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.

35 comments On Dealing With Guilt When You Caused Your Pet’s Death

  • Hello, This is my first time on this site. I lost my beloved cat Bubba 4 months ago, and i am struggling with both imagined and real guilty. He was only 11 when he passed, I got him from the shelter when he was 12 weeks old, he was like my child, i loved him so much. We spent most his life always together, he would go to work with me sometimes. But I guess I got busy with life his last 2 years and money was tight and i wasnt able to afford flea treatment which led to skin problem from the fleas saliva, he lost so much weight and his hair was falling out from him pulling it out poor baby. I thought I knew more than i did on caring for him. I feel terrible that I didnt have the money to have him cured, I did take him to a vet that i had never been to because i moved to another city, I spent all the money i had, only $700 to the vet and he never got better, he was given a shot of Convenia and he slowly deteriorated. I wish I could have known whether he was suffering but he was such a good boy and acted fairly normal, he jus looked terrible but i loved him anyways. I always was told if a animal is sick, they wont eat or drink, but he still did, so thats why i thought he wasnt that bad health wise, apparently I was wrong. I feel so guilty and cry everyday. And to top it off I didnt make the right choice in his burial and i have regret for how I handled it, he deserved so much more than what i did, I was so emotional and confused by what people around me were saying and dealing with this loss, I wasnt thinking clearly and I am having a hard time accepting the way things were handled. I want to believe that he forgives me and still loves his mama. I truely hope the rainbow bridge is real and that when the day comes for me to leave this earth that whether a person or pet is cremated or buried; that it doesnt matter; that we will still meet them when we cross over and will be together again in Heaven.

    • Hello Rebecca,
      Thanks for your post.
      It’s so sad for me to hear this kind of stories. But we have nothing but to deal with it. In my personal opinion & hope – there is definitely a place where we can meet our loved pets. Don’t blame yourself, according to your financial situation u’ve done the most. Circumstances were not the best one’s so don’t blame yourself, you’ve done it the way you can. You tried, believe me or not, may people wouldn’t even try. So it’s good thing in you, kind and loving side of you for your kitty.

  • I sincerely hope this helps my grieving process. We had a female pitbull, Skylar, who passed in October 2013, one week before her 6th birthday. Skylar had TPLO surgery in January of 2013, a tooth that was removed, and then topped it off with a broken blood vessel in her ear in the spring. As the summer of 2013 began, she was finally over all of this and seemed to be recovering. She was still sweeping the leg that had surgery, so we thought this was just a part of the recovery process for her. As the summer went on, she started to get skinnier even though she was eating. We figured it was because of her leg and lack of exercise. We walked her as much as we could, have a big yard, and made sure she ate regularly, but she still lost weight. We took her to the vet that did the TPLO surgery and he took blood and urine, all came back ok. What he didn’t check was her stool… As the summer turned into the fall, pain killers and Xanax were prescribed to try to help. In October, she seemed to be delirious and out of it. We still thought it was her leg bothering her…..The Monday morning she passed, she had an episode, she hadn’t had any pain meds, but I gave her a low dose Xanax. She seemed to relax and I thought she would rest until I got home from work and we could take her in for another evaluation. As my partner laid down with her, I took a shower — when I got out, not 10 minutes later, she was gone. My partner had fallen asleep next to her with his hand on her body, so I take a small amount of comfort in her knowing we were here. Even though I’ve never done it, the vet offered an autopsy and I was willing just to find out what happened to my girl…no results………no cancer, no tumors, leg surgery was fine, no infection, nothing…… answers… My brain, and all my armchair detective work, tell me it was worms or a parasitic infection that we should’ve realized or the vet should’ve realized. My heart tells me if we would’ve just done the fecal sample, the cause would’ve been found in the summer and she’d still be with us. I’ve had so many dogs in my lifetime and loved them all to the fullest, but this is the one I just can’t seem to get over. Reading the other posts here showed me that others go through it too — some know what happened, some don’t, but we all hurt..I appreciate everyone sharing because even though we’re still in pain I hope these posts help others to understand they’re not alone in their grief and we’re all still getting through each day. I will get another female dog; I just don’t know when, but I know I will. We have two other male dogs in the house and I’m trying to get this grief out by giving them as much love as possible. I hope and I pray and I wait —- pleading to get to spend eternity with her when I get there too 🙂 Thank you everyone for reading, sharing and proving we can only move forward… Steve

    • I watched the video of your sweet girl. So beautiful I’m in tears. You loved her so much that is clear. Please don’t be hard on yourself, she knew you loved her. They always do.

