guilt and pet death. I believe the love, care, connection, and compassion we give our beloved dogs and cats in the years they are healthy makes up for their last moments. It’s so painful to see our beloved animals get old and be in pain…but we need to hold on to the best parts and remember how much joy we experienced with them.

    In sympathy,

  8. Lori says:

    I just lost my dog last Thursday. I am racked with guilt because he went outside in the middle of the night in the cold and I found him frozen in the morning. I don’t understand why he didn’t come in. He was laying at the bottom of the step to the dog door but he didn’t come in.
    Our story is a long one… my other dog got sick a year and a half ago. I took her to multiple vets and to a world renowned vet hospital but no one can determine what is wrong. She has trouble walking and can’t stand for very long. I have been nursing her for about 7 months now because she can’t stand to go to the bathroom and she can’t use the dog door any more. She is on medication and I took her to several accupuncture appointments to help with any pain. The vets tell me it doesn’t appear she is in any pain that is seems to be neurological maybe like alzheimer’s. She has been taking up all my time lately. I get home from work and I have to clean her up and clean up the floor. She needs bathed daily and medicine twice a day. This has caused my little guy to be neglected a bit. He had been losing weight the last couple of months and I thought he was just stressed by the situation with her. But 2 weeks ago I noticed he was starting to have trouble walking just like she did so I made an appointment at the vets for last Friday but he died sometime Wednesday night to Thursday morning.
    I so wish I had taken him in earlier. I just thought he was having the same issues as her and it would be a long term issue. I wish I had blocked the dog door before I went to bed Wednesday night. I wish I had held him when he passed. I wish he hadn’t been alone and cold and in the dark when he passed. I don’t know if I will ever be able to forgive myself for letting him down. He was such a good boy and such a gentleman with her while she has been sick. I love that little guy, he was my buddy. He deserved to be treated so much better than this. He would have been 12 this May and she will be 17 this June. I never thought he would go first. I just held him all day on Thursday and rocked him and told him I was so sorry and please don’t be mad at me. I did not want to let go…..I still don’t want to let go. I want to hold him again and tell him I am sorry again. I don’t know if I will ever get over this.

  9. Maria says:

    We adopted our dog 14 years ago. The shelter said he was 3-5 years old. We lived in Hawaii then. I got a job in fast food to make sure we could afford to ship him with us to the mainland. Now I think he’s dying. His eyes are cloudy and he looks at me with a stressed out look. Today he started coughing. I set up the vet appointment this morning. I noticed on the weekend he was moving slower. I want to make sure he doesn’t get so bad we have to make a crisis trip to the 24 hr vet because that would be scary and I don’t want his last moments to be drenched in fear and panic. Everyone keeps saying he looks fine, but I can see the way he looks at me, it’s like he’s telling me he is in distress. This dog has pulled me through so many times. I will always love him. Why do people think it’s ok to wait until they are ” really” suffering? He’s suffering now. Just because he still walks around doesn’t mean anything. He throws up all the time, he can’t jump on our bed, he can’t stand to be picked up cause I think his bones hurt. I can hardly bear this, but I don’t want him freaked out and howling in pain, just to be justified. We all have this little dream, that our beloved pets will grow old and show no signs, then one day will have passed peacefully in their sleep. I have had pets all my life. I never give up on them, they stay with me till old age. And every time, they get so old, they start suffering and they never die peacefully in their sleep. So even though I will keep helping animals in need, I will always kick myself for putting me through this. But at least I give them a good home, if only for a decade and some.

  10. Laurie says:

    Dear Lindi,

    I’m sorry for your loss, and for what you’re going through now. It’s devastating, to know we took the life of a creature we loved with all our heart. We are charged with taking care of our beloved pets, and putting them to sleep seems so cruel and cold.

    But, sometimes we have to let go of the ones we love so much. We have to put our human babies above our animal babies.

    The decision you made was the right one for you and your family. You are taking care of your family, and you are making sure they are healthy and happy. You acted out of love and compassion.

    Thank you for being here. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers, that you are able to let go of the guilt you feel for putting your cat down. I hope you can forgive yourself, and that you accept in your heart that you were acting out of love and compassion.

    In sympathy,

  11. lindi says:

    Morning, my heart is aching of pain. It all started when my 8month old baby got eye infections. She is allergic to my beloved cat. This is very hard for me to talk about and as I’m writing this story I cannot help but cry. I decided yesterday that I would put my 2 year old cat to sleep. She was my world and the love we had for one another was like no other. I took her to the spca and held her while she drifted away. The reason I decided on this was because I knew that if I had to give her away she would suffer in pain emotionally because she wouldn’t be able to understand why mommy gave me up or why she could not stay. I also feel my cat had the best life here at home and no one could love her like I did. But the guilt is eating my soul. Because I know that I caused her death its through my actions that she died and that her quality of life has been taken from her. I know that she had no vote or say in this situation and I feel that she would have wanted to live. I will never be able to forgive myself. Her blood will always be on my hands. I am a horrible person and I cannot even start by explaining how horrible I feel. It kills me inside to think of this. I saw the life taken away. Her body losing life. She drifted away in my arms and this will haunt me till the day I die. Will she ever forgive me for making that dissision will she wait for me and be there when I come to rest? Does she even know that I’m sorry and that I love her so much. I couldn’t give her away to some stranger and I couldn’t abandon her after all our years together. I feel this was the only way, but this way was crule and I wish things could be different. Will God forgive me? Will she forgive me? How can I expect anyone to forgive me if I can’t even forgive myself. She was, no she is the most amazing cat I have ever had. I love her with all my heart and I am sorry and will carry this burden forever.

    • Vangie says:

      Hi Lindie,

      I am sorry for your loss as I certainly understand the pain you are feeling. I recently had my cocker spaniel put to sleep on Monday the 3rd and words cannot describe the guilt, regret and void I after losing a beloved pet. My little Ebony was so old her health was deteriorating in so many ways that it was becoming painful to watch as she was no longer the dog she used to be. I was overwhelmed with guilt for making the choice for her that I immediately remembered all the times I was frustrated with her like when she pooped in the house and recently, started peeing. I felt horrible thinking I should have been a better dog owner. What has ease the pain some is that I wrote a letter letting my feelings out and prayer knowing that she is in a better place free from all suffering and that she has reunited with the other dogs that my family has lost and they are having a grand ole time at “Rainbow Bridge” I was so glad I found this website for support. I can tell you that it does get better for instance, today is the first day that I have not cried for my sweet little Ebb, not that I don’t miss her because God knows I do but it is becoming less painful. My mother had suggested that I get another dog because I was taking it so hard but honestly, I feel like it would be a dishonor to replace her and I just don’t think I can do, it right now. Time does heal all wounds and it’s ok to cry. Try writing a letter to your cat, it helped me especially with the guilt. I hope I have encouraged you as I am thankful for those who encourage me during my loss.

  12. Laurie says:

    Dear Paulina,

    What a horrible experience, it sounds so scary and painful. I can’t imagine how guilty you must feel for causing your little rat harm. The scene is replaying over and over in your mind, it sounds like, and you’re in shock and pain.

    It was an accident. You were playing, and he accidentally got under your knee. You didn’t do anything wrong, except be in the wrong place at the wrong time! I hope you’re able to forgive yourself for this accident.

