Dealing With Guilt When You Caused Your Pet’s Death

If you accidentally hurt your dog or cat – or you had to put your pet down – these ways to deal with guilt for causing your pet’s death will help you cope.

feel guilty caused pets death

When Your Pet Dies

When Your Pet Dies: A Guide to Mourning, Remembering and Healing by Alan D. Wolfelt is a guide for pet owners who are struggling with grief when their pet dies. This book will help you understand why your feelings are so overwhelming, and help you cope with the guilt you feel about your pet’s death. The topics discussed include practical suggestions for grieving, ideas for remembering and memorializing one’s pet, understanding the many emotions experienced after the death of a pet, understanding why grief for pets is unique, pet funerals and burial or cremation, celebrating and remembering the life of one’s pet, coping with feelings about euthanasia (and guilt about putting an animal to sleep), helping children understand the death of their pet, and things to keep in mind before getting another pet.

These tips are inspired by a reader who shared his guilty feelings about putting his dog to sleep. 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.”

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.

Dealing With Guilt When You Caused Your Pet’s 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.

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.

I recently wrote How to Forgive Yourself for Not Protecting Your Dog, to help you deal with the guilt you feel. Please take a moment to read it — it’s the comments on this article that inspired me to write it.

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.

guilt over dog cat death

“Dealing With Guilt When You Caused Your Pet’s Death” image by Laurie

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.

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Dealing With Guilt When You Caused Your Pet's Death
If you accidentally hurt your dog or cat - or you had to put your pet down - these ways to deal with guilt for causing your pet's death will help you cope.
Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen on twitterLaurie Pawlik-Kienlen on pinterestLaurie Pawlik-Kienlen on linkedinLaurie Pawlik-Kienlen on googleLaurie Pawlik-Kienlen on facebook
Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen
I live in Vancouver, BC; my degrees are in Education, Psychology, and Social Work. Most importantly, I am a Christian! I love God, Jesus, Spirit. Your comments are welcome below, but I can't give advice. Are you lost, hurt, scared? Take a deep breath, and remember the reason you exist. "The eternal God is your refuge; His everlasting arms are under you." - Deut 33:27. Feel free to share your prayers and experiences here.

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293 Responses

  1. Laura says:

    I feel very much guilt tonight over my Dixie, an 8-year-old chocolate lab. She was adopted as a stray puppy and was given to my ailing father for his companion. He named her Dixie. I called her “Dixie Belle” – she was the sweetest most affectionate dog I’ve ever known. My father died not long after he got Dixie, and then I took care of her. She was an extremely happy country dog with a free run in the huge yard and pasture. Some days I was too busy to do much with her, but other days she would enjoy being outside with me most of the day while I worked in the garden. I had just started my garden again a few weeks ago and was looking forward to spending a lot of time with her outside in the near future.

    I went on a week-long vacation trip last week and boarded Dixie at the vet’s kennel while I was gone. Ever since I picked her up a few days ago, she was extra attentive to me – following me everywhere, staring at me through the window, just waiting for me to go work in the garden. This morning I took her for a walk in the pasture, as I do most days. After that, I was really busy trying to get two packages ready to mail for my business. All afternoon she sat on the patio staring at me mournfully through the window, patiently for me to come out and work in the garden. But I had a deadline and I was trying to get to the post office by 4:30 pm closing time. All I could think about was getting those two packages mailed, because today was the absolute deadline….I had tried to mail one of them yesterday and had a delay so I was already late with that one. Plus, the workers at the post office always got mad at me when I got there after 4:15, so I was worried about the dirty looks I would get. And plus, it started to rain, and I heard there was a tornado warning for our area. I left the house a little after 4:15, aiming to get to the post office by 4:20 if I drove fast enough., I threw a piece of bread to Dixie so that she wouldn’t follow the car to the road….that was always one of her bad habits….she loved to ride in the car and always wanted to jump in the car when I opened the door. The road is a busy country road, but there is a long driveway between my house and the road. The bread trick would usually work with Dixie, because she would usually stay and gobble up the bread instead of following the car. But today, probably because it was raining, and probably also because she had been lonely for me during her week at the kennel, she ignored the bread and followed my car down the driveway to the road. I worried a bit about her following me, but the driveway is very long to the road and I thought she would turn back and go back to the house – especially since it was raining fairly hard. I really wasn’t thinking straight because I was so preoccupied with getting the packages to the post office. There HAD been several previous occurrences when she would follow the car all the way to the road and sit there near the road and wait for me to come back, and I was a bit worried that she would do that this time, but I chose not to think about that because my packages seemed more important than that at the time….(How wrong I was.). I remember thinking as Dixie chased me down the driveway, “I really should either go back and take her home, or let her get in the car with me.” But neither option seemed possible at the time…my family had forbid me to let her in the car because she always got it dirty and muddy….and if I had turned around and taken her back home, I would have not got to the post office on time and missed both my deadlines.

    So I just kept driving and went to town. She followed me all the way to the road. I looked out the rear view mirror and saw her standing at the road. I went to town, mailed the packages, drove back home, and when I came back to the turn-off, there she was, still standing there next to the road. She lit up when she saw my car and wagged her tail. I was about to turn in, but two cars were coming from the other direction. She saw the first car and waited for it to pass, and as soon as it passed, she bounded across the road to meet my car. She didn’t see the second car, and it hit her.

    This was the very last thing I expected, somehow. I was in total shock and disbelief as I ran to her. The thing that gets me is, she wagged her tail when I got there, as if she wasn’t in pain at all…even though I knew it was fatal. I petted her, and just she kept wagging her tail until she passed away a minute or two later. She seemed serene and happy in her death…I know that sounds crazy, but I think she was so glad to see me that she didn’t know she was dying, and I like to hope that she didn’t suffer, and never knew what hit her. I’m the one who’s doing all the suffering.

    I feel real guilt over what happened. Dixie has been such an important fixture in my daily life for eight years now, and I took her for granted, I guess. I was immediately consumed by the desire to turn back time and either let Dixie in the car with me or take her back home. I can’t undo things, and the world will go on, so I guess I just have to make an agreement with myself to go on, take it day by day, and do the important things I need to do, without Dixie. It helps that I have people who care about me and want to help me through. I just wanted to share my story because I have been helped by reading what others have written here. We will survive….

  2. Jeff says:

    This is so hard. Yesterday I came home from work and found that my beautiful golden retriever had been on the counter again. C.J. Is 12 and the past few months he has been doing this regularly. I hurried him out the door and gave him a quick boot in the butt. But yesterday I was in such a hurry to get him and his brother out to potty because I had been gone for a little over 9 hours and I don’t like leaving them that long, but I had to work a longer distance away than normal. I left the van door open and he bolted for it and jumped in. The van is for work and was full of garbage so I had to crawl through the front to get him because he wouldn’t come out. In the process I lost my temper and smacked him a couple times. (The dogs know when I’m angry and stay away when I am.) we went out back where I started playing fetch with c.j.’s brother. C.J. Doesn’t really play fetch since his brother is a ball hog. I was just so out of my mind I said to C.J. “I hope you die soon” my god did I actually say that! I noticedafter I said that, that he was just standing around in the same spot instead of his usual wandering of the yard. I started feeling terrible and called him over to me and scratched his head to apologize. As we were going inside I noticed that his rear legs were a little wobbly. We went inside and he hopped up the step to the kitchen fine and laid down in the living room. He never got back up. I noticed his whole body was moving because his heart was speeding. I picked him up and put him in his chair. Then he started panting, so I got his big pillow and put him on it to make him more comfortable. I sat by his side to pet him and say I was so sorry. I planned to take him to his vet this morning, but 3 hours after I got home yesterday the absolute love of my life fell to his side and let out a final sighing breath and was gone. Oh my god he’s gone, and it’s my fault. I hate myself. I told my friends and family this story and they all say that he was old and went naturally, not to blame myself. This is real guilt. I caused the stress that made my baby die. I love now and have always loved C.J. He was my first dog and he made me laugh daily. My Doozy I love you and I never meant to say or do the things I did. I miss you terribly. As does your brother. This guilt will never go away. And it shouldn’t.

    • Laura says:

      My heart goes out to you – I couldn’t help crying when I read your story. So sorry for your loss. Hugs to you! I wonder if you might benefit from a pet loss support group, either in your local community, or online. I’m thinking of joining one myself to help get through the guilt and grieving process (I wrote the story above yours). I know how you feel.

      • Jeff says:

        Thank you for your sincere comment. My deepest condolences. I also couldn’t help but crying when I read your story. Big hugs back to you, I can’t seem to get enough of them the past couple days. I also find myself with the deepest desire to turn back the clock. I will take your idea of a support group to heart. A coworker and another person who commented on my story both reminded me that our pets are in heaven where they are happy and waiting to see us again. My faith hasn’t been very strong in my life but I am finding great comfort in the thought that C.J. Is there waiting, and that one day I will earn the grace of God to see him again. Hopefully you will find the same. Again, thank you for your comment. May you find peace in the time to come.

        • Laura says:

          That’s good to hear, Jeff. My family and a good friend have been helping me deal with it, and that helps too. I do like the point you made about faith!

    • Jerry Tenorio says:

      Please dont feel responsible. God knows exactly the time, place, and the way we all will leave this world. Your pet is in Heaven. There is nothing but joy there, and you will be with your pet very soon. Beleive it.
      I am still in tremendous pain over my Tiny going to heaven, but I know she is so safe and happy, and is waiting (happily) for me. YOU WILL BE REUNITED very, very soon.
      Be happy!

      • Jeff says:

        Thank you. Your thoughts and the other stories here are helping me. I can only believe that you are right and we will be reunited with our dear pets. I’m just trying to find that happiness and thinking about C.J. And his goofiness is all that I need to make me smile. Thank you again and blessings to you my friend.

  3. Patty says:

    10 days ago, I decided to fix my was a female cat , I’ve had her for five months. She was getting a little antsy because she was starting to be in heat. I took her to the veterinarian and I had her fixed. I requested a plastic collar, a cone for her neck because she might bite on her wound. The veterinarian told my parents that It wasn’t going to be necessary to put the collar and I trusted him. I had other cats and I had them spayed or neutered and I usually put a collar on most of them. Well it’s been 10 days and today we found the cat laying on the floor then her belly open. She bled out because somehow she must’ve bitten her stitches. I don’t know what happened, She was healing great. I have been crying all afternoon I feel terrible, I cannot forget all of the blood on the floor and I’m just don’t want to get another cat. I feel very guilty like if it’s something that I did. I thought That should have insisted to the veterinarian to get a collar maybe then Didi would be with us. I had her for six months and everyone in my family loved her , she was so loving and beautiful. I’m so sad specially the horrible way she passed away. Please help. , I deal with patients all day and I give them comfort , I’m having a hard time with this.