  • My grief over the loss of a pet is bringing up any and all guilt I’ve ever had about all the others

    Our loving, beautiful 4 year old cat Coconut was a stray kitten and we adopted him and his sister who were flea infested and covered with urine. He became large and strong and gorgeous with glossy fur, smooth fur, but that changed over time. He passed away the day before yesterday on July 4, after emergency room care and overnight hospitalization. He was only four. He had an obtructed urethra, a bladder the size of a grapefruit and was hemorraging, his temperature dropped and his blood pressure never came back to normal. He vomited bile and lost too much blood to survive. He had been losing hair, and his body was bloating over the past maybe year and a half and he had a horrible rash around his anus about 2 months ago. I brought him to two different vets at the same practice, 3 1/2 months ago and again 6 weeks ago, and of course, to an emergency clinic a few days ago. The two vets found nothing. He had lost hair on his rear legs, his stomach and on his bottom. The first said, although he couldn’t find a single flea on him, that one may have jumped on and off causing an allergic reaction. When I questioned that, he gave me a prescription for anti anxiety meds for him saying he might just be over grooming himself. They both said he was overweight, which was true because he never left my room, but he was also bloated. Now I realize they found nothing wrong because they ran no tests, did not palpatate his abdomen and didn’t ask many questions at all. The second vet is a feline specialist. How is that possible? I had no idea that male cats could get UTI or have blockage. I should have been beter educated. I should have had a fountain for him.

    It was the 3rd of July and idiots were shooting off fireworks. His whole body was rigid and twitching because of the deafening blasts, he threw up and was growling. The night before we brought him to the emergency clinic he went down the stairs, practically falling the whole way and walked, or actually hobbled off into the night. I’m sure he was heading off to die in peace but I followed him, sat with him then brought him back inside. I held him all night like a baby but he he was cold the next day. Now I think that was cruel. He could have died before enduring all the pain to come. My daughter found him in his litter box dripping blood. I scooped him up to bring him to the vet but couldn’t find my keys for 20 minutes or so. The towels I wrapped him in were filled with blood. It was the 4th so we went to an emergency clinic, they took him in right away that morning. By 5pm the vet came in and discussed our options. He was heavily sedated and I sat with him and looked into his eyes for a long time, they would dilate when I got closer. They had him wrapped in an inflatable blanket with warm air flowing through it. I covered him with my hair, had my face an inch or two from his and told him I loved him. Against all reason he somehow stretched out his paw toward me. I thought he could make it. The vet said he was very sick, but we all decided to give him another chance and hospitalized him overnight, with dnr and assist instructions, “do not resessitate and assist with euthanasia”. So he went alone and afraid into a horrible sterile environment with a catheter and an IV in his body. The next day the vet called and said he was doing better and had sat up. I didn’t go see him immediately. I called and the staff said to wait it was too busy. By the time I went later that afternoon they wouldn’t let me in. He was no longer stable. They said his only chance was finding a donor cat and giving him a total blood transfusion. Even that was a long shot, (and what about the other cat!)

    I am devastated. I loved him so much. I feel I made his life miserable. He should have been my only pet.

    When we brought him home we had Bubba, a 14ish year old lab/rottweiler mix, who lived outside for the most part. Bubba had the best disposition and passed away at about 15, 3 years ago when Coco was one. Bubba had been a gorgeous, jet black stray who had stage 5 heartworm when we found him. We had him treated and he was well, but he had stage 2 again, seizures, arthritis, swelling towards the end. Bubba had lived inside for a couple of years after he came to live with us but always wanted to be outside. When we moved closer to the coast we let him stay in the garage but took him out on the boat a lot and to parks. I brought him inside for the last few months and that seemed to destroy his spirit. We live on pilings near the water and the steps are hard on dogs. Our two year old pup, Halo plops down on our sofas in the AC all the time. Now I wish I had Bubba inside with us all the time and am still a wreck about that. Coco really identiified with Bubba and acted for all the world like a dog. He I got much closer after the horrific loss of Bubba, who was to old for successful heartworm treatment and had to be euthanized, which we had done in our living room. I still have trouble walking by there and have curled up in that spot thinking of him. We got another puppy, Halo a year later when Coco was 2. I feel guilty about getting Halo because it took away from my relationship with Coco, but we got another puppy, Hunter last month for our daughter. Coconut “ran away” from home last month for two days when Hunter came home. He was scared of Hunter, an exhuberant, energetic labradoodle, with big paws and sharp puppy teeth. I should have had him in the pen and carried Coco through the living room.