    He may not have felt pain. Sometimes animals go into shock when they’re hurt, and don’t feel anything at all. His little body was probably in deep shock, which is why he was gasping and flopping.

    I’m really sorry. It’s a terrible thing to see. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers, and hope you’re able to forgive yourself for causing your little guy’s death. May his little soul rest in peace, and may this experience be one that turns into good, somehow.


  13. Laurie says:

    Dear hm,

    I am so sorry you lost your precious little bunny rabbit. I don’t think you killed her. I think she may have been ill, and her little heart wasn’t able to continue beating.

    You’re right; you will be a much more loving, compassionate, attentive caretaker from now own. I know that’s not much consolation when you’re dealing with so much guilt and pain about your bunny’s death.

    Thank you for sharing your experience here. Your story will help others cope with guilt over their own pet’s death, and show them they’re not alone.

    In sympathy,

  14. Paulina says:

    Yesterday evening started as any other,
    It was lovely weather, perfectsummer night weather. My roommate and i decided it would be nice to take our new baby rats to the park to let them have a run around. We sat on a patch of grass where there were no dogs around so the rats could run freely. I crawled around on my knees, watching as they chased me. I felt so flattered that they wanted to be close to me all the time. It was so adorable. I turned on my knees, trying to get them to chase me again. I felt a little body under my knee; and I had put quite a lot of pressure on it. My friend gasped and a little rat ran out from under me, over to hide by my friend. He seemed okay at first, a little shaken up. I was relieved. I joked that you know, rats can survive anything, cause well, they’re rats. But then, he started running away from us, two of his legs were limping. I gasped, my heart ached for his pain. “I think you broke his legs” my friend said.
    “I think Im going to be sick”
    We decided we needed to take him home to go to the vet. My friend scooped up the other rat and I tried to gently pick the injured rat up. As we walked he started gasping and choking in my arms. His leg spasmed. I went into shock I felt sick and panicked I couldnt believe what was happening.
    “Sophie!” I cried, “I think he’s dying”
    I put him down on the ground and he just flopped. It made me sick. He started choking, really badly. I didn’t know what to do, I sat there, stunned, watching my little rat suffer. I could see blood on his teeth and there was a yellow substance coming out of his parts. Sophie couldn’t watch, she is terrified of blood, so I was there, alone, crying so loudly. Ive never cried so hard before. When he stopped moving, all I could think is “I killed him” and “he suffered”. I am a vegan and a strong believer in animal rights, so for me to do something like this, while it was an accident, is probably the worst feeling of guilt ive ever experienced. He was just a baby, he was my pet, I was supposed to care for him, instead, a stupid mistake, perhaps my carelessness, caused him to die. I cried for hours afterwards. I couldnt speak, I couldnt eat. The whole thing kept replaying in my head and it scared me so much. I had never witnessed something so horrible. All I could think of was how painful his death would have been and that I was responsible for it. I am slowly starting to forgive myself. But its hard. I dont even want to touch my other rat. The guilt is paralysing…

  15. hm says:

    A couple weeks ago, we discovered baby bunnies in my parents’ backyard, living under a palette near the horse corral. They were so cute! We noticed that there was a little white runt whose eyes hadn’t yet opened. We worried a little because the other bunnies were so much bigger and would lay on top of her, but we hoped she was just a late bloomer.

    Soon the mama stopped coming by, but the bunnies seemed to be venturing out on their own. They were eating pellets my mother put out and learning to hop! About 5 days ago, my step-dad found the runt baby out feeding blindly, as her eyes had still not opened. My mother and I brought her in and saw that her eyes and nose were caked up with manure. My mom held her and I gently cleaned out her eyes and nose. We had a little albino, and she was the cutest thing! We were both so happy that she looked healthy and just needed a little bath. We decided we should take care of her because she’d have little survivability in the wild, and her name came to me in that moment.

    I set up a makeshift cage out of my cat’s carrier. I intended to make her an outdoor cage as well so she could be outside with her brothers and sisters and get exercise in the daytime but still be safe. For about 3 days, I loved the sh*t out of that little bunny. I am in an uncertain transitional stage in my life (hence staying at my parents), and I have been depressed. Priscilla lit up my little world. She is literally the sweetest, cutest little thing I’ve ever seen in my life. I am not exaggerating. What could be cuter than a little baby bunny?

    My mom put some pellets and apples in her carrier and I kept her in my room. That entire weekend I played with her. It didn’t take long for her to start coming to the front of the cage when I would come talk to her and feed her. I spend a lot of time on my laptop and she would just nestle so cutely in my arms. I have a few videos I took of her, one where we take turns chattering back and forth. I looked up online what to feed bunnies and read that they mostly eat pellets but can also be fed veggies and fruit. I have worked with animals, including bunnies, in the past, but I did not take care of them closely. Yet I thought I knew how, so I didn’t bother to read up closely on baby bunnies. In the meantime, I gave Priscilla different veggies and a couple kinds of fruit to see what she liked. I loved watching her eat and drink cuz she does this cute thing where she licks each side of her mouth.

    On day 4, I had to get up really early for an appt, so I didn’t take Priscilla’s cover off her cage (I have a cat and dog, and while I’m very careful about not letting them in the room alone with her, at night I’d cover the front half of her cage to reduce visibility). I usually get up later so I figured she’d be fine until I got back and knew I had left her with plenty of food and water. When I got home, I got my dog’s old crate out as I was going to modify it to temporarily become an outdoor bunny pen, until I have my own place again and could get her a proper hutch. I gathered the things to put in it and then went to see the little cutie.

    When I took the cover off, I saw that she had died. I was and still am absolutely devasted. My parents tried to tell me she was probably sick when we found her, but my gut feeling told me I had done something wrong–fed her something she wasn’t supposed to eat.

    We buried her. God, she was so cute and little and fluffy. The hardest part was taking apart the carrier, putting her dishes away and throwing out her toys, etc… I procrastinated a couple hours, but finally I got out my laptop and searched on google ‘Can baby bunnies die from eating vegetables?’ Sure enough, there was a lot of information confirming how harmful this can be. I had been feeding her things way too early for her to be able to digest them. Baby bunnies are only supposed to eat a certain kind of hay, then eventually you add in pellets, and months later can slowly introduce vegetables. Sugary veggies and fruits should be minimal, including carrots, even for adults. God, I gave her so many f***ing carrots!