    • jane gee says:

      Hello Patty, i am very sorry to hear of your loss. Firstly you are feeling the pain of grief right now so the situation is hard for you to see clearly. From an outsiders point of view i dont think you did anything that could have prevented this unfortunate accident. If you had used a collar you cat might have had an accident while wearing that, and then you would have been feeling bad about using it and wishing you hadn’t. Thing is we can not replay life and “do things differently”, but we tend to bash ourselves over the head about the “if only…”s. You have had a really sad accident and it will take time to get over the shock but you have nothing to reprimand yourself for. Ive had spayed cats in my care and none wore a collar either. So allow yourself time to grieve for this cat, talk to friends who share your passion for animals who will be understanding about pet bereavment and i promise in time you will come to terms with your loss and be able to move on in your life. With sympathy.

  4. Saraswathi says:

    A stray pup just walked into our house 3 days ago. He was a stray, indigenous breed. He was sad the first day then he perked up. He loved his cloth, he loved chasing peoples legs, he loved biscuit. He used to think he was a warrior fighting bees and sticks. He never once peed inside the house. He controlled it and relieved himself only when he went out. He used to love going out. Only yesterday I had to save him from getting hit by a car. He used to sleep so much. We were going to take him to the vet tomorrow. I worried so much about him. At times the worry used to kill me. Yesterday and day before I couldn’t do anything because I spent all my time worrying about him. (I already carried the guilt of being the cause of the death of a stray three years ago.) If he went out I used to keep watching him. My family members told me not to worry, he was hardy and would be okay. Today I believed them. I decided to sit down and study. Fifteen minutes later he’d been hit by a truck and he died. His head in a pool of blood. I cannot get the image out of my head. I lifted him and kept him aside. I’ve cried all day. There are tears pooling in both my eyes. I don’t know who opened the gate. I blame myself for everything- for not getting him vaccinated yesterday so he would’ve been drowsy today and wouldn’t have stepped out. For worrying about him, for thinking he was another problem in my life I think I invited this death upon him. For not caring today. I think I do a half-assed job all the time. Never taking full responsibility for anything. I don’t think I’ll ever get past this first first-hand encounter with death. We hadn’t even given him a name yet. I keep wanting to go back in time and get him back. I was his mom. I keep thinking maybe he’s going to just come prancing up to me again trying to bite my feet with his tiny puppy teeth. But he’s gone. Gone because I’m so irresponsible. Please Please pure-heart be happy wherever you are. Please forgive your bad mom.

    • Laura says:

      Saraswathi – I really feel sympanthy for you, because I’ve also had a similar experience today (some differences, but it also involved a car and I also feel some real guilt for what happened). I’m so sorry for your loss. Many hugs for you!!! I called a friend and talked to him about it right away….that helped…,I kept thinking all day, “if only I had done this…if only I had done that…how could I have been so forgetful and careless….” It will take some time for me to get over it. Like you all I want to do today is to somehow turn back time and do the day over again and get the dog back alive. Since that’s not possible, I’ve just had to make an agreement with myself and with the people in my life) that I will go on and do the important things I have to do, taking it day by day, starting tomorrow. I just wanted to let you know you are not alone today!

  5. adamspitler says:

    I have had to many tragedys with pets and people. Over whelmed with recent experience. Its brought me to a place of absolute agony with respect to guilt and remorse. It has shocked me to a point of disfunction and radical change at the same time.
    Guilt can destroy you. If You have to much

  6. Eric says:

    I took in a kitten a week ago, introducing her to my 8 year lab/border collie mix and my other year old cat. They started getting along remarkably a few days ago, the kitten even purring loudly when our dog would lick her.
    Yesterday I experienced a terrible accident. I was walking down the stairs and my kitten decided to follow. In her typical kitten fearlessness, she bolted down the stairs. In a freak occurrence, her head got right under my heel as I was walking down the next step. I ended up breaking her neck.
    I know this was a freak accident, but I still feel terrible. I only had her for a week, but she managed to work her way I into the hearts of my wife and me. I know the fact of how terrible I feel only goes to show how much love that little kitten had. I just wish that there was something I could do to take that moment back.

  7. Thank you for being here, and sharing how you’re dealing with guilt over your beloved animal’s death. It’s so difficult to cope with the grief of losing a dog, cat, or other pet — and when you feel like you caused the death, the grief and guilt can fee unbearable.

    I’m sorry for your loss. May you forgive yourself for the mistake you feel you made – and may you know deep in your heart that you would never have deliberately caused your pet’s death. It was an accident, and you would have done everything differently if you had known! Guilt should be for people who deliberately did something bad, not for people who unthinkingly or unknowing caused an accident.

    My prayer is for forgiveness, freedom from guilt, and a healthy grieving process. I know your pet forgives you, and is watching over you with love and compassion. Your pet wouldn’t want you to hate yourself. Forgive yourself, for your pet’s sake and your own sake.

    In sympathy,

  8. Sophia says:

    I left the window open on the second floor bedroom Sunday morning. I had a gut feeling that I should have closed it before I left the house, but I didn’t. During the 4 hours I was gone, my 3 year old orange tabby had escaped through the window by knocking out the mesh window panel. My husband and I found our cat below a neighbor’s truck in the evening by coincidence. He was bleeding from his mouth and had a puddle of blood in front of him. He meowed back so helplessly when I approached him. We took Elmo to the ER and found out he was suffering from pneumothorax and pulmonary contusions. He fought hard in the ICU until this morning (Tuesday) until 3AM when we had to say goodbye to him. We visited him 7 times between Sunday evening and this morning. I should have known better. I was his person, and I failed to protect him. He was only 3 years old. We were supposed to live a longer life, a much longer life. I love and miss Elmo so much. I don’t think I can ever fill this emptiness in my heart.

  9. Sarah says:

    I came home from work and I accidentally ran over one of my dogs. She was just a few months old. We own her parents and when we were burying her, her mom wouldn’t walk away from the box. She kept sniffing it and whining. When we were finished burying her, her mom wouldn’t walk away. She sat there and it made me feel so much worse. I understand that it isn’t my fault because it was an accident but I feel so horrible about it. I took a puppy away from her mom and I don’t know what to do. I feel like crap and I don’t know how to get over this.

  10. JERRY TENORIO says:

    My cat Tiny was 17 years old, she died last week, Sunday. She had a place under a sewing machine table where she had private time behind a box. She was having private time when the caregiver for my mom put boxes on both sides of Tiny, making her have no way out. She was pushed against the wall, and stayed there untill I got home about 3 to 4 hours later. She got sick immediately after that. She wouldnt drink, eat, or go to the “bathroom”. I took her to an emergency vet after about 2 days. They sent me to a specialist vet who tried to save her. They operated to find out what was wrong. She had to go on a respirator. She couldnt breath anymore and remained unconsience after the operation. I had to make the decision to put her to sleep. I feel angry at the caregiver, and myself for not coming home soon enough. The doctors at the specialist place said she was very sick for at least 3 months, and the incident set her off, they say she would have died, even without the accident. I cant live without her.

  11. Konstantin Petrenko says:

    My english bully had 5 puppies. One of them died just being 2 days old. The other one barely survived. I know its my fault, cause we got the warmer thing for them and someone put it to high and she overheated and passed. So tiny innocent and helpless and I didn’t notice it and I could have prevented it. She was the weakest one but still she was alive and okay before that. Everything happened so quickly.

  12. taylor says:

    Ok, so I need some help. I had a two pet mice, and both of them just passed. I know it was my fault. I have end of the year exams and I totally forgot about them. I gave them food and water probability around every other day, and my mother was yelling at me saying how I was neglecting them just yesterday. Now they are gone, how do I tell my mom? I feel awful. If only I had fed them, and actually took good care of them. Now I feel so gulty and embarrassed to tell my mother that they are gone. Can someone please help me figure this out?

    • Carrie says:

      Dear Taylor,
      First of all I am so sorry for your guilt that you are feeling. It can be really hard to remember to take care of the little animals when you are younger, they don’t yell at you like a cat or dog. My daughters had hermit crabs, similar situations. The only thing you can do is be honest with your mom and tell her what happened. You were studying, like a good student should, you lost track of time with caring for the mice and it happened. Just get it over with. She will yell and make you feel bad, that is a mother’s job at times, but in the end she knows it will be a hard lesson learned. I know it’s terrible to deal with the guilt, you feel so badly. I promise you will feel better soon. Good luck with your situation and take care!!

  13. Jodi says:

    We lost our little baby girl a little over a week ago. Her name was Matilda. She was a 18lb hound mix. My husband and I adopted her when she was just 10weeks old. I am a dog trainer/dog walker. I got home from work that night and brought Matilda out for a walk. We started to play on my street with come and stay. She was doing so great, so I decided to cross the street. We live on a side street, it was still light out and no busy traffic. Anyways, I crossed, Matilda was in stay, a car turned the corner, she jumped out and got run over. She was our life-our everything and more. My world. She came everywhere with us and did everything we did. I do not know how to forgive myself. She is dead because of my stupidity and carelessness. Matilda was only a year and a half old. I cannot get the awful images of her accident out of my head. I am disgusted with myself. I feel it should have been me and not her. All it took was that one second that I can never ever change. I loved her more than life itself. I don’t know how to live with myself. I have a family and a beautiful 7 month old son. I can’t stay focused because I’m miserable with this.