    About 9 months ago Coco was attacked by a hawk or bald eagle. He had talon marks around his neck but didn’t appear to be injured otherwise. They healed but he was never the same. He was scared to leave my room. The new dogs scared him too and he stayed in our bedroom sleeping above my shoulder near my head at night and generally slept in the closet all day. But maybe that was lethargy and depression because of kidney problems. I fed him separately and would close the door so the dogs would leave him alone. Occasionally they got in and probably drank his water, I am not sure I kept it filled all the time. I am horrified that he may not have had enough water and that his death is all my fault. I put water in his food but he sometimes could not void his bladder. I didn’t know that was a huge red flag. He had a few drops blood in his urine a couple of months ago, after I brought him to the vet, but I read about it and attributed it to stress.

    His death is bringin back guilt from when my cat Tiger contracted leukemia, went through chemo was euthanized. The vet did it roughly in front of me and I can still barely think about it. My cat Nutmeg never came home at 17, but I had put her outside that night. My pet rabbit, guinea pigs, fish, parakeets and family dog died. I can’t take it. I’ve been told that it is better to have loved than never to have loved at all. I’m not sure about that. All this grief is making me rexamine my interpersonal relationships and cherish every moment. I think I am the one who needs anti anxiety meds- I might take Coco’s.

    • Awww your story about Coconut was beautiful and I am so sad. Please don’t think that you made coco miserable, that kitty loved you and felt comfort with you. Yes it sure hurts to lose them but i can’t imagine not having them in our lives. Hugs

  • I used nitromours to take paint off doors upstairs. I opened all the windows and kept the door shut dodnstairs where my dogs were. I knew it could cause health problems but unaware it could cause such terrible ones and cancer and thought there would be no harm to them as they were not in direct contact. They both developed cancer 6 months later, one has just died last week. I am searching for reasons to blame myself and now think this may be the cause after researching it. I can’t believe something so dangerous could be on the market for home DIY projects. Had I have known I would never have used it. I am struggling to come to terms with the fact I could have caused her death.

  • Today I lost my new hamster. He didn’t even have a name yet, but my sister and I loved him. I remembered my friend would bring her hamster outside, so I thought it would be fun to do the same. But then, it happened. My dog (who didn’t mean any real harm) ran at the hamster. I had him at my hands, and he squeezed out in fear. I tried my best to catch him, but he ran into a bush. I then spent 3 hours searching for him. But he was gone. If I hadn’t taken him out he would still be here. And my sister also has to deal with the loss, and I feel so at fault. But I just need to accept that it was an accident, and I couldn’t control what had happened in the moment.

  • Well my dog was sick and not like others I had 3 day chance to help but the first day I took it not as serious but the second I saw it was bleeding even more from the vagina.It was bleeding dark red blood and today morning its dead but I asked my mom if we could take it to doctor she said its too far and we found a small puppy dead where it sleeps

  • Today we lost our cockatiel. My husband had him from before we ever met. Tweety was close to 25 years old. My son and were in my bedroom where we kept tweety and it was a beautiful fall day so I opened the bedroom windows and his cage door because he liked to sit in the door and look outside. He could not fly anymore. We left the house for less than an hour and when we left my husband was going to close the door but also thought it was a nice day and let Tweety enjoy it. We came back and he had left the cage which he never did and fell and broke his neck. My husband saw him Just as he died. If I hadn’t opened the cage or if we had closed it before we left, my husband’s best friend would still be here.