    I realize I did not intend to harm her. I really thought I was giving her a better chance at life. But I spend a lot of time on my computer playing stupid video games and clicking on dumb articles because I’m not working for a couple months. It was pure negligence, and it’s no excuse. I didn’t have any right to take responsibility for a baby bunny if I wasn’t going to properly learn how to. I was supposed to be her safety! Instead I ripped her away from her siblings and her freedom, imprisoned her in my room, and poisoned her to death. I cannot forgive myself for this. Ignorance is not an excuse and I just don’t know how I could do that to her. I miss that little buns so much. Sure, I am grateful for the few days I had with her. I never really thought about having a bunny as a pet until she blindly hopped into my world, and I adored her. I can handle life and death, but I cannot handle that I killed her. My parents say that I learned a lesson. Well, I’m 34 years old and have had many pets and worked with animals. I should know better. Moreover, the cost of that lesson is not fair to that little baby bunny. I know I have to stop punishing myself by constantly dwelling on the darkness of the situation. I just can’t forgive myself for neglecting her like that. Simply put, I was too lazy to read up on how to care for her. I just wanted to play with my cute little bunny, like a spoiled child. I watch the videos and look at pictures of her throughout the day and have been crying for two days straight, so much so that my face is red whether I’m crying or not because the tears burn my skin so badly. I want to drink my sorrows away but I know I’m too dehydrated. I am drinking water and eating. I’m snuggling my cat extra hard and appreciating jogging and hiking with my dog even more now. But I cannot forgive myself for killing that little bunny. There is no lesson that could be worth the price of a life. I can be a better caretaker for animals going forward, but that doesn’t do anything for the innocent little bunny. And selfishly, I just miss her so much. I know it was only a few days, but I guess I needed her, when I thought initially that little rabbit needed me. Silly human.

  16. Laurie says:

    Dear Patty,

    I am so sorry you lost your little chihuahua, your beloved dog! I wish I had the right words, to help you feel better and take the pain away. I also have a terrier mix, and we have coyotes in our forest-y neighborhood. In fact, I saw a coyote today. My biggest fear is losing my terrier or my miniature poodle to a coyote, or even a bear. I can’t imagine how it must feel to have it happen.

    Thank you for sharing your experience here. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.

    Your chihuahua is resting in peace. She is watching you with love and compassion, and I believe she wants you to forgive yourself. She had a wonderful life with you – she lived for you! The last thing she wants is for you to be in pain when you think about her. I hope you’re able to forgive yourself. You’ll never forget her and you may always have a hole in your heart, but I hope you can remember her with peace and love.

    In sympathy,

  17. Patty says:

    My family lost our precious chihuahua three days ago. It is a heartbreaking experience and never imagined that it would hurt so much. Our baby did not deserve to die like that. She lived in the mountains, a well fenced area that was taken care of as to keep wildlife out. She had had encounters with coyotes before, but usually just barked from home, and when she ran off to bark at it, always came back. Well this time, she didn’t. She was probably caught off guard and was taken just after sunset. Our other terrier mix dog was with her and witnessed the whole thing. My sister heard our baby’s cry from inside and ran out immediately, but she was gone. Immediately the family ran out and yelled for her. We searched but did not find anything, just heard some steps from the leaves but finally went back inside distraught. We only imagined the worst. The next morning, our other terrier dog led me with barks and scents to her body. The coyote must have gotten scared by our yells and presence, and it must have dropped her there. Although it was painful to see her, and see how the coyote had attacked her, being opened up and all, it also in some form brought a sense of relief that she had not been eaten. The grieving process also was aided by being able to give her a proper burial and being able to honor her. What hurts me the most is that she was such a good dog and did not deserve to die like that. She lived to turn 9 years this past November. Ultimately, her love of protecting our home from the wildlife cost her her life. Our terrier is so sad and missing her companion. We will have to limit her outside time very drastically…as they both enjoyed spending their days outside in nature. Coyotes have been seen in the areas, but only from time to time, they come and go, but never get close to our houses, as there are two homes in the property. The coyotes are only seen from afar and are frightened away easily. I contemplate over how we should have taken that recent sighting seriously and been more cautious. But since they always ran outside barking for whatever reason, a bird, a car coming by…etc, we didn’t think much of it. It is heart-wrenching and I only wish our little baby were still alive.

  18. Laurie says:

    Dear Lisa,

    I don’t know if it helps, but so many people on this blog have lost their beloved pets to coyotes! Those coyotes are ruthless and hungry, and our poor pets don’t stand a chance against them.

    You are not alone in feeling guilty that your dear old cat was lost to a coyote. It’s a terrible feeling, to think you could have done something to save your pet — or that something you did (like not bringing your cat in the house) caused your pet’s death.

    Sometimes, the only thing that gets me through is the belief that everything happens for a reason. I lost one of my cats to a horrible accident – I had to take her bleeding and mangled to the veterinarian. We put her to sleep, and I’ll never forget the pain and guilt of letting her out that day, and not bringing her in before the accident happened. It’s awful.

    But, I have to believe everything happens for a reason. Your cat is resting in peace, and she remembers you with love and fondness. She doesn’t blame you for her death. It was her time to go, and she knows it. I believe she wants you to let go of the guilt and pain you feel, and remember her with joy, love, and peace. You and she had a wonderful life together, and she knows she was loved dearly.

    I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers, that you’re able to be free of the heavy burden of guilt.


  19. Laurie says:

    Dear aspiring vet student,

    I’m very sorry that you lost your rabbit, and the other rabbit, and the rats! That is a lot of loss to deal with, and a lot of guilt. You’re grieving not only the loss of your beloved beautiful animals, but also your decision to bring them home in the first place.

    I believe you experienced a string of bad luck and tragic accidents. I in no way think that this means you shouldn’t be a veterinarian! On the contrary, I think these experiences of loss and pet ownership will make you a more compassionate, kind, caring, and gentle vet.

    You will be able to empathize with pet owners who will come to you with stories very similar to your own, and you will be able to comfort them in ways you’d never be able to if you hadn’t experienced your own losses and guilt over your pets’ deaths.

    Grieve the loss of your beautiful rabbit, and try to remember that it may have been her time to leave this world whether or not you brought her home. I believe in God, and that everything is happening for a reason. You lost your rabbit, and your loss will change your heart, thoughts, and behavior in significant ways. Don’t let yourself become bitter, fearful, or full of regret. Instead, try to accept the idea that our lives our unfolding this way for a reason, and every experience can make us wiser, healthier, and more compassionate.

    I’ll keep you in my thoughts and prayers.


  20. Laurie says:

    Dear Christy,

    I’m so sorry you had to experience your cat’s death that way. We have 2 dogs and 1 cat, and the last time I held my cat – a couple days ago – my gentle, sweet little dog Georgie jumped up and grabbed my cat’s tail! She never tries to bite or attack our cat, except when I’m holding the cat.

    There’s no way you could’ve known that holding your cat might trigger some instinct in your dog to attack your cat. It never occurred to me until now that my dog could’ve done much worse to my cat than pull her tail. Thank you so much for sharing your experience — it really is a very important lesson to us owners of dogs and cats!

    I wish I had words of comfort and wisdom for you, but I don’t know what to say. I can only imagine the guilt and pain I’d feel if my dogs hurt our cat. We worry about the dogs, not the cat! We worry the cat will claw our dogs’ eyes if the dogs get too close.

    Your poor kitty cat is resting in peace. There is no pain, fear, or suffering…and I am 100% sure that your cat is watching you and remembering all the love and care you gave her. The last few minutes of life are but a droplet; it’s the whole life that matters more than anything.

    Your cat misses you, loves you, and forgives you. If you didn’t know the dog would do such a thing – if you had, you never would have brought her home! It was just an accident that triggered the grabbing instinct – a terrible, tragic accident.

    Will you be able to keep the dog?

    In sympathy,

  21. Laurie says:

    Dear Vanessa,

    It’s so sad, that you lost Mister Madewell that way. Poor kitty cat, his life ended earlier than you expected! I understand you feel guilty because you didn’t catch on to his urinary blockage earlier.