    • Jodi says:

      She was my everything and more. Matilda did everything and I feel like I killed my beautiful baby girl. What if she is scared? Where is she? She was just a baby and I wish more than anything I wasn’t so stupid! She should be here at home in bed with us. My life will never the same! Ever again! I love her so much. My life is shattered and and completely broken…I don’t know how to ever ever forgive myself. I feel like I can’t go on

  14. Lori says:

    The amount of guilt that I am feeling right now is taking over my existence. My eyes are swollen on a daily basis because tears continue to flow every waking moment. I’m not coping well. I cannot get the face and the actions of this little puppy out of my mind. Last night I took him out of his body bag that animal hospital gave to us and just cuddled his little body. I was begging God for a miracle and promising how I would do things differently. I confessed to the defenseless little puppy how sorry I was for not taking care of him when I knew he needed attention. Right now, I want to go home and hold his lifeless body again. I do not want to let him go. I cannot stop looking at pictures and videos of him. I keep hoping that I’m going to wake up and this is a dream. I feel like a murderer! I feel like a terrible nurse! I feel incompetent! I feel wasteful of my grandmother’s small income! I feel like I am guilty of animal cruelty! I feel like I’m a terrible mom! I feel like I’ve disappointed my children! I feel like I’ve destroyed one of God’s creations! I feel like a horrible Christian! I feel like a hypocrite to my employees! I feel like I should be punished and this unbearable grief is part of my punishment! I feel like such a failure to myself, my family and my God! I want so badly to do over what I’ve done and make it right! It hurts deep down into my bones, soul, and everything in me. I’m 38 years old and have never been so consumed by anything……………………………………………………………..

    7 days ago my grandmother brought a pocketbook into my office and said “give this to the girls (my 14 yr old twins).” I didn’t think much of it because she is constantly bringing things to me at my workplace (nursing home) while she is visiting with my grandfather who lives here at the nursing home. This time I was completely shocked when I opened the pocketbook because a tiny, tiny, tiny little puppy was enclosed. I didn’t really welcome the pup because I couldn’t believe my grandmother bought them a puppy without asking first. I asked her where she got it and she said she paid $200 for him at the pet store. She stated he’s the little runt of the litter and shouldn’t get much bigger (it was a teacup Chihuahua that was maybe a couple pounds at the most). I felt terrible that my grandmother who is on social security spent such a large portion of her check on this puppy for my girls. Needless to say, I did not mention my unhappiness with her random purchase. I embraced the little fellow and took him home. He really was the cutest!!! Everyone in the family loved him and the girls named him Bently. I went to Wal-Mart that night and purchased some can dog food for his nutrition. After eating the can food, he began to throw all of the food up and it was even coming from his nose, but I figured since he was so little all of the mechanism were closely together and didn’t think much of it. 2nd day Bently didn’t eat much, but did drink water. Later on he would throw it all up. I am a registered nurse and I knew with his small body weight that he would quickly go downhill without nutrition. 3rd day we went to Pet Smart and spoke with a salesman regarding him throwing everything up and he gave us formula, bottles, and nutrition supplements to aid in his care. Salesman said the dogs typically had a lot of anxiety anyway and probably the adjustment homes and he being handled by everyone contributed to his upset stomach. He said they needed to be kept warm & still for a while. We left out of Pet Smart with $168 worth of supplies to care for our new little addition. We did just as the Pet Smart salesman said, but unfortunately everything he consumed (water, formula, and puppy can food) would eventually come back up out his mouth and nose. Me being a nurse I wondered if he was or had aspirated the fluids and food. I felt so terrible for him and knew that we needed to take him to vet soon with him being so small. I delayed though… reason was because I was buy with life and the other because he was still producing urine so I though he was actually keeping some of the fluids down. I knew he could sustain without food, but not fluids. I almost wondered if he had a cleft palate in his mouth, but it was hard to tell with his small mouth. 4th day not much has changed from the previous days. Bently was still taking in a little food and fluids, but did throw up hours later through nose & mouth. It was pitiful because it was like he was choking every time the fluids or food came up, but once it was up he would be fine and go back to sleeping like a typical 6 week old puppy/baby. It was so hard to tell how much he should be consuming because he was so small. I even searched on the internet trying to see the amounts he should be consuming because 3 tablespoons was about all he would consume per occurrence. I thought that was a small amount of intake, but he was only about 2 pounds. His stomach felt full and he continued to have output so I left it at that. He would cuddle to keep warm, but I put him in a kennel at night with a plush bed and blanket because I was scared we would roll over and kill him in the bed at night with him being so small. 5th day I noticed him being a little more sleepy and thought he might be in a little distress due to his breathing patterns, but wasn’t for sure. He turned his nose to food, but would occasionally take in some water and he continued to have output. However, a new symptom came. Instead of food coming out his nose it was actually mucus and with the past occurrences I knew he did probably aspirate and developed pneumonia and would need antibiotic to resolve, but instead of taking him directly to the VET then……I sat on it. I remember my girls, my son and my husband saying ‘you need to take him to the vet” especially those last 3 days. When I went to bed that night I remember telling my husband “I hope he makes it through the night….If I don’t hear him whining during the night I’m going to be worried.” 6th day, 6am came and I was not woken up by his whining. My husband went to check on him, came back and shook his head that he didn’t think he was alive. I immediately went to the kennel, picked him up and began to rub and shake him. His body was limp, his head fell heavily to the side; however, he opened his eyes and whined still clinging to life. I brought him in the bedroom and my husband held and spoke to him while I was getting ready to take him to an ER Vet. My husband called around and found one didn’t open until 7 and one opened at 8. Bently would whine, but was unable to move. When my husband picked him up, he had not the strength to hold his little body together. Stupid me got in the shower at 6:30am, hoping to grab a shower and look presentable because I had an important meeting scheduled at work that I felt I must attend after I dropped him off at ER Vet. Instead of rushing him to the ER Vet and standing at the door waiting for them to open, I decided to jump in the shower possibly arriving a little after 7am to Vet while this helpless little puppy clanged to life. WHAT WAS I THINKING? I AM A NURSE! How vain and cruel am I to be drying my wet head hoping he’ll hold on when this little puppy was barely responsive? As the minutes ticked while I was drying my hair, my husband said “I’m going ahead and taking him because he’s not going to be able to hang on much longer.” My husband proceeded to ER Vet and quickly finished getting ready, told my girls to ride with neighbor to school because I was meeting daddy at ER Vet with Bently because he wasn’t doing well. My daughter then said to me “I told you should have already taken him to the doctor.” I was already crying and knew this deep down inside and my guilt then began to overwhelm me. My husband got to the vet at exactly 7am, but I keep thinking if I would have went straight there NOT TAKING A SHOWER maybe they would have arrived early and took him on back for treatment. The Vet told my husband it was a good thing he brought him because 30 more minutes later he wouldn’t have made it. Told my husband that the next 30 minutes was critical as to whether he would make it or not. Vet said Bently was cold and his temperature was not even registering on thermometer and they would need to start warming him. Vet said to call back in an hour to get status. I went on to that stupid important meeting I jumped into shower for and waited. My husband called in an hour, he was still alive and they had got his temperature up to 93. I was thinking thank God he made it thought the 30 minute crucial window. They asked us to check back in another hour for the status. My husband did and he was still alive, but was having a little trouble breathing so they started him on oxygen. They asked us, yet again, to call back in another hour, but we never got the chance to. 20 minutes after that last phone call, Bently arrested. They were able to bring him back, but then later he arrested again. The sweet little puppy who was so precious, defenseless, and perfect and who just wanted to be loved and cared for died 6 days after being in care of me. A NURSE who should have known better and DID KNOW BETTER! This precious creation of God could have been possibly saved if it was not for MY NEGLIGENCE! God gave him life and he flourished for 6 weeks under the care of someone else, but in ONLY 6 days I kill him. How horrible of a person I am! How selfish I was to put my needs before a puppy of which I chose to care for, knowing that his symptoms needed attention! That little defenseless puppy didn’t ask for us………we chose him! I am a nurse……..I should be saving lives not knowingly contribute to taking them! My husband keeps telling me that I didn’t know, I thought he was going to recover on his own, and I did take him to the vet. You don’t wait and take a small child to the doctor when they are on death’s door!!!!! I should have already taken him for care. My children heard their mother (who is a nurse) say……aspiration, pneumonia, distress, not eating, throwing up, can’t survive without nutrition at such a small weight. I KNEW, but just neglected to act until it was too late. I destroyed a gift that was given to me. I crushed the hearts of my children. Their mother who should be able to save the world failed! That little life not cherished but destroyed by me. Many people are saying that he may have already been sick or it was an accident or honest mistake and the outcome may have been the same. This is true and if that would have been the case I could live with that, but I didn’t even try until it was too late. If I would have taken him to the VET on the 5th day it could have made all the difference in the world, but I sat at home and didn’t really do anything. What was stopping me from taking him to the VET then? I just cannot understand my actions and what I was thinking! My guilt for this little puppy’s life is consuming me! I know it may be just a dog to some and many may not understand my despair after only knowing him for 6 short days. However, it is the PRINCIPLE of the story! I don’t know my patient’s I care for really. Does that mean I shouldn’t put their health as priority or react as quickly as possible to sustain their life? Of course NOT! I failed miserably and I cannot fix this. I can’t bring him back. I can’t have a do over. I took a defenseless life! I cannot see God’s lesson from this. I feel as though I will never overcome this grief and guilt! I have never wanted so desperately to make things right. I prayed and promised God if he would just make it through my negligent actions that I would never knowingly put his health at risk. I thought after him making it 2 more hours at the VET that we were home free. I was so excited to hold that little puppy in my arms and tell him how sorry I was for letting him suffer and not reacting when my training and gut feeling told me differently. Please help me dear readers. I can’t eat. I stay locked up in my room every evening with uncontrollable tears and when I finally cry myself to sleep, I wake the next morning with his innocent face in my mind and then the tears begin to fall again. I stay locked up in my office at work because I feel I have even failed my employees. They knew my puppy was sick. They came in everyday asking about his status and how he was doing and even they told me to take him to vet, but I didn’t! If one of my staff (nurses & CNA’s) had of sat on the care of one of my resident’s declining, I would have been livid for them not implementing actions sooner. The nursing state board would have seen it exactly as negligence and delay of care with marks against my license. I know this…….but what did I do? I sat on a declining patient so to speak! How can I honestly lecture my staff on proper implementation when I do not practice what I preach? My girls seem to be okay, but in the back of their mind my negligence (the mother & the nurse) will always be there. Will my guilt and grief ever be resolved?

    • Lori says:

      I just cant understand why I did not do something that night when I was wondering if he would even make it through the night. How stupid was I!!!!!!!