    • I’m crying for you! I feel your pain. We have to understand it was an accident and not intentional. We loved our cockatiels and they knew it too. I just posted about still upset

    • I feel your pain. I had a beautiful love bird that someone gave me in Sept. He lived at my mom’s house with 3 other cages of birds. Somehow Saturday I cleaned the cages but didn’t put his food bowl back. I was busy in Christmas concerts and doing homework at my house Sunday. When I checked on the birds Monday evening he was dead on the bottom of the cage. He was the only touchable bird and except for those two days I played and cuddled with him every day. I hate myself and am heart broken. 🙁

  • Thanks for all this information. I didn’t cause my little buddy Poco’s death but I did. We got him from a rescue when he was 4 or 5. We had him for nearly 11 years. He was an incredible loving and loyal dog. He literally changed many peoples opinion of the Chihuahua breed. They couldn’t believe how affectionate he was. He developed a heart murmur, and an enlarged heart. He was having seizures and getting fluid on his lungs. I know that putting him down was the right thing to do as I know he was suffering. However, the day we took him to the vet, last Wednesday, he was having a good day. I cannot get it out of my head that he was getting better. I know he wouldn’t. I just can’t let go of the guilt. I feel embarrassed that I am so emotional about a 6 lb dog but he was my bud. Your tips and suggestions help a lot. Thank you.

    • Many times pets get better for a few days before they die or take a turn for the worse. They appear better but they are struggling in pain to please you. Have comfort to know that you prevented a lot of suffering he surely would have had in the coming weeks. He led a good, full life thanks to you.

  • I have 5 cats of my own, I’ve rescued each one from being outside on their own. I’ve always had a soft spot for cats. My father was feeding a group of outdoor cats in a trailer lark across from our apartment. Long after we moved out he continued to drive there every night to feed them. He was hit by a drunk driver and so I had to take care of everything he was doing. Every night a small cat would come right up to my car door when I pulled up. She was extremely skinny, just skin and bones. I only went there a few more nights before I caved and brought her home. It was the middle of summer, where I live 115f in the day and 90f+ at night. I was worried she wouldn’t survive.

    She was so skinny and I had no idea why, I assumed she may have something contagious. I kept her in my bathroom away from my other cats. I spent an hour a day sitting with her and spending time with her. Her first vet trip went well, all negative on the snap test. She did not have feline AIDS or leukemia, the big problems of weight loss for stray cats. That was 10 weeks ago. I kept telling my self I would take her to get a full blood panel and medication to help her. Not putting on weight after 2 months I knew she was not just malnourished, something was wrong. I had to move from my apartment to another one, and was very stressed out by this. It’s 350 per pet and I have 6 of them, even though you’re only aloud to pay for and have 2.

    I put all my cats in carriers and brought them to the new apartment. I put them in the bedrooms and her in the bathroom. Put down there litter boxes and continued to race around trying to move for the next day and a half. I realized I didn’t leave down dry food or water, and hadn’t fed them wet food for 2 days. I completely passed out on my couch after the move. I woke up this morning and went to feed her. She was laying on the floor and would not get up. I knew that she was doing bad. She always greets me when I open the door with an extremely long meow. I picked her up and held her close. She was completely limp and breathing through her mouth. I put her in a carrier and drove straight to the vet.

    The tech comes out 20 seconds after bringing her in the back and asks if I want her resesitated if she flat lines. I told her to please just do what they could. The doctor came in and said she was extremely sick and could pass any moment. He quoted $600-$1000 to start treatment right then. I told him to do everything he could. They said they would call within a few hours. They did, she had passed away. They ran tests before that, and told me she had a thyroid tumor, failing kidneys and liver. I killed this sweet little girl because I was stupid enough to think they would be okay without food or water for a day. I never intended to fall asleep for 12 hours. I’m heart broken and feel sick to my stomach. She waited there crying for me all day and night, for something that takes all of 30 seconds to do. He said any cat could survive days without water and longer without food, but she was extremely sick to begin with. I’m beating myself up over leaving her in there with no water, and also not taking her to the vet to get treatment sooner. I don’t know what I was thinking. I can’t believe this happened. I love you mamas, you will always be in my heart

    • I am going through something similar
      Where it would have only taken me 30 seconds to feed my bird something soft But by the time I realized she couldn’t eat regular foods -it was too late -Now I feel beyond sick about it
      I can hardly eat now
      But I think if they are in heaven, They know it wasn’t intentional
      & just hope they forgive us in heaven

  • Maia had seizures. She was taking medications everyday. The day before I noticed that my second pet was eating her food in the morning so she didn’t get the right dosage she should’ve. That morning she had 2 seizures, I wasn’t really worried because they were extremely short and I thought she would be fine. She was acting really strange that morning, didn’t want me to leave the house. We always leave the doggie door open in case they want to go outside. That day she drowned in the pool. I can’t stop feeling guilty. I should’ve take her to the vet. I should’ve stay home. I should’ve close the doggie door. I should’ve been here for her. She is dead and it is my fault! I cannot cope with it. I can’t stop crying and repeating to myself “why I didn’t stay? Why I didn’t take her to the vet? Why I didn’t close the doggie door?” I feel so guilty and so sad! I would give everything I have to go back in time. Maia was everything to me, I don’t have any family or friend here she was the only one I cared for and I failed her. I don’t even want to move on. I want to feel this pain and guilt for the rest of my life because I don’t deserve any happiness without her and for what I did.