    It’s important to keep reminding yourself that if you knew how serious his peeing was, you would’ve taken him to the vet right away! You didn’t take him to the vet because you thought it was a minor issue, and you decided to try to take care of it yourself. This is a sign of a loving pet owner. Pet owners know that every so often, our pets go through stages of less-than-ideal health — it’s normal for them to vomit sometimes, pee weirdly, or be off their game occasionally. 9 times out of 10, it’s nothing.

    But this time, it was something. Mister’s death wasn’t because you’re a bad owner…it was an accident that you did not intend to happen! I hope you can see that you did nothing wrong to cause his death, and that you’re able to resolve your guilty feelings. For some reason, it was Mister’s time to go.

    He is resting in peace. I hope and pray you’ll be able to remember him with joy, love, and a lighter heart.


  22. Laurie says:

    Dear Shawn,

    I have a tiny poodle, too – she weighs 7 pounds. She is so tiny and vulnerable, my heart just aches when I see her running around the yard!

    I can’t imagine losing her to a wild animal, and my heart goes out to you. I’m sorry you had to see Cosmo that way. Poor little guy….I am very sorry for your loss.

    May Cosmo rest in peace, and may his brother Bernie live a long, safe, peaceful life.


  23. Cynthia says:

    Aw I’m not Laurie but I’m a pet owner of ferrets and a Great Dane. I feel for your loss Kevin. I can truely say it’s intense the loss and please remember we all heal in our own ways and in our own time it could be days weeks yrs we can never say normal our pets seem to hurt us more than loosing a parent a sister.

    I lost my Ozzie of 8 yrs December 4 th 2013. He was my leader of the pack in my living room I seen signs of weakness in his back legs and peeing and pooing everywhere but no matter I cleaned after him he couldn’t help himself but soon after his passing I went crazy looking searching for answers I found out it was insulinoma especially in older ferrets now I feel like I let him down and how could I do that well we as humans sometimes just don’t know or don’t understand we are human. I had my baby creamated and placed in a urn and that is some solice for me and Ozzie.

    I know this May not help but when it hurts to much try to look at happy times you spent when it hurts touch look back on the great times you had with him. I cry everyday some days it more than most and I try. The guilt is the worse the anger even more. But always remember he lived and loved thru you and you thru him no bond is stronger than we have with our pets they love us unconditionally and we to them the same. I hope this helps.

    There is a site called where you can lite a candle for your beloved I lite one everyday for my Ozzie and there is no cost. It helps don’t be a stranger Huggs to you and your babie.

    • Kevin says:

      Thank you for your kind words Cynthia. I am so grateful that I found this website. I thought I would ever be the only one searching on the Internet because I feel so guilty over the way things ended with my dog. But Butch is better off now than to be suffering. I watch those ghost/haunting tv shows and they have filmed ghost/spirit dogs laying on the couch and chasing the current dog and the cat actually moves it head as it follows the spirit dog chasing the current dog. I research life after death and people who have died and come back to life say that they see their dogs on the other side along with family members who have passed on. I use to be an atheist for a few years until I saw a tv show on reincarnation about a world war 2 pilot that was shot down by the Japanese and died. He came back in the year 2000. His name is James Leininger. He even named names from his WW 2 past. Here is the link:

  24. Maybe I shouldn't be a vet student. says:

    It may not have been a cat or a dog, but we got this beautiful baby rabbit about a week ago. My boyfriend picked her up while we were cleaning the cage and she leapt from his arms and fell to her death.

    In the last month I have lost two elderly rats that responded bad to antibiotic, one rabbit needed to be rehomed because of special needs, and then the loss of this precious baby… I just feel like if I hadnt been the one to buy her she would still be alive right now. The worst part is im a vet student and this is making me feel like im not fit to take care of animals. I really hate myself for it.

  25. Christy says:

    I just lost my cat yesterday….I can’t get over the fact that I’m to blame for number of reasons! Monday we adopted a yr old boxer/mastiff (my husband wanted at dog) we was told she was fine with cats….this was mistake number 1 my cat never been around dogs and tried my hardest to keep them apart but I made a huge mistake which is mistake number 2 I was holding my cat and the dog flipped out and grab my cat….The dog killed my cat! I tried to get the dog away from my cat and received 15 bite marks and finally when I did I rushed my cat to the hospital and he could not be saved! I want my cat back and I can’t help but feel I at fault! ! I’m lost without my cat and don’t know what or how to deal with it.

    Thanks for listening

  26. Lisa Gardner says:

    Thank you for this site. I neglected to bring my dear old cat in to the house when I noticed her in the backyard but just kept doing “my thing”, and then I completely forgot she was out. Sometime that night she was taken by a coyote. I am having a hard time with my guilt?

  27. Kevin says:

    I lost my small boxer Butch. I had the vet put him down. He had MSRA bladder and skin infection. The vet said that she thought something else was going on also due to rapid weight loss. He was drinking a lot of water and peeing a lot. I took him to the After Hours Animal Clinic on Thanksgiving Day. They wanted 700.00 dollars to do all kinds of test. I only allowed 300.00. Then next payday was Mortgage payment then I took him to my regular vet after Christmas and that was when he was found to have the MSRA infections. I did feed him a handful of walnuts in December and decided to look up on the Internet if there were any problems with walnuts and sure enough they can cause nerurological problems. He did fall down twice after that but seemed to do better for a few days. I was only able to get two days worth of Zeniquin pills down him before he quit eating and started throwing up and peeing in his bed. Now i feel guilty wondering if it was the walnuts plus the infection plus who knows what else. Butch was 11 years old. He was an old man. I feel much worse now than when my Dad passed away a few years ago. He was my Good Buddy for 9 and one half years.

  28. Vanessa says:

    I lost my male cat last night. My husband and i had to come difficult decision to put him to sleep. Mister Madewell was a short hair all black cat. He was my first male cat. I came home Sunday night and he was just not himself, throwing up. The next day my husbandand i tried to deal with his illness ourselvesthinking it was constipation but finally realized we were not helping. At the vet they told us he had urinary blockage with put him into multi organ failure. I feel guilty about not paying more attention a few weeks prior when he started peeing every where i thought is was just him being quirky or having a UTI so i swicthed he’s food and he seemed better.
    I never imaged it would have gone so far for him to pass from this, my heart is broken.


  29. Shawn says:

    Yesterday, one of our two beloved teacup poodles was killed by a coyote. We are so grief stricken that I cant even go to work today. The pain is too great. I can barely type this post. Poor Cosmo was so special, so cute, so lovable. I cant get the image of his tiny body mangled by the coyote. I held him and cried, kissed him and looked into his eyes. Oh, the pain….

    My wife, daughter and I are so sad he is gone. Now we are in fear for Cosmo’s blood brother who was not harmed. We will not be letting Bernie out in the back yard alone, likely ever.

  30. Laurie says:

    Dear Stephan,

    I believe with all my heart that your dog is not mad at you for putting him to sleep! He was in pain, he was weak from the loss of blood, and he was suffering.