      • Carrie says:

        Dear Lori, i am so sorry for your horrible grief that you are feeling. You break my heart with how much you are blaming yourself. You obviously are an amazing person to be a nurse and you treat humans all of the time with the greatest care. This was an animal, you weren’t medically trained to know what was happening to your little puppy. Everyone on this page has done the very best with our furry friends. It sounds like your baby was very sick from the beginning and probably nothing you could have done better. My mind still races over the many animals that have come and gone in my 52 yrs. I loved all my babies unfortunately things happen and we can’t stop every scenario that comes into our lives. I truly believe in life after death ,even for pets. Too many signs have shown me this. Your little baby isn’t sick anymore and is running around happy and carefree. Please know that you did your best to protect your puppy and in times like these it’s so easy to blame yourself when we feel helpless with a terrible experience. God bless you Lori and take care

        • tabatha says:

          so so sorry for how you are feeling…..but i do understand …i feel exactly the same….read my story below …alot like yours…..prayers that god will help you through this….you are god,s creation and he loves you…..hugs

  15. tabatha says:

    last sunday i was so excited….my pitbull…the sweetest dog in the worldwho has never so much as growled at a person in all the years we had her had puppies….wasn,t planned….a stray got into my yard and i didn,t even know she was with pups until about 2 weeks because she was a big dog anyway….but i prepared for her.fixed her a box in my basement..5 days before she had them…came back from the store found 2 born….watched 2 be born 30 minutes apart….checked her later and found a fifth about 3 and a half hours later…i was so happy…she was such a good mother….amazing watching her clean them and break them outta their sacs and feed them….all was well….i had told her everyday since i knew she was with pups it,ll be ok….on monday i let her outside….she was fine…came back in….she still kept pushing and kinda snoring…and she was still big…i thought she was either contracting back…and sore…and really tired….but still called about 3 vets….2 suggested i come in…but wanted alot of money to do a c- section…..talked to 1 that he had seen pitbulls have a liter ,wait a week and have more….made me feel better…i thought that was probably why she was pushing and still big…on tuesday her poop wnt from black to brown and i pulled a thing from her that looked like afterbirth..i thought that was probably what was wrong…and she,d be feeling better soon…still eating,drinking and caring for puppies…on wednesday one of her puppies died and i found she had stillbirthed a puppy…she stopped eating….and couldn,t urinate…still drinking…i thought maybe she was still in labor was why she wasn,t eating…gagging at food…read things on internet and had some vets telling me things on phone but still believed that as long as she was getting this out she,d be ok…but called vet about 330….i live an hour away…they close at the pooring rain i leashed her and tried and tried to pull her to the car….she was very strong and refused…didn,t know how i was gonna get her up in my jeep if she was still with pups and sore…weighed at least a hundred pounds…so i decided i,d have to wait until next day…vet would be closing soon…and i didn,t know what to do about getting her in jeep when i couldn,t get her outta the yard…pulled her to the basement barely…went to get my child off the beus…mopped my kitchen..she,d leaked black stuff on it…vet said that was normal…she had a string of drool hanging from one side…looked so tired….my mother in law called and said she,d drive 4 hours from her house and help me get her in her car…and take her to the vet…my husband died 2 years ago and she was his dog so my mother in law wanted to help….that night she had another stillbirth…still i thought she was getting it all out but i was gonna take her to vet next day with or without mother in law…thursday…another puppy died….and i found her lathargic…i lifted her…and tried to get her to go outside…she loved outside…she tried but tripped over the kiddie pool…i helped her over to basement steps…i was histerical…she collapsed on the floor…i panicked and thought if she,s with pups their probably dead and i can,t hurt her anymore than she is…i picked her up and ran up the steps to the car…god and love had to have helped me do it…she weighed alot….but i rode the back with her…she was limber as a ragdoll….i kept petting her noticed black stuff coming from her mouth….her veins were throbbing in her head…she died almost halfway to vet…we stopped and checked her and cried…still preceded to the vet…they said she was septic and still had more puppies in her….we brought her home to bury her…i blame myself for not getting her to the vet sooner…same thing happened with my husband…i feel like i didn,t get him to the hospital on time…she had 3 puppies left….a friend kept them that night…but on friday she said they weren,t well …they wouldn,t eat and had diareah…i took them to the emergency vet but they had left after telling me they,d stay open….called 2 others….all saying they couldn,t help….i,d have to go hours away and spend humdreds of follars per puppy and still prognosis wasn,t good…i took puppies home..gave them pedialite and fed through syringe…honey for bacterial infections…stayed up for 27 and a half hours trying to keep them warm and fed…and loving on them….lost one early saturday morning…woke my daughter to help …i needed a nap ….she woke me 3 and a half hours later another died….the last one fought so hard…but he was dying in my arms last night….now i don,t know how i,m gonna deal with the grief and guilt i feel…with my husband or my sweet sweet dog…buried 8 dogs in 3 days….my heart is broken….and the blame is unbarable …rip lady capone and all your puppies.

    • Carrie says:

      Dear Tabitha, I recently found this blog because of so much guilt running through my brain over my lab passing away suddenly in August. I know how bad you are feeling right now, thinking you should have done this or that, but you have to give yourself that break and know you did do everything you could do to help your dog and her puppies. I have realized that some things are so far out of our control and that makes us feel so helpless for our babies. But reading other heartbreaking stories actually keeps reaffirming the fact that unfortunately events come into place that we can’t stop. You were so very brave and worked so hard to help her and show her that she was loved and cared for. In the end that’s so important. She knows that and I promise you she is with you right now and doesn’t have our memories of what happened. Only unconditional love for you. Please take great comfort in that. It has helped me a great deal. Bless you and your healing.

      • tabatha says:

        thank you so so much carrie :) you,re words are very comforting… so sorry about you,re baby….you,re kindness means alot….please pray for me,as i will be for you…that we can find peace ….hugs and god bless.

  16. Liz says:

    I’m still weeping in waves over putting my beloved house rabbit to sleep in early February of this year. I absolutely adored him and we enjoyed his company for almost 6 years. He’d had several serious bouts of illness – known as ileus – but I’d been able to pull him through with time and patience. He developed a new problem and the vet didn’t seem able to find the cause but suspected a dental issue so he did what he could in that area and addressed any other possible causes. My bunny tried to eat and couldn’t and was losing weight so he had to be syringe-fed and was on a few medications. I’d been very successful with this at other times but this time it was taking a lot longer and he was resisting or unable to swallow. At the same time, my daughter’s chinchilla was also sick and needing a lot of care, syringe-feeding as well as medications. She was unable to help me very much as she was busy with work and school, and I became overwhelmed with the hours spent syringe-feeding, medicating and cleaning up these two sick babies. The little chinchilla was showing signs of improvement, however, and was accepting the feedings. My boy was still having trouble and also requiring subcutaneous fluids. I lost it and took him to the vet and had him put to sleep. Every so often I’m stricken with guilt that I suspect he was actually showing signs of improvement but I was too tired and worried to see it and give the whole episode the proper perspective. I deeply regret not giving him more time and feel sick with guilt. I’m afraid I made that decision more for my own sake than his. But I did it and I have to learn to live with it. He’s gone and there’s no bringing him back. I know I need to forgive myself and sometimes I actually feel like I’m moving past it all, but then I get hit with another wave. Thank you for this article. It helps. By the way, the little chinchilla is doing fine. At least we didn’t lose them both!

  17. Laurie says:

    My condolences on your pet’s death. It’s so difficult to say good-bye to our furry friends who are like family to us…especially if we feel like we caused our cat’s death. Even if it was an accident, it’s so difficult to forgive ourselves and let go of the guilt.

    I pray for peace for your heart and soul. May you accept that it was an accident, that you would never have done anything to deliberately cause harm to your beloved cat! May you accept that you were innocent in the accident — and may you know deep in your soul that your cat forgives you. For some reason, it was time for your cat to leave you. For some reason, you were part of your cat’s death. My heart breaks for you, I can’t imagine the pain you must feel. But I pray that you find the courage and strength it takes to forgive yourself, and know that your beloved cat is resting in peace.

    Blessings and sympathies,

  18. linda says:

    last wednesday is a day i wish to god i could relive our precious little beatiful old lady who deaf left this earth because of me i knew to look un der the van before getting in to ,ake sure she wasn t there but i didn t that day i went to the store came home and evan went back to get things out of the van it wasn t until the next morning when my husband came sobbing down the hall syaing you ran over screamer we called her that because she was very vocal in a loving way i ran out to see her precios beautiful little head sticking ouit from under the van she was deaf and i liked to set under the van to look around she didn t want any part of staying in the house it took her a few years to stay at our house she was a neighberhood kitty i will never frgive myself my husband said toinght i killed her and he is right god knowa i would have never intentionally harmed a hair on her beautiful little precious head but i killed her i knew to look under the van and didn t do it oh god how i pray animals do go to heaven and she is there right now and happy she was anold lady who sure din t deserve to die that way i loved so much but it was no match for my careless ness that cost her her precious little life

  19. Ashley says:

    I am having a hard time dealing with my cat’s death. He is deaf and i didn’t see him under my car when i went to leave the house yesterday and i ran over him. I feel so guilty because it was me who killed him even if it was accidental. He just loved me so unconditionally and needed my love so much.

    • Carrie says:

      Ashley, I am so very sorry for your loss. I know how guilty you feel right now, but I promise you that your beautiful cat does not blame you for what happened. It was an accident. We try so hard to do everything right for our furry friends. In 2006 I did the exact same thing to my sweet loving 15 ur old cat. I knew how much he loved me unconditionally, I was devastated too. But I also came to understand that it was an accident, I never would have hurt him on purpose. So please know that your precious kitty still loves you and is probably with you right now as faithful as ever. God bless

  20. Laurie says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. Losing a pet is one of the most difficult things we face in life because they are so vulnerable, helpless, and dependent on us for everything. We love them so much, especially after they die…because only then do we realize how precious and short their lives are.

    My prayer is that you can forgive yourself for causing your pet’s death. May you find peace, freedom, and acceptance — and may you know that you didn’t purposely cause your pet to die! The guilt you’re feeling shows that you’re a loving, kind, compassionate person who would never harm an animal. It was an accident, and I pray that you can forgive yourself. Grief the end of your pet’s life, and know that if you could have saved your pet, you would have.

    In sympathy,

  21. nik says:

    Today my house rabbit had to be put to sleep. I’ve struggled with taming and bonding with him, unlike his buddy who is very affectionate with me, but I still love him very much.
    I tried a new tactic of giving more space to roam around the house today as he seemed to be a very agitated rabbit, i thought more freedom would help. However he sprayed and marked and pooped to mark his new territory.
    I tried to pick him up to return him to his cage and he struggled and nipped and scratched. I let him fall out of my hands, but stupidly tried to pick him back up and he did the same again. He was injured in the struggle and fall and hurt his back. I took him straight to the vet and after x rays they decided it would be best to put him down.
    I feel terribly ashamed, in shock, in grief and finding it very hard to deal with. It’s not the first time he’d scratched; he hated being picked up. I should have dealt with it better but it was a reaction and something I did and it caused him to become injured. I feel utterly sick at the whole thing and I don’t know how I can forgive myself and move on.