    Calling the vet and letting your beloved dog go was a final act of love and compassion. That’s part of taking care of your dog: seeing when their bodies are too weak to go on, and letting them rest in peace. Death can be merciful and peaceful — much more merciful and peaceful than living in an old, tired, run down body that can’t go on.

    My sympathies are with you, and my heart goes out to you. You’re heartbroken, but I believe your dog is resting happily in Heaven, and watching you with love.

    Do him a big favor, and remember him with peace, love, and joy. Don’t cast a shadow on his life by holding on to guilt or pain. Remember all the moments of joy and love you had with him — let those moments override the guilt and pain you feel.

    I’ll keep you in my thoughts and prayers, as you grieve his passing.


  31. Stephan says:

    We have had to euthanise our dog yesterday,
    en feel terrible. When I got up the morning
    He lay with his back to me (unusuall) looked at me very sad when I say good morning.
    That’s when I saw that there was blood coming from his anus.
    Have phoned the vet to come to our home.
    In less than two hours it had already happened to our (Jack) Russeltje. I had already prepared myself.

    He popped out of his bed, a last round through the kitchen, jumped on the couch and give me one last kiss.
    He could not see me, i must keep my face against his mouth and I got kisses. All the people he loved were present. After this kiss, he went to the other bank where he likes to lay.

    He was already half way, he lost too much blood. His blood pressure was so low that it could not be measured by the vet.

    Because it’s all gone so suddenly
    I hope our dog does not blame me.

    The first injection was really painful.

    I really believe in energies and spirits,
    i would so much like to know if my dog is mad at me for Euthanising him.

  32. Laurie says:

    Dear Billy’s mom,

    Today is your birthday! I am thinking about you, and will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. I hope you can forgive yourself for Billy’s death. You did everything you could to keep him strong and healthy. It sounds like he was ready to go, that he just couldn’t fight the fight any longer.

    Billy is resting in peace. He isn’t struggling anymore, and he is full of light and freedom and love. And, I believe he is so grateful to you for all you’ve done for him! He knows how much you loved him, and how bad you feel for not being there when he left this world. He forgives you, and is watching you with love and compassion. He wants you to forgive yourself and be happy.

    Happy birthday, Billy’s mom. May your year be full of goodness and light, and may you live in the moment. The past is gone, and all we have is here and now.


  33. Laurie says:


    May your precious Buster rest in peace. He had such a good life with you and your husband, and I know he was loved and cherished! He has left such a huge hole in your hearts and home, and it may seem like your husband will never be able to forgive himself for causing Buster’s death.

    I hope your husband can realize and accept that it was an accident, a tragedy, that couldn’t have been prevented. That’s the thing with accidents: they happen without our intention or planning! Your husband would never have hurt your beloved dog on purpose; it was something that for some reason was meant to happen this way.

    I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers, that you find healing and freedom from guilt.


    • Kim says:

      Thank you for your kind words of encouragement. It will undoubtedly take my husband some time to come to accept what happened. I believe it happened that way so Buster wouldn’t be alone. We live in a very rural mountain area with almost no traffic near our home, but anytime Buster was outside and a car happened along he would play tag with the car. We tried to train him not to chase, but he was half pug and incredibly stubborn about getting his way. He was great in the house, well mannered and well trained. Outside was another story. He only went outside to use the bathroom, and that was enough. I think if one of us had not struck him, he would’ve been struck sooner or later and died alone and scared. Instead he was held and loved in those moments.

      I think this also taught my husband something. In 25 years of marriage we have had lots of pets. I was always the one to become attached while he did not. He had a habit of telling me to just get over it when a pet would die. Now he understands what I went through.

      Another good thing is he no longer has a false sense of security due to our rural location. We are fencing in a couple of acres to prevent a future tragedy.

      God bless.

  34. Laurie says:

    Dear a selfish person,

    I am so sorry for your loss, and for all the regret and guilt you feel over Doggie’s death. It’s a terrible feeling, to know you could’ve loved your dog more. I feel the same way about a dog we adopted and then returned to the animal shelter. I feel like I failed her, and that I should have tried harder to give her a better life.

    There is nothing we can do about the past, and we can’t live back there. We can only live in the moment, and use what we’ve learned to make this moment better.

    What did you learn from your experience with Doggie? You can’t change the past, but you can let this experience create a better, happier, more fulfilling future. This experience can change who you are and how you live your life — it can help you live better, and treat animals and people better.

    If you feel the need to do something to actively help other dogs, maybe you could volunteer at a local animal shelter or help a neighbour who has a dog. Maybe you could work as a dog walker, to ensure other dogs get lots of love and exercise!

    I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers, that you are able to turn this experience into something good, helpful, and positive.


  35. a selfish person says:

    Im feeling guilty after my dog died yesterday.
    She lived for 10 years. My dad took her in, but she was kept inside the house area (outside)
    everyday and rarely took her to walk.
    she stayed on the cement, everyday.

    I only noticed her last year and started to “care” her, but what did i just done was only “fed her morning and night”
    Since my dad didn’t take her out, so i tried to do it.
    Yet, I rarely took her out, using busy on my internet project as an excuse, i took her out only about 4times in these two years, with only 1hour total.
    She had breast cancer and was cut before but it came back. She also had Maggots affected for 3~4times, and the last time was in this month.
    After the vet, I gave her medicine cover with biscuit so she can eat it.

    The 7th day after the vet, she didn’t eat the biscuit, maybe she’s very tiring, so i kept it for tomorrow.
    Then the next morning she sat in a weird posture,
    she’s not willing to eat the biscuit, so i just gave her breakfast and went back to play.
    AND SHE WAS DYING when Im Playing Happily.
    and when I noticed her rib cage ain’t moving, I only realized she’s dead. I kept shouting her name, no response at all.

    I cried the whole day and night, I should had noticed it earlier, I should had at least stay by her side when she’s dying. She was so pityful, she didn’t get a good care from us, didn’t get a good walk, no good health, no freedom, and died lonely.
    Im regret for everything, my selfishness just killed a poor dog, i wished for the time to reset again, i want to take real good care of her. But time won’t flow back, I can’t do anything but regret.

    Now the front yard is so empty, the collar rings no longer can be heard. Im very sorry Doggie, Im very Sorry. Please forgive me this useless owner…

  36. Kim says:

    Thank you for your article. We lost our precious Buster yesterday. My husband let him out to potty and decided to drive to the mailbox. He’d done this a hundred times before, but this time our little Chug angel ran under the wheel of the car. I was at work. My husband was alone. He says his death was quick, but painful. My husband keeps saying he killed his baby, his buddy, his best friend. His grief is palpable. So is the emptiness in our home. Our other pet is grieving the loss and that makes it even more difficult. Your article helps. I have explained that we loved him well. We saved him from certain death 15 months ago. In our care he saw Florida beaches and Chicago snow. He is loved and missed. His crate looks so empty.

  37. Laurie says:

    Dear Cindy,

    An urn for your beloved pets is a wonderful idea, and a beautiful memorial. They’ll always have a place in your heart and even in your home.

    The worst thing about love is that it hurts so much when we lose it! The more we love – the more special and cherished our animals – the more we hurt when they’re taken away from us. But, we have to learn how to love, let go, and open our hearts to love again. I know it’s easier said than done….