  22. Andrea says:

    Thank you all for sharing your stories. I lost my baby boy (a rescue sun conure parrot) this past Tuesday. I’m responsible for what happened and am having such an incredibly difficult time forgiving myself. I rescued Paco in 2007. He lived in bad circumstances. I fell in love with him the moment I saw him. I already had another sun conure parrot and he took him in as his brother. They adored each other. Paco for the most part always had health problems. God knows all the amount of time and money we spent caring for him and I would do it again and again. He was such a beautiful part of my life. Late 2014 to this year he continued to have health problems but seemed to get better. He wasn’t the same bird anymore, he was very lethargic, getting older I guess. However I truly let him down. I came him from work this past Tuesday and opened their cage. Juanito (my other parrot) likes to get out as soon as I get home he flies to me or gets on top of the cage. Sure enough Juanito flew to me right away (he’s fine nothing happened to him) I left the cage open (I wasn’t event thinking) this had to be for about 2 or 3 minutes. Paco was still in the cage and my dog got him out. I’m always so careful with things like that but that day I was neglectful. I came back to the cage and to my horror he wasn’t there. I went insane yelling and looking for him. When I found him it was too late my dog had bit him. I can’t seem to get through it or forgive myself. Yes he was ill and older but he didn’t have to die that way and the worst part is I’m responsible for it. If only I had done things differently that day, If I could only go back in time :( I sure have learned from this terrible neglectful mistake. I will never take my other bird out unless the dog is outside.

    I had my Paco for 8 wonderful years and we went through so much together. I love him more than words can say. HE knew I was his momma, but I let him down. I wasn’t there to protect him.I ask for your prayers so I can get through this immense pain. Being pregnant right now certainly makes me even more emotional. I would do anything to take it back, I would do anything to make it right and for him to still be here. I hope he forgives me and knows I would have never hurt him intentionally and that I would have done anything for him. I truly feel like I lost a person……to me he was my baby.

  23. Sara, thank you for sharing your experience with Lincoln. I’m sorry he died, and that you feel so guilty and responsible for his death. It’s so hard when we feel like we should’ve been there, should’ve protected our pets, and yet we let them down. Dealing with guilt when we caused our pet’s death seems unbearable and impossible.

    My prayer is that you find forgiveness. May you forgive yourself for whatever you think you did wrong, and may you know deep in your heart and soul that Lincoln forgives you too! He is happy where he is now, he’s not holding on to his earthly life. He has moved beyond that, and he wants you to move forward, too. He wants you to heal, and he wants you to live in the present with joy and peace. Lincoln is very happy where he is, and the last thing he wants is for you to be sad. He doesn’t want you to hate yourself!

    My prayer is that you find forgiveness and peace in your heart and soul. Take a deep breath, and know that things happened the way they did for a reason. May you accept and surrender the past, and move forward into the next chapter of your life with love, compassion, and a renewed dedication to life in its fullest. Amen.

    In sympathy and with blessings,

  24. Sara says:

    Hello. My 6 year old tabby cat, beautiful boy, died on February 19, 2015. The circumstances surrounding his death is very sad. I first got Lincon when he was 8 weeks old from a shelter (End of 2008) He was the only kitten looking up at me and my family with deep wantingness in his eyes. He picked us. We picked him. At the shelter I noticed he had some wheezing so I took him to the vet a few days later. Xrays were done and I don’t remeber what the vet exactly said, but i was under the impression that he was okay. The wheezing remained all his life. It’s confusing. When we first brought him home the house we lived in was spacious, he had enormous amounts of space to explore, he was a happy kitten. But then, he started to scratch the furniture and just because I had a friend who declawed her cats and they seemed ok my mom insisted that he be declawed. I was so ignorant. I did not even google what it would entail!! I sadly took him to another vet (I didn’t remain consistent on one :() and this vet was a jerk!!! He put a muzzle over lincons face causing Lincon to feel so fearful!. And I stupidly kept him there over night to get declawed. I HATE MYSELF. Anway, time went by and he seemed ok, he was pissed but he still had room to run, looking out windows, birds and squirrels kept him entertained. He would spend his days upstairs and then always come down to the basement where my room was when it was time for bed. Then my parents divorced and sold the house in 2010. I moved In with my mom in an apartment and during that time I was getting into a long distance relationship . Lincon was very sad about the house but he seemed to adjust ok because my mom kept everything nice and clean, he liked clean environments. I ended up leaving for 3 months to live In Italy (where my now-spouse lived) I could not enjoy my time there because I was so home sick and I didn’t bring him because i was just to terrified to put him on the plane. He pooped in my bed while I was gone and my mom yelled at him, he stayed under the bed for hours feeling so embarrassed. My. poor baby :( as I write this I feel like such a shitty mother. When I returned from italy, I ended up moving in with my dad (2012) because my mom wanted to live with her shitty boyfriend who I hated with a passion. So again another move for Lincon. This place was much smaller :( he hated it :( it wasn’t as clean and it was suffocating. I needed to get creative and get him cat trees, I had to always clean, I loved staying home with him and didn’t want to leave him ever, I wanted him always safe. I left for Greece for 3 weeks and when I returned he was rolling on me he was so happy, but my poor baby I noticed he had pulled out fur from behind his foot. He had seperation anxiety :( but my damn relationship was a long distance one and trying to balance the 2 was so hard. in 2013 I found an excellent vet who handled Lincon with care. He even took off his white jacket so Lincon could feel comfortable, (lincon remebered the white jacket from that cruel day he got declawed) This nice vet found that Lincon had a murmer :( I didn’t know what that meant at the time. We did x rays and blood work, everything seemed stable and I was told to monitor Lincon. Then things got more hectic with my relationship in 2014. I was in the transition of getting married and I would be living with my mother in law and she had dogs, :((( so I didn’t want to bring Lincon in an unknown environment until I was ready. And I didn’t want to leave him behind!! It was so heart breaking but what was I to do?? Stop my life and stay home everyday with my cat??:(( I had to leave to get married. Lincon stayed in Canada with my dad and brother and his 1 year old cat. I forgot to mention my brother moved into that small apartment and also got a kitten and even though Lincon liked playing with The kitten I noticed his behaviour began to change, the place was just too small, he even attacked my brother once but instantly felt bad after and tried to cuddle up to him. It was all confusing. I knew the apartment would be nowhere near as clean and good as I would have left it, I had a bad feeling leaving him but everyone thought I was crazy about my cat and that he would be okay! Everything would be ok they said! I was ready to get him after 4 months :( my papers were ready and I was allowed to travel back home. I should Baught a return ticket right away! but I waited a few more weeks I HATE MYSELF, poor planning and things were coming up. I forgot to also mention that During the time I was gone, I skyped Lincon a few times, I would have preferred to do so everyday but my brother wasn’t reliable. I was eager to get back home and take him to his annual check up, I was months behind due to poor decision making and financial bullshit. One week before my flight home, (I had arranged for him to be on my return ticket and Baught him the best kennel) one week before my flight home he had a heart attack at 2 am. Sitting on his Favorite couch :'((( my brother said he was sleeping and then heard him meowing and ran to him, he then watched him die within seconds :((((((((((((( he said there was nothing he could have done. They drove him to the vet hospital and said Lincon could not be revived :((( I was so eager to come home and see him and show him that I would be back. Everytime I left I would make a special voice like a signal to tell him I would be back :(( I didn’t get the chance to see his face in person. And he didn’t see mine. I miss his purrs and paws and the special attention he would give to me and only me. I have so much regrets and what ifs, I feel like my absence sped up his death because he missed me too much, Every morning I wake up with my heart racing. with his fragile condition I should known to have given him a better life. I was ignorant. I thought he was young and that I still had time. Our bond was so special, he was my first pet. I got him for my 20th birthday, I am now 26. I was really hoping Lincon would stay with me until I was atleast 35 :( I miss him incredibly, the last time I saw him was October 11 :((((( I keep remembering that moment when I said bye to him, I wish I could TURN BACK TIME. I miss his beautiful presence. I just hope he is not mad at me and doesn’t think I abandoned him. I hope he knew in his heart that I would come back. I hope I didn’t send him telepathic negative energy while I was gone which sped up his heart condition. Because while I was gone I was having so much chest pain from the seperation anxiety and the whole transition was unbelievably stressful, i was fighting with my husband, I had to find a better home for him before transporting him over. I had all these things planned and then one week before my flight home..literally 7 days, he died. I cant beleive it, my baby, I wanted to prove to him that I would be back, to open the door and finallly have that moment of relief. I never got the chance. And I blame myself. Poor decision making. the last months of his life and I wasnt there. I hate myself.

  25. Laurie says:

    Thank you for being here, and sharing how you’re dealing with guilt about causing your dog’s death. It’s painful to read what you went through – and I know that experiencing it is a far more difficult. I’m so grateful that you made the effort to relive your experience by telling it here, because writing about it is emotionally healing. It may not feel like it, but writing down your story is cathartic – it helps you process the pain and grief, and deal with the guilt you feel about your dog’s death.

    Sharing your story of how your dog died also helps hundreds of readers a day, and shows them they’re not alone. This is more important than you realize.

    May you find peace as you grieve your loss. May you forgive yourself for whatever mistakes you made, and may you accept that for some reason it was your dog’s time to leave this earth. Accept peace, forgiveness, and freedom from beating yourself up for the way your dog died. There IS peace, forgiveness, and freedom for you — you just need to practice opening your heart to it, and letting yourself accept that this is the way it was meant to be. Your dog forgives you, and would never want you to suffer. God forgives you, and would never want you to suffer. May you find the strength and courage it takes to forgive yourself.

    In sympathy,

    • Monica Garlington says:

      Laurie, your words in your response were so full of wisdom and so comforting. They brought tears to my eyes. We all have to continue to work on forgiving ourselves as we grieve. Thank you.

  26. Devon Darsey says:

    Our beloved family dog of 9 years died today. I was pulling into our driveway and him and the other dog were playing like they always did and Skeeter ran under my vehicle. He has never done anything like this. I am feeling so much pain and feel like I killed him! This is so heart wrenching! We all loved this dog deeply and I don’t know how to cope with this horrible ordeal. He was the best dog I have ever had. Lost my father last month and my beautiful Skeeter the next. 2015 has not been very good so far. I wish I could put this day in reverse .

    • Sue says:

      My heart goes out to you, so sorry for your loss but what happened to Skeeter was a terrible accident please don’t blame yourself, in time you will remember the good times and know that you made Skeeter’s life a good and happy one, So many animals are treated badly and not as the beautiful companions they are, you are hurting because you loved and cared for Skeeter, I send you my love and hugs.

  27. neji says:

    i feel guilty because its my first time to have my shih tzu give birth. after a while, i give all proper care. but i didnt know that i am giving too much heat to its puppies. i heat them through a bulb light hanging above them for about 5 inches away. as i search from internet the possibilites of death i saw its dehydration due too much heat. i felt really bad and guilty about it. from 5 cute puppies, down to 3. it was so devastating giving all my time but one mistake ruine it all. it so sad for me,

  28. Carmen says:

    My dog Lilly died yesterday. My Labrador retriever became very ill 3 weeks ago, and after several trips to the vet, we figured she had a mass on the abdomen area, the size of a tennis ball. The vet said it was most likely a tumor and that she probably have a couple of weeks to live.

    My dog was perfectly fine a month ago and now all of the sudden she was dying??..I was in total denial..
    At her age, almost 11, my dog was too old for an exploratory surgery or an operation to get this tumor removed. The cost of that was not affordable either. I had the feeling that my dog and I were falling in a deep hole with no chance, not even one light of hope out there.

    I have 3 kids ages 9, 7 and 5 and keeping up with school, homework, sick days and other stuff that were going around, made this whole process very stressful. All I wanted was time to find a cure for my baby. So I looked online and googled things, like holistic care, how to cure cancer, how baking soda and maple syrup can heal cancer; something called the Kelmun Protocol..and that last one called my attention the most.. in one of the videos I found, a man was actually saying that this protocol can be used by any living thing, as he was holding his cat.
    Immediately I prepared this for my Lilly. I did 1 tablespoon of baking soda combine with maple syrup. 2 times in one day, and the next day I gave her only one dose but I gave her only one teaspoon of baking soda this time.
    The next night Lilly started crying. I must say that BEFORE this treatment, Lilly never cried or whine..she seemed uncomfortable and lethargic at a times but she had no other complains. 3 days ago when the vet examined her and touched her abdomen she said my dog did not show signs of pain.
    My husband at home mentioned that now Lilly seemed bloated. And then I knew that the baking soda actually made things worse.. Talking with my husband that night, we decided that our dog was suffering too much of this disease so yesterday we took her to the vet to euthanize her.
    I am so inconsolable, I am pulling my hair, cannot eat and I am seriously getting depressed. I am so sure that in my attempt to save my dog’s life I ended doing the opposite. This feeling is going to stay with me matter what ..
    I am 100% responsible for rushing things this way and made my dog in so much pain.
    She was like a daughter to me.. how could I forgive myself for this error.
    I feel so stupid. I am shaking right now in anger to myself. I am reviewing everything that I did in my mind, as if I could change and stop the moment I pour that in her mouth.

    My dear Lilly, I deeply lament what I did to you.
    I did not try to purposely harm you baby…I thought I was doing right. I wanted to keep you cozy, taking care of you and being there at the first sign of discomfort. I am so sorry that you are gone now..and I will never see you again.. This is a real nightmare.

    • Sue says:

      Please don’t beat yourself up for loving your dog so much you would try something you trusted would help and not cause her pain. I am sure dogs know and understand more than most of us ever realise Lilly would have known her time to move on was due maybe she cried to let you know it was time to let go and to give you the strength to make that final loving decision for her.

      • Carmen says:

        Thank you very much for your words Sue. It is almost a month since my dog Lilly departed and many thoughts about her last days are still fresh on my mind. But I do think that things move on in a new direction now. I know I need to pay attention to my health and to try healing from the heart wounds cause it makes me depressed and I don’t want that. I have 3 young children that REALLY need me. and somehow..I feel that Lilly is telling me to take a break and focus on them.

    • Tamara says:

      I know how you feel. When my dog got sick I made a vet appointment for him for the next day…he ended up getting really sick throughout the night and passed the next morning but I attempted to give him antibiotics that I had from months earlier for him and I keep wondering if that made him worse or if he was really that sick. It happened almost 9 months ago but I still feel extremely guilty. I know I made him a vet appointment but I should have called the emergency vet when he was getting worse- he was panting a lot and very lethargic through the night. Most of all I regret not paying close enough attention to his health…I should have brought him to regular vet checkups and maybe whatever he had could’ve been caught and treated. Now I’ll never know exactly how he died and I’ll always feel like it’s my fault. It really is my fault though – I should have been a better owner. I loved him so much…after he passed I cried for weeks and fell into a deep depression. Although I don’t cry non stop anymore I still think about Ziggy every day and it still breaks my heart. Like tonight for example…I’ve been feeling depressed about Ziggy today and I came to this site because it does help a little bit. The pain somewhat lessens but it will always hurt…it’s probably the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through.

      • Carmen says:

        Tamara, it is true that is very hard for us when our pet companions leave us. We feel guilty for what we didn’t do for them or if we unintentionally cause more pain or hurt them somehow. But, now.. after almost a month since Lilly departed I think that I can see other things too….I can embrace memories of her happy moments and times we enjoy playing or eating a favorite snack… I know you have those memories with Ziggy too. I think it is a good way to start the healing process. We can then create a new place for them in our hearts that we can see from a loving perspective with no pain or sadness. I am sure our pets love that, cause remembering them this way is to relive them, to experience again in your imagination, so clearly that the same emotions you felt in the past are felt over and over…our pets then will be forever with us. All we need to do is to remember them.

    • Carrie says:

      Carmen, I just found this website because I have been feeling so much guilt over my 8 yr old lab that died unexpectedly in August. Pretty close to the same situation as you, our dog we think had an adrenal tumor. It happened so fast. After reading your story I have tell you that I promise you 100% that you did everything you thought was right for Lilly. We all do what we think is the best at times like that. It’s something that we can’t control. You and I have played things over and over in our heads, but we need to play the parts where we DID do what any good parent would do by loving and caring faithfully for our girls. I am so glad I found this website and read your story, though heartbreaking like mine, it was nearly identical. Our dogs knew and still know how much we loved them and that they were happy and well taken care of. I know my girl is still with me as Lilly is with you. They still love us unconditionally. Please take comfort in that.

      • Carmen says:

        Dear Carrie, thank you so much for taking the time to read my story. It has been already a month since my Lilly departed and in my head I still have echoes of her last days with us. I am now trying not to focus on the details of her passing though, but the bright happy moments we spent with her. I think Lilly will be glad to know that I remember her this way. She will be in my heart forever as well as I am sure you will keep your sweet doggie on yours.

  29. James says:

    Two months ago, I was walking my 2 year old working cocker off the lead (like I always do) in the fields around our house. It was very cold, and George (my dog) went on some ice on a pond that he would usually swim in in the summer (not very big). I through a big stick from a distance and it created a small hole in the ice and George went after the stick and got stuck under the ice. I ran into the pond trying to break the ice, but it scared George and he swam the other way and I couldn’t reach him, so he drowned. We had to drain the pond the next day to retrieve him. We buried him the next day. I miss him so much and blame myself for throwing the stick – we used to play that game all the time. I’m so sad and feel like I have lost my shadow. He was by my side all day as I work from home. I miss him so much.

  30. Tamara says:

    I wrote on this page about 8 months ago after the passing of my 6 year old dog, Ziggy. After he passed I had to go on anti- depressants and I was starting to feel better, I was actually doing ok for awhile. Now the past few months I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it again. I still feel so guilty. I just keep thinking of the last night I had with him…he was laying on the floor next to the bed panting. I kept my hand on him the entire night. I kept falling in add out of sleep…I woke up around 6 in the morning and somehow drifted back to sleep…when I woke back up 15 minutes later I looked over and noticed he wasn’t panting. Then I realized he was dead. At that moment I knew I would never be able to forgive myself. I knew there was something wrong and I had a vet appointment for that day day but I SHOULD have called the emergency vet when he just laid there panting. I can’t get that morning out of my head…looking down at his lifeless body. It breaks my heart wondering if he was in a lot of pain because of his panting or if he was just hot. I know dogs pant for a variety of reasons. I feel so guilty because instead of rushing him to the vet I basically gambled with his life…I feel like I just let him die. It makes me feel like such a horrible person and I failed him. He was only 6 years old. I feel like while he was on the floor taking his last breaths he was wondering why I wasn’t helping him…I was sleeping. I really will never forgive myself. I just hope he knew that I loved him. Sometimes I took him for granted and now I wish more than anything I could just have some more time with him. He was such a good dog and he loved us. Now that he is gone I question whether I wss even a good owner to him. I took care of him and gave him attention but I feel like sometimes I was too distracted by life and didn’t give him all the attention a dog really needs. My husband and daughter gave him a lot of attention but I should have walked with him more, played with him more, fed him healthier food and most of all I should have paid better attention to his health. I should have brought him to vet for check ups a couple times per year but I didnt…maybe he had a disease or sickness that could have been helped with medication. Why didn’t I pay closer attention to my dogs health? Granted I didn’t realize how sick he was until the last night I had with him but still. It drives me crazy and it breaks my heart. I should have been a better owner. I just hope and pray that he was happy and knew I loved him.