    Come back anytime, let me know how you are! Don’t be a stranger :-) Be well, my friend.


  38. Laurie says:

    Dear Cindy,

    I’m so sorry to hear how your beloved Ozzie passed. It sounds like you loved him so much, and you would turn back time if you could! But you didn’t know that he was doing so badly, and that it was his time to go. If you would’ve known that he was so close to his end, you would’ve done it differently.

    It’s possible that Ozzie would’ve passed even if you took him to the vet. Sometimes our beloved pets get sick, and there’s nothing even a vet can do. Sometimes it’s our pet’s time to go, and nobody can change it.

    I often decide not to take my dogs to the veterinarian, and 99% of the time it’s the right decision. They go through little bouts of ill health fairly regularly, and I can’t rush them to the vet every time! So I understand why you didn’t take Ozzie…you thought this would pass. And normally, you’d be right.

    Ozzie was ready to go. For some reason, it was his time. I hope you can forgive yourself, and learn how to remember him with peace and joy, instead of guilt and pain.

    Will you have a ceremony for him, or say a prayer, or do something to commemorate his passing?


    • CINDY says:


  39. CINDY says:

    hello this is cindy.december 4th 2013 is a day i wish i could get back to do it different.i had seen my ferret Ozzie had been having trouble going potty but figured he was getting older so i assumed his troubles were just old age.that morning i woke up arguring with my son no biggy sent him off to school but as me being a mom i caklled school to be sure he was okay which of course he was.i then went into the living room to check on my ferrets and seen Ozzie in the cage ooking up to the water bottle and he was standing up with his front feet but his back egs were legs were just laying out so i picked him up and went to get water and thought okay my man we wil get thru another day no worries i will comfort you love you and we will get thru this so got the water and took him back in with the other ferrets and i put him down to have them al eat about the same time. we he was okay not the greatest so i left the house as i usally do did my things and came home.well i got home and didnt go in the living room to check to see how everyone was doing for a couple hrs well after the two hrs i went in the living room i picked up him and his blankey he loved to sleep in and i put him up on the couch i should have known something was up then but vacumed the foor the others were sleeping got that done and when i went to pick the blankey up he still wasnt moving around so i unwraped the blankey and seen Ozzie had passed and i wasnt i wish now that morning i should have scouped him up and took him to the vet maybe maybe not there was something else going guit is awful i let my little man down i should have taken him to the vet .ferrets have so many complications at times i feel like i let him just die and me being mom should have seen it earlir in the guit is awful all ido now is wish i could just have that day back and i cant.i had him creamated by himself i couldnt do a mass creamation and put him in a beautiful urn and hes with my diamond and puppers.i hate mysef i wake up thinking about thim everyday every minute i have tried to find a place to put this i have another ferret star that is having surgery for adreanal gland disease on thursday im in fear she may die.please help me with this grief i feel.its so unforegiving i love my Ozzie kike no other what can i do.i surely dont want pitty just some understanding.

  40. Laurie says:

    Dear Suzanne,

    You were there for your dog for all the most important parts of her life! You loved her, cared for her, fed her, and cherished her. You took care of her all those years — and those were the moments that mattered most.

    At the end, she was confused and weak. Even if you had been there, she may not have known it was you. As it was, she drifted off in the caring arms of the veterinarian — and it may have been more soothing for her, because you may have been devastated by the experience of saying good-bye and watching her slip away. Your grief may have made her uncomfortable, or even anxious.

    Everything happens for a reason. Your beloved dog is now resting in peace, and she will remember you with love and joy that is enough to burst a heart! She knows you were there for her when it really mattered – which is not her death. Her life is what mattered most.

    I hope you’re able to forgive yourself, and be free from the guilt. Remember her with love and freedom and peace.

    In sympathy,

  41. Laurie says:


    I think your gut is right: your veterinarian might not call you back. And the bottom line is that it doesn’t matter if he or the vet techs think you did the right thing….the most important thing is for you to settle it in your mind and heart, once and for all.

    You made the best decision you could, based on all the available information and your gut feeling. You did what you thought best for Tristan. It’s done, it’s finished, and I believe it’s better to live in the present that rework the past!

    Make peace with your decision, carry Tristan around in your heart and soul, and move forward with a light heart. Easier said than done, I know – but it’s a choice you can make.


    • Kurt says:

      Agreed. It’s just gonna take some time to get use to things but I am at peace with the decision I made for Tristan. I appreciate you taking the time to respond. Thanks Laurie.

      Merry Christmas!


  42. Debbie says:

    I lost my cat NOAH in a neighborhood where
    coyotes are around. I never let him out after dark.
    This one night he went out. I hollered for him and
    my friend said he’ll come back. He has be gone
    since june 2013. I am consumed with guilt. I
    miss him everyday and can’t forgive myself.

    • Laurie says:

      Dear Debbie,

      I’m so sorry about your cat, Noah. It’s so difficult not to know what happened to him! Maybe the coyotes didn’t grab him – maybe he found a kind soul and good home. I know that if I found a cat and couldn’t find the owner, I’d love him as if he were my own.

      Not knowing is the worst. At least if you knew what happened, you can work on letting it go and deal with the guilt.

      Thank you for being here, my heart goes out to you. I wish I could help. I hope you remember that you didn’t do anything to cause Noah harm. You would never have let him go out if you would’ve know that you wouldn’t see him again.

      Guilt is for when you deliberately did something wrong to cause your pet’s death. You didn’t do anything wrong…it was an accident.

      I know it’s much easier to say this than actually forgive yourself, but I hope you can forgive yourself. I hope you find peace, and maybe one day open your heart and home to give another cat a loving place to live.

      In sympathy,

    • Amy says:


      I lost my cat the same way, in a neighborhood renowned for having coyotes. It has been years and it is still a struggle not to cry when I think of him. I gave him so much of my heart, and while there is a hole left where he used to be, at least I know that that part of me belonged to him. Your Noah had an owner who loved him so much as to grieve for his loss, and that cannot be said for all pet owners. That, in itself, should be comfort that while his life may have been cut short, the time that he was on this earth was so much happier because of you. You gave him a happy life, and nature is not in your control. He knows it’s not your fault, and he would not blame you in the slightest. The amount of love, comfort, and happiness in his life far outweighed the tiny amount of pain. And that, not his loss, was the result of you.

  43. Suzanne Herberg says:

    My husband and I made the difficult decision to put down our beloved Rat Terrier last evening. I know it was the right decision. She was very weak, not eating, very confused. The vet said she had a large tumor in her liver, which was pressing on her vein, cutting off blood supply to her brain. She was 13 1/2 years old. I am feeling overwhelming guilt that I did not go back to the vet’s office to be with her when she was put to sleep. The vet called at 10:30 pm – I was exhausted and overwhelmed. She had become sick pretty suddenly, and I was holding out hope that it was something that wasn’t serious. I should have gone back to be with her, I know that . I felt that she had to be put down immediately – there was risk of stroke, and she was just so weak, could hardly stand. If I had to do it over again, I would have gone back to the vet’s office, to be with her, but of course we can’t go back. The vet indicated that she would hold her while she was put down, and that gives me comfort, but I still should have gone back.

  44. Laurie says:


    Thank you for being here, and for sharing your experience with Tristan.