    • jane gee says:

      Tamara. What you are going through is dreadful but i think it is completely normal to relapse after a period of time. I too am struggling exactly as you explained many months after a tragedy. Like you i go through the same feelings – “if only id spent more time playing with him, got him to the vet” etc etc. I think even if we had both been our idea of the Perfect Pet Owner we would still be giving ourselves a hard time for not doing enough. After you lose someone it is the missing of the opportunity to do all these things that makes the hole in our life feel so big. I imagine everyone on here wishes they could just go back- a few minutes, a few hours, whenever- in order to “do things differently”. Likely as not the outcome would have been the same but we cant help wondering, but that thought process will make you ill. Its hard but you have situation and try to find comfort from the memories of the time you had together. Think of all the positive interactions you had together- maybe the day you got him, the christmases he had….
      Im pretty sure, because you are even bothering to write about your trauma, that you were indeed brilliant pet owner. Your dog was lucky to have you and your family in his life. So many dogs are mistreated or neglected and never get the joy out of life i bet he got, so he was one of the lucky ones.
      We can kick ourselves forever on the “what ifs” and “if onlys”. Hindsight is a wonderful thing. Not.
      I dont know if we will ever feel normal again after such a loss, i’d like to reassure you that time is a healer- you will not ever forget but it will not feel so sharp and distressing when you do think on it as time progresses.
      It might help to find an outlet for your grief. Personally i campaign for animal welfare- it gives me a purpose when i feel the dark thoughts of not feeling worthy of living.
      Finally, im sure you know this, your pet is at peace now. He is not in pain or suffering now. Im pretty sure he wouldnt have wanted you to go on feeling that way on his behalf now he has passed.
      with empathy. J

  31. bbebe says:

    I decided to have my dog Moose put to sleep, he had liver, kidney & pancreas failure. I tried to save him & now I feel like I killed him. He was the first dog I ever had put to sleep. He was 14 years old, he was my everything, I feel lost without him & I wished I could be with him. I don’t know how to cope with this please help. Thanks.

    • jane gee says:

      bbebe i am so sorry for your loss, you have lost a close companion and that is a gap that cant be filled by anyone or anything else. But your pet was suffering organ failure and if you hadnt have done what you did he would have endured far more pain and suffering. You spared him all that, so he was able to have an enjoyable life and not end it in a terrible way. I wish we could all go that way but hey! humans cant be put out of their misery (yet). You have nothing to feel guilty about but you are suffering grief- you’ve just had to say goodbye to someone who has been in your life for years. Dont matter that it wasnt a human (i have more animal friends than human ones, the grief on losing one is exactly the same). Grief takes time. Allow yourself to be sad and miss him, and, over time (yep time IS a healer) you will remember more of the good times you had together and less about the last few days. But it will be raw for a while. My sympathy.

  32. Pam says:

    I’m so sorry for the loss of all your pets, and like you all I too am struggling with guilt, believing I killed my beloved McDermott!!
    I only ever feed him a seed diet and though I knew fresh fruits and veggies were good for him, I believed that a seed diet was ok..
    Last year around this time he suffered what I believe was a night fright (common to cockatiels,) he was out of his cage and the room wa dark, I was asleep and woke up to his fluttering noise..
    I called my friend who looks after him when I’m away and also works at the avian vets office. She told me to look after him overnight and bring him in to vet in the morning.
    He stayed in the hospital for age days, was on oxygen and had tests done.
    The vet believed he suffered a stroke, but said he’s heart was fine. I took him home and didn’t do anything different..oh, I did add Pomagranite juice to his water on the advice of the vet. He kept having small seizures, but I passed them off as night frights, as he seemed ok after a few minutes, but sometimes he did appear dazed and I guess I was in denial???
    In early Dec/2014 he had a big seizure and I could no longer ignore them as he’s little heart would race like crazy..
    I know this is long, but I feel so guilty that I killed him!!!
    The dr put him on meds and said that his heart was enlarged, I was horrified as in Feb his heart was fine, we changed up his diet …adding supplements, and resveratrol to his water and he was doing fine, I had him on a diet and gave him leafy vegs and other vegetables, but in early jan he had another seizure. He’s appt with dr was jan 13/15 and she was pleased with his progress, she said he’s murmur was still there, but no worse!!! I had hope and he had another small seizure, but I thought maybe he wasn’t always getting his meds on time was the cause, as u work 12hr shifts..
    I tried not to let him fly as much but he would pace if I didn’t let home out!!
    Anyways, Jan 31/15 he took his last fly, I redirected him as I did before and he found a place to perch and then I thought I better put him back in his cage, and just as I was about to do so, it seemed he just floated to the floor and died!!!
    I’m heart broken, believing I should have know better in Feb and I souls have taken him to vet a lot sooner than Dec and I souls have provided a better diet for him starting in Feb!!
    I can’t change his death and I’m great full for all the stories I read, but I feel so responsible for his death….it’s horrible!!
    Thank u all for taking the time to read this very long post, but I needed to get this off my chest!!!
    Bless all of you animal lovers out there!!
    God forgive me and McDermott, I pray for your forgiveness!!!
    I love u so much!!! Xoxo your human mommy!!!

  33. Brittany says:

    Today I killed my puppy Sherlock. I was getting ready in the morning and decided to let both my dogs out while I took a shower. We live out in the woods so I know I shouldn’t leave them out for long because of coyotes but nothing had ever happened in the morning so I took a shower and got ready. I got so wrapped up in my morning routine that almost 30 minutes had gone by since I let them out. I went go let them back in but only my dog Bubbles was waiting at the door. She kept crying and running around so I followed her, calling out for Sherlock. She finally led to where he was and he was limp and dead. I had let them out so many times before and had always assumed nothing happened in the mornings and there he was, dead. He had gotten bitten by a coyote and looked like he had just died. I keep telling myself how I shouldve checked or how I should’ve kept them inside. I’ve been crying for so long already and I feel awful. I was so preoccupied with myself that I didn’t even check on them. My brother and mom don’t know yet and I feel like they’re going to hate me when they find out, because I was so reckless.

  34. Maria says:

    Three days ago my 9 month old French bulldog, my beloved Vanilla died because of me.. I left the gate open even though I knew she would run out, and even though I knew she always jumped over passing cars.. I was in a hurry I wanted to go in the house and leave some things and I never returned to close the gate because I thought that I would pick her up after two minutes.. Only those minutes were enough.. She went by the gate and when a car passed by she jumped over it and killed her.. I went out to bring her in and found her dead.. I have three kids, they adored her, and I’ve made everyone so sad.. They keep telling her how much they miss her and my boyfriend is very angry at me.. I have to mention that this was not the first time I was leaving the gate open, and he was always telling me that this would happen.. How am I not to blame tell me? I feel terrible I’ve caused everyone so much pain, not to mention my little doggie who had to pay the price for being irresponsible?

    • what2donow2 says:

      Maria- I am so sorry for your loss. I live in a house in the country, too. I am almost 1/4 mile from the main road, but one day when I let my puppy off the lead, she took off for the road, outran me and was hit and killed instantly. It has been 3 weeks and I am worried my husband may divorce me and that I may never forgive myself. I am sure we have both learned a deeply painful lesson. Good luck to us both.

  35. Mary says:

    I sit here now typing this feeling so much pain and guilt. My beloved little girl has been with me 23 years and there is nothing I wouldn’t do for her, and, in doing what I thought was right, I inadvertently brought her to the point where I most likely will be having her euthanized and I don’t think I can ever forgive myself. My kitty is old, in her 23rd year, and she has lived a long life. However, as she grew older I was scared to put her in the carrying case and bring her to the vet for fear her heart would give out. She stresses out so when in the case and at her old age I didn’t want to do anything to hasten her death. She has been doing fine, eating well. I’m aware that her kidneys are failing and at her age, there is nothing that can be done about it. She has never liked being held. When my son was here he used to hold her and I would clip her nails. When he left, I had no one to help me. I tried, but she screamed so and pulled her paw away that I thought she would hurt herself so I let it go. She was getting around well, was scratching her rug, batting her balls around so I never thought anything was wrong. Then this past week she got up and could barely walk. Her back legs are weakening but when I felt her front paws I was horrified. Her nails were so overgrown. I feel so bad and find myself crying and wish I could go back and do it all over again. I know now they would have to put her to sleep to fix them and at her age, she probably won’t wake up. I’m feeling so much pain and guilt over this. She has been my best friend for 23 years and I feel I have let her down. My heart is breaking. I did what I did because I loved her so much, and now I realize in loving her, I was only hurting her. Thanks for giving me this opportunity to share and I understand if you feel I am a bad pet owner.

    • Sue says:

      you are not a bad pet owner, you are a loving pet owner, you made decisions based on love and only with hindsight do they seem wrong. Is it not possible for the vet to come to you and to give a sedative rather than anaesthetic?

  36. Amber says:

    I’m pretty sure that it was my fault my dog Shiloh died. It was December 5, and my dog was in my room sleeping on my bed. I had left an open bag of Chex Mix on my bed, and it had about one third of the Chex Mix still in the bag. I left my room to do something on my mom’s computer. Then I went outside to see if the cat who had just began randomly visiting our porch was outside, and she was, so I let her inside and played with her for awhile. I then let the cat outside and watched tv in the living room. I was gone from my room for a long time, probably about 2 hours. It was about 1 in the morning, and I finally went back to my room. I opened my door and I see my dog lying on the floor with the empty bag of Chex Mix over his head. I completely froze, and then I went to pick him up, with the slight hope that he somehow fell asleep like this. When I realized that he wasn’t moving, I started screaming so loud and I ran to my mom. That was the worst and most tramautic moment of my life. I was screaming, crying, pulling my hair, pacing back and forth, and I couldn’t even tell if it was real or not. I completely blame myself for what happened because I knew that the Chex Mix was on my bed, and I knew he was in my room. I think I just assumed he wouldn’t eat it. Something as simple as putting the bag away, leaving my door open, or checking on him could’ve saved him. It was the most careless and stupid mistake I’ve ever made. And I miss my puppy so much. I’ve had Shi shi since the day he was born: December 22, 2010 and I watched him grow up. He honestly was the best dog in the world, and I told him that every single day. He was so beautiful and happy and full of energy and he meant everything to me. I loved him so so much. There was so many things to love about him. I would cuddle him every night as I fell asleep. He was my baby, my entire world. Now, almost a month later, I still miss him terribly and I haven’t fully accepted the fact that he’s really gone. I still can imagine him everywhere in the house. I’ve told my friends about this, and they tell me not to blame myself because I didn’t know it would happen. But I feel like the whole time I was away from my room, my gut was telling me to at least go check on him, to go back to my room, or that something just felt wrong. I ignored it however, and didn’t even go back. And while I was playing with the cat, I knew I should’ve checked on him, but I assumed he was fine and kept on playing with the cat. It was as if I chose the cat over him, my own puppy. I keep imagining that day and how I could’ve done something to change it. There’s still so much pain and guilt that is so indescribable, sometimes I just break down and cry and it feels like I can’t breathe. It was worse the few days after it happened. I didn’t want to sleep or eat, and my 15th birthday was 3 days after it happened and I struggled to enjoy it. I just don’t know if I’ll ever forgive myself for what happened. There have been so many times where I wished it happened to me instead of him. And today is 4 years since his mom died, which I also blame myself for since I had left chocolate out and she had eaten some of it. I literally made the same mistake twice, and such a stupid and careless mistake at that. I feel like a horrible person and I don’t know if I’ll ever come to terms with what I’ve done.