    I think you did the right thing for him. It sounded like his last days on earth weren’t as happy or good as his first 12 or so years! He was at the end of his life, and I think he was telling you that he wanted to go. He was giving you permission to send him off to kitty cat heaven!

    Tristan is happy now, resting in peace without the nasty complications that his beautiful cat body was dealing with. He isn’t in pain and he isn’t suffering…how can you regret giving him the gift of peace and rest?

    Thank you again for being here.


    • Kurt says:

      Thank you for your kind and calming words

    • Kurt says:

      Hi Laurie,

      I feel sad and confused about this because about 2 weeks after I put Tristan to sleep I left a message for my vet and just wanted to talk to him once more about the decision I made for Tristan and that I did the right thing. But I haven’t received a call back from him and it’s bothering me. I left another message yesterday and again I have not heard back. The vet and the vet techs were very familiar with Tristan and seemed to understand and agree with the decision to put him to sleep. If he does not call back, I’m gonna feel weird and I have a feeling he won’t call back.

  45. Laurie says:

    Dear Lizzie,

    I’m so sorry for your loss, and for your regret about the decision you made to let you sister take Charlee. Coyotes, how awful. My dogs and I were walking in the forest yesterday, and we came across a coyote. We managed to scare him off — my dogs are little but tough! — but I am always, always aware that when we romp in the forest off leash, it could be our last romp as the pack we are now.

    I hope you can forgive yourself for Charlee’s death. You didn’t deliberately put her in harm’s way! For some reason, it was her time to go. I don’t know why, but I believe that life is unfolding the way it is meant to unfold. I believe everything happens for a reason, even when we can’t see any reason. Even when we’re grieving and feeling so guilty about our pet’s death.

    I hope you can forgive yourself for letting Charlee go. You didn’t do anything wrong — your only mistake was not being able to see into the future!

    May Charlee rest in peace, and may her spirit be with you. May she bring you comfort and peace, and may you remember her the way she was for 99% of her life: happy, free, safe, content, and peacefully enjoying her moments.

    She loves you more than you love her, and she forgives you with a compassion and an acceptance that you might never grasp. She forgives you, and wants you to be free.


  46. Laurie says:

    Elizabeth, my heart breaks for you and your husband. I am so sorry she is gone. It’s devastating, heartbreaking.

    I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. May her sweet little soul rest in peace, and may she be happy, joyful, and content where she is now. May she always remember how much she was loved when she was here, and may she watch over you with love, compassion, and forgiveness.

    Pixie is living in the moment, and this moment contains no pain for her.


    • Elizabeth says:

      Thanks Laurie. Its been an awful week just the worst of my life. My Dad died on September 26th this year and i really thought that pain was the worst. This with Pixie is much much worse. I feel so responsible no matter what anyone says. I was carrying her. I should have held door to her carrier. I’m tortured by guilt.

  47. Lizzie says:

    Today I got the news that my little 5 year old Shih Tzu, Charlee,was killed by coyotes. I feel so guilty because she had been living with me for the past 6 months or so, and my sister moved out and I asked her to take her with her because I couldn’t afford to feed her on top of my other animals. So my sister took her to live with her out in the country and now she is dead. If I would have just kept her, she would still be alive. It just breaks my heart knowing she was viciously killed and knowing she must have been so scared. She was the sweetest little dog ever.

  48. Kurt says:


    It has now been 4 weeks since I put my cat Tristan to sleep. He was a long-haired white cat with big beautiful blue eyes. He was my friend Debie’s cat who died 3 years ago from MS complications.

    Tristan had a chronic eye and nose infection that wouldn’t go away after countless vet appointments and medications over the last year. I tried natural remedies also with not much success. I had him for about 3 years. He was starting to get senile and was getting older (he was about 12 yrs old.)

    For the last 6 months he was pooping outside his litter box. He would sneeze violently and bile was going everywhere. He had constant pink eye that I addressed everyday. He wasn’t deathly ill but the infection was not going away.

    I feel a little guilty sometimes because I got mad at him a few times when he would wake me every morning with loud moaning from about 4 am till I got up. I usually could not fall back asleep before I had to get up for work.

    With the illness, the litter problems and the moaning combined it was becoming too much for me to handle.

    Maybe I should have given him longer I don’t know. I think I did the right thing but I have mixed emotions.

    I had debated doing this for about the last 2 months and 4 weeks ago I finally made the decision that I had to do it and found the strength to do it. I did it before work which was hard because I didn’t get to stay with him after the procedure. They gave him a sedative beforehand and I did get to spend the last few minutes of his life petting him and telling him goodbye and that I loved him. He went very peacefully.

    I live alone in an apartment and had nowhere to bury him so I decided to have him cremated with other pets from the same veterinary clinic.

    I loved him so much and treated him with extra care. He was a great snuggler and a wonderful companion. I miss him so much. My apartment is not the same without Tristan. It has been very hard. I have cried so much these past 4 weeks.

    Anyway I juts wanted to vent these facts and feelings and am very glad for this forum.

    Kurt from NH

    • Kirsten says:

      Hi Kurt

      I too am struggling with a decision to have our dog put down. We had him for 4.5 years from puppy. He was a sweet gentle dog. At times he was a pain, in the puppy stage, chewing and wrecking things. But i loved him and always missed him when we were away on holiday.
      He had a problem with his kneecap which was requiring surgery. We had been putting it off due to the cost, but i knew we would need to act soon as he was starting to walk without putting weight on it a lot of the time.
      Just before Christmas, we had gone away for the weekend and when we came home he did not want his dinner. This continued for two days and so we took him to the vet. The vet explained there had been several cases of gastro in dogs. He felt a lump but he thought it was an enlarged spleen due to gastro. He stayed overnight at the vet and on a drip to hydrate him. The next day he seemed a lot brighter so we were allowed to bring him home. For the next three days he would not eat. Only a couple of times he ate a small portion. We took him to another vet, a friend. She explained he did have a lump, most likely an obstruction in his small intestine. She would have to operate. She explained it is a major surgery. We had to make a decision instead to have him put down.
      Ultimately it was my decision and so now i feel incredible guilt. We were there with him as his life was ended. :’(
      My decision was based mostly on cost…. Two major operations were needed. Having not eaten for 7 days, chances of complications from damaged bowel, toxin buildup. It may have been cancer tumour and irreparable and we would have spent much money for nothing. I have also considered that it seemed unkind to have him go through the pain of two major surgeries. I don’t know, but the fact that cost was the main consideration, just makes me feel so guilty. I fear people will consider me heartless, but my husband says we just couldnt spend thousands to fix him. Maybe we should have gone without to give our buddy a chance. I dont know when i will get over this!

  49. Laurie says:


    Thank you for sharing your story here. I am sorry about how your dog died, it is so sad. You didn’t cause his death! His body needed the water, so he drank too much. You couldn’t have stopped him from that because you didn’t know what would happen if he drank so much.

    It was an accident. Your beloved dog died at home, surrounded by love and a familiar environment. It’s very sad, but he is in a happier place. He is resting in peace, and watching you with love and fondness.