    • jane gee says:

      amber, i had to reply cos you are so young to be going through this and i am a 40 year old woman crying into my laptop cos i am in pain over the loss of my own “baby” two years ago.
      if i still feel this bad i guess it must be nearly impossible for you to see a way forward right now.
      i am struggling to see a positive way forward for myself but i want to offer you this bit of advice cos you have so much life left to do good stuff i think you should hold on to that thought.
      So- you made a mistake and wish to god you could turn back time, do it all again differently? Me too. But the reality of life is it only goes in one direction. You need to know that the couple of years you had your pet were probably the best of his little life. Imagine if he had been rehomed to some scumbag who neglected him instead? He had a good life with you. Short but good. Thats what keeps me going with my guilt over my pet.
      You can do something good out of this bad. For example try helping a local dog charity- helping all those dogs unfortunate enough to have a neglectful owner rather than a loving owner. I find campaigning for animal welfare gives me purpose, a bit.
      If you try to do something positive for animal welfare then, in the future, you will look back on this time in your life and know that you learned a terrible lesson but you did your best to make good for others out of it.
      hope that helps, you probably dont want to feel helped, but you can accept forgiveness, i know you probably wont forgive yourself but, when you are ready, put that caring compassionate side into doing good for other pets and you may find you can live with what happened more easily.

      • Amber says:

        Thanks so much, Jane. And I’m sorry for your loss. I’m still struggling to accept and move on from what happened. Instead of feeling depressed I try to feel grateful for having him in my life, and imagine all of the memories I had with him. It’s almost been 2 months and it still hurts so much more than anything but I’m trying my hardest to keep going and hope to have so much to look forward to. And I like your idea of helping a local dog charity. My friend and I are going to be volunteering at a pet care place soon, maybe that might help.

  37. Sarah says:

    I caused my beloved cat of 14 years death 2 days ago. He had lived with a few different dogs throughout his life and wasn’t afraid of them. He was the coolest cat. I adopted a young adult coonhound. Had the damn dog for less than 24 hours before he killed my sweet cat. I was told by the rescue that the dog was crate-trained and good with other animals, that he was fostered with a cat. When the dog saw my cat, he was very excited, my husband had to hold him back and we both thought that his prey drive might be too much for our household. He slept in his crate fine the first night. So when we left for the farmers market the next morning, we put the dog back in his crate with new chew toys in a room with French doors. I moved all my cat’s essentials up stairs. I had the thought to shut my cat in the spare bedroom with his essentials, but decided against it – the dog was in his crate. We were gone for 2 hours. When I came back, the dog was at the door. Crap!!! He busted out if the crate. I sort of laughed at him and showed my husband who was getting our toddler son out of the car. I headed toward where the crate was and could smell cat urine. I walked around the corner and oh my god, there was my poor cat’s lifeless body!!!!! The dog killed him. The dog that I brought home, killed him. I keep replaying the scenario over and over. My cat’s death was totally avoidable. I did not protect him. I keep praying he did not suffer. I hate myself for this.

    • Monica says:

      I am sorry to hear about the loss of your beloved cat. On Dec. 26th I was home and had put my two parrots in each of their cages. I was watching my neighbor’s two dogs at my house. They would stay at their house and I would bring them over to mine at night. Bobo, a mutt, and Chloe, a golden doodle, were intrigued by my Maestro, a Black Cap Lory. she was between 16 and 17 years old. I’ve had her for 16. Maestro must have put her beak between the bars and Bobo bit her beak right below her cere (nostril) and damaged the lower beak too. He must have pulled her at the same time too because he head was at the bars a little bit. She screamed and I jumped up, put the dogs in the kitchen, put the gate up and got Maestro out of her cage. I was holding her at my chest. She was having difficulty I think because she must have been bleeding some inside her back, going down her throat. He had damaged her lower beak a little bit too. I think she hurt her neck some too. She probably was in shock too. I called my vet, it was about 12 at night, and it went to her voicemail. I called the regular emergency vet and they gave me another avian emergency vet and it went to her voicemail but I couldn’t leave a message because her voicemail was full. Maestro died probably about a half hour afterwards. My other neighbors came over when I called them. I felt so stupid. I’m usually so careful. I knew Bobo had kiilled some possums in his back yard and a neighbor’s cat that got into his back yard (one hat he used to sleep with) but I thought my birds were ok because they were in their cages and I had put two gates up against Maestro’s cage too. I am trying very hard to forgive myself. It comes and goes. It’s the reliving of the event that causes such grief, If only I had done this, if only I had looked at Bobo for what he was, a hunter with an instinct to kill smaller animals. The night before had been just fine. I purchased two books on line. One is a 2014 edition called the grief recovery handbook for pet loss. Another is a pet loss companion handbook. I have more that I got from the library. I think the key is to read and grieve. I should be reading more or keeping the book with me so that I can try to look at things in a different perspective when I resort to beating myself up. We never would harm our pets or put them in harms way if we knew that they were in danger. My sister is from Newtown CT where they had the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary. Her friend’s daughter was killed in the shootings. She was 6. My sister’s friend told her that God intended that she have 6 wonderful years with her daughter. She just didn’t know that that was his plan. For some reason this gave me some solace. We can’t always control everything – like death. sometimes death of a loved one comes and we couldn’t control it. I think faith plays a role in this. The books are helping me and good friends that are supportive and patient with you while you take the time that is needed for you to grieve. Nobody should minimize your grief or the time that it takes for you to grieve. Don’t forget all the love you gave your pet and the wonderful life that he had with you all those years.

      • Jessica says:

        I am so sorry to hear about what happened with your bird! Your reflection on the situation is so important, though, and very helpful to many of us who are still struggling with guilt over similar situations.

      • Sarah says:

        Our situations are different, yet similar. Thank you for sharing your perspective. I also bought a book to help with my guilt and grief. My mom gifted me a lovely necklace that holds a very small amount of my cat’s ashes. Might seem odd to some, but I feel better with a piece of him close to my heart. I want to send you and all the other folks grieving their pets loss, healing and warm thoughts. Cherish the good times we all were lucky enpugh to have.

    • holly says:

      Hi Sarah
      I am heart broken for your loss because the reason of your sorrow and guilt is so similar to mine: the death was totally avoidable if we had not vetoed our first thought. my mind keeps replaying the “if only” scenario”. I hope you feel better now and the dog makes up for his offense by being the best dog to you.

  38. Mary says:

    Since spring I was feeding a stray male cat. I remember seeing him last year and he had an owner, but this spring he was in really bad shape, so I felt sorry for him and fed him. The next day, he came back, asking for more and during summer, I fed him pretty much regularly. He constantly kept sitting on our doormat, so I got him our cat’s bed two seconds later he was in it and stayed in most days. He was nice to everyone except other cats, including mine, so I kept them apart because I didn’t know if he had anything contagious. I kept hinting to my parents that we should take him to a vet because he was thin for so long, but they ignored it (later they said that they wanted to see first if he would get over the disease), and some months later he completely changed and seemed to be healthy. But during autumn he kept begging more and more to come inside and I knew it was getting cold, but I couldn’t let him in with our cat, so I asked the local association for animal help if they had any room for an unneutered male. I had been making hats for them for charity auctions. The woman said they didn’t have room even for nice kittens and that I should give her my contact to arrange free neutering for me, and that there is no room elsewhere and that I definitely shouldn’t give him to a shelter because that’s an instant death sentence. My mom finally realized the cat was cold and agreed that we would take the cat to our old house over winter and said that she would pay for the vet. I figured that was already arranged because I already gave my contact to the woman. Some days later, a shelter came to pick up the cat, and when I put him in the box, he gave me a document to sign that if he’s positive for FIV, FelV or microspores, he would be put down. I didn’t know about that condition until that day and I was only worried that he might have microspores, and I would take heal him if that was the case. I figured he must have been vaccinated at least once if he once had an owner. I kept thinking how happy he would be once he returned and he would finally be warm inside our house. The same day the vet contacted me and said the cat was positive for FelV and if we would be coming for the cat anyway. I was shocked, but agreed to pick him up. A few seconds later he called again and said that since the municipality is covering the bill, by law he’ll have to be put down and quickly ended the call. I was too shocked react on time ad didn’t know what my parents would think if I agreed to pay the vet for a sick cat that would have to be inside and live seperately. I was jobless and alredy had one healthy cat. My mom would only stay at our old house during winter. After the event she told me she would have moved for the cat and that she really loved it. I feel like a monster. She never touched the cat, I took care of his food and outdoor shelter. Until a few days before the pick-up, my parents kept saying that it’s normal for cats to be outside during winter and I didn’t take her seriously when she said she’d cover the bill because I thought the association woman already arranged that. I dodn’t know by how much I shortened the cat’s life by not reacting fast enough and demanding vet care from my parents before autumn. I had contacted that woman for help because I knew they were a no-kill “shelter” and she kept pushing me to have the cat neutered, so she apparently helped by contacting a kill shelter for me? What have I done to her to deserve this? Why did my cat have to pay such a price? That association had all kinds of sick cats, helped pay vet bills, anything to keep cats alive, and her way of helping me was to contact the same kill shelter that she warned me about. It’s over a month since that happened and I still feel horrible. How long would he have lived if I hadn’t contacted her? That cat trusted me and this way my way of helping him, I feel horrible.

  39. Sam says:

    This morning my flying squirrel Pippa died. Last night I went in to check on her and noticed she wasn’t as energetic as usual, and I took her out of her cage. I lightly pinched her skin and it seemed she was dehydrated. Her water bottle was full, but when I pressed the ball no water came out. I felt terrible; for close to four days she hadn’t had any water because the bottle was stopped up. I quickly poured her some in a bowl and she drank a little of it. I also gave her a bit of apple which she nibbled on some. She was moving around a bit and even used the bathroom; I thought she would be fine. I had planned to go out and since she was doing okay, I put her back in her cage with her water and apple and left. This morning my mother called me home saying she had passed away. I feel so guilty for first of all, not knowing that her water bottle wasn’t working and second of all for leaving her. I’m so torn up, she was just a little over three years old.

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