  50. Laurie says:

    Dear Elizabeth,

    I am so sorry and sad to hear about Pixie. It’s a terrible, guilty feeling to know your actions may have contributed to your pet’s death! It’s awful, and sickening. One of my cats once broke her leg somehow when she was outside — crushed it, really — it was horrible. She was dragging it along behind her. I will never forget that image, and I will never forgive myself for letting her into that situation (I don’t know how she broke her leg, but if I’d kept her in the house, it wouldn’t have happened!).

    I will keep you and Pixie in my thoughts and prayers. Cats are survivors! It’s possible she is holed up somewhere warm, maybe even in a person’s home. She probably ran and ran after she escaped, and is with somebody who is feeding her and keeping her safe and warm.

    Hold on to hope, and faith that she is okay. I hope you find ways to forgive yourself, because it doesn’t do you or her or anyone any good to keep dealing with the guilt of thinking you caused your cat’s death!

    I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers.


    • Elizabeth says:

      Thanks Laurie. Sadly my wee Pixie girl is dead. My poor husband found her tonight hit by a car. She was only one street away. I feel like i want to die. The guilt of her getting out her carrier is killing me. I have never seen my husband so upset in 23 years of marriage. This is the worst pain ive ever had. My Dad died in September and this pain is worse. I just don’t know how to cope with this.

  51. Jennifer says:

    I lost my golden retriever last year he was almost 12. he had gotten hotspots really bad wasn’t able to walk and I didn’t realize he wasn’t getting up to drink water so he got really dehydrated by the time he got up to drink water he drank so much water it poisoned him I told him goodnight I did not know that he would not be awake the next morning my dad woke me up saying he passed away as soon as he got up and pet him he looked at him and then he died. he was the best dog and I hate that this happened it has been I year this past Saturday since he died and I miss him so much.

  52. Elizabeth says:

    I am killing myself with guilt over my cat Pixie. She was in her carrier going for shots. As i was putting her in car somehow she burst out and ran off. I blame myself for door opening on carrier. We have searched for 3 days now. Its freezing and snowing. I know she was scared. We started to call her right away. Dont understand why she wouldnt come to us. Its like shes just vanished. My guilt is so bad. I felt seriously like dying rather than feel this pain and worry over her. Is she freezing to death somewhere,terrified and hungry. Im ill over this.

    • Kurt says:

      Elizabeth, I feel so sorry for you losing your cat pixie. It was not your fault so try not to beat yourself up with guilt. I’m sure you are worried about her. I pray you find her or someone else does. Maybe put up a few posters around where you lost her. I sympathize with you and want you to know you are going to get through this and hopefully a miracle will happen for you and pixie.

      Hang in there,


      • Elizabeth says:

        Thank you for your kind words Kurt. Sadly Pixie was hit and killed by a car. My poor husband found her tonight. She was only one street away. We had been over there calling for her. Its killing me. I feel like dying to get away from the pain. I know that’s so cowardly. Its just that this guilt is so debilitating.

        • Kurt says:

          I’m so sorry to here about your cat Pixie….i understand how you feel. It was an accident and not your fault. You didn’t deliberately put your cat in harms way. Please go easy on your self and let the grieving process take its course.

          I’m still very sad about putting my cat to sleep. I’m not sure if you saw my post about my cat tristan but its been a month and i am still crying and feeling some guilt for putting him to sleep. But I felt I had to do it because there were too many issues at once.

          • Elizabeth says:

            Kurt. Thank you so much for your kind words . Only another animal lover can understand our torment. Please don’t feel guilty about your Tristan. The poor guy was suffering and you released him from that with love. Sometimes i think it may even be selfish to prolong our pets lives if they are in pain and suffering. We dont want to lose them so we try to keep them as long as possible. You acted out of love. I have to find a way to forgive myself. I know it was an accident she got out carrier. I just wish i had been holding door closed. Its just an awful gut wrenching pain. I feel for you i really do. We both have to forgive ourselves. I’m sending you love and light.

        • Kurt says:

          Thanks for your reply. I hope you are able to find some peace. You didn’t do anything to harm your pet. It was an accident. I can tell you loved your pet and I send you light and peace. I feel kinda guilty over tristan because he wasn’t on his “death bed”. There were just too many issues at once for me and him to deal with. i couldn’t get back to sleep in the mornings from his constant moaning and his eye and nose infection would not go away. And the pooping outside his litter box was consistent. He would also sneeze often and bile was going everywhere. It just all added up but i still feel like i could have waited…..arggg

  53. craig says:

    I guess it may be hard on myself or others to say that an accidental death of a beloved pet is just a consolation for ones guilty conscious of the passing. Although my hat is put over my heart to others in the pain that is felt. I’ve always shown my sympathy as I know its always different when it happens to me.I’ll so desire the thoughts prayers of others when losing a pet of my own.My Pomeranians are the children I’ve never had.

  54. Laurie says:

    Dear Kandi,

    I am so sorry you lost your cat. It’s a terrible loss and heartbreak, to lose a beloved pet – especially when you feel guilty for not doing things differently.

    I hope you’re able to forgive yourself for leaving her alone that morning. Maybe she didn’t suffer – maybe she wasn’t in pain! Maybe she just slipped into a deep, deep sleep. It could have been her body’s defense mechanism against suffering and pain.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you.


  55. Kandi says:

    My sweet cat (“sniffles”) of 17 years is now in kitty heaven after suffering for 3 days….the guilt I have is like no other….she had got a bite from another cat or? It turned into a abcess that I discovered sunday, I cleaned as best I could and took her to the vet the next morning….they flushed and cleaned her wound, gave her and antibotics and fluids…and I brought her home to care for her, because I felt and the vet agreed that leaving her there would be too tramatic for her…..she just could not fight the infection off….I feel so bad because I went to work Tuesday morning and left her alone….something told me to go home early and when I got home I found her in shock on her blanket, and unresponsive…I took her to the vet and held her when they gave the shot to end her life and suffering.

    I will never forgive myself for leaving her alone that suffer alone…I can’t stop crying…..I loved her so and will miss her sweet purr and warm body next to me…..

    • Billy's mom says:

      I am so very sorry all of you have lost you beloved pets. I lost my lil lizard Billy last night. He was a Mali Uromatyx. He was rescued and we think around 14 year old when he died. I knew he was sick and waited awhile to take him to the vet. When I did I he was put on medication. I took him back and they said to give it time, I then gave him a liquid food I picked up from the vet. With the holidays and my sister in town I wasn’t home very much. I still feed him like a baby bird and gave him soaks and steam baths. The whole time I told the vet I think he has a upper respitory infection. he didn’t agree. He is the nicer of the two vets, but the other one I feel has more experience with lizards. I slept at my Grandmas and wasn’t home when he passed. I feel I gave up on him. I knew he was still sick and tired of running back and forth to the vet. I love him so much and feel so guilty for letting him down when I knew better. It’s New Years Eve and my 35th birthday is on the 2nd. I’m so sad right now and I feel like a bad mom.
      Thank you for listening
      -Billy’s mom

    • Billy's mom says:

      Kandi, you sound like a great cat mom. You had to go to work, we all do. I just lost my lizard last night and feel so guilty. I believe if we are on this site, we loved our pets and were good pet parents. I will be thinking of you and sending healing thoughts.
      -Billy’s mom

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