    • I know the feeling!!! My loss happened 2 days ago. My little bird – somehow I didn’t get food back in his cage when I cleaned it. I feel terrible and wonder how long he suffered. I hate myself. I had 4 bird cages and the other 3 all got their food. I don’t know how to move on either. Especially if the lady who gave him to me asks about him in the future. 🙁

  • I had the most beautiful toy poodle, her name was Pelusa, she was 16 years old, white coated, tiny face. I lovedthat dog the way I don’t even love my family. She had a small cough and used to do weird noises, but I thought it was normal cause her age. She looked healthy, playfull, full appetite so I didn’t took her to the vet. One morning she woke up being death, next to me. I can’t believe It, i feel it’s my fault, I forgotte to fed her night meal the morning of her death, I can’t forgive me, I hit my self, I hate my self, I feel I killed her, I don’t even know what she died from, she looked fine, I didn’t deserve her. It’s the worst pain I ever have fell, I just keep thinking if I had took her to the vet, if I had gave her meds or a cirgury for whatever she had, If I had gave her other food, maybe she will still be with me, I kill my dog by not taking her to the vet, it’s really hard, she was my soulmate, I miss her every second, I can’t stop feeling guilty, please help. Thank you.

  • I know how you feel. I did the same thing. At least your pet had 16 good years. Mine was just a young bird. I don’t know how to get through the pain. I keep running the “what if” scenarios in my mind every day. I guess this is why God didn’t give me human children. I pray for you.

    • I feel the same as you Kendra. God didn’t give me human children either and I wonder if it’s because I can’t look after a budgie. I had had a bad cold last week so not sure if I was thinking right and my budgie had been sick with a respiratory infection. I’d been giving him antibiotics every day for the past 5 weeks to help him get better. A couple days ago I got home and he was dead in the bottom of his cage. I saw there was a lot of chaff in his food container. Now I’m wondering if I remembered to feed him. I had another bird in the same cage as him but he’s fine. When I went to buy a new budgie yesterday the breeder said sometimes budgies can choke on chaff. Now I wonder if he was too sick to find the food and ended up eating chaff because he was so hungry. I can’t remember feeding him but wonder if I just fed him on auto-pilot, or if I didn’t feed him because I was distracted by giving him antibiotics. I wish I had a camera filming me for the last few days so I would know. It’s tearing me up and I feel so awful that his little friend is missing him so much. I wish he would fly into the room and everything would be okay again. I felt guilty after all my miscarriages and now the guilt has come back again.

  • Miss Kitty was a rescue we adopted for our horse barn. When we had to move barns she obviously went with us. She was attacked and injured by a cat at the new farm. I took her home immediately and she seemed ok. 2 weeks later she was sickly and skinny. I was holding her waiting to go to the vet in the am when i found a swelling on her butt. After clipping the hair i found an abcess. By morning the abcess had popped and i started giving her antibiotics. She was great. Gained weight, played, snuggled. Was miss kitty again. Fast forward a month…. i am woken this monday morning by her flopping down on my pillow. She collapsed. We took her to the clinic and found her abdomen was full of fluid…. bacteria packed fluid from the abcess over a month ago. 4 hours and 1900 later i had to put my poor 2 year old snuggly baby girl to sleep. She seized in my arms in the clinic. In full sepsis, nothing they could do that would save her in the time she had left. I cannot get over the guilt of knowing i had antibiotics in the fridge still. If i had only known she was sick i could have helped her. I had no clue until the end. I cant stop crying. If i hadnt taken her to a strange barn she wouldnt have been attacked. If i had given her meds for a few extra days because there was still some left she might not have gotten sick again.

  • I have owned many pets in my lifetime, but I have never had an experience like this one when I had my dearly beloved Finney put to sleep yesterday. Finney was a large (and long) 15-year old orange tabby cat with the most beautiful eyes you have ever seen in a cat. He was smart as a whip, with such an intelligent look that sometimes was mesmerizing because it suggested he understood far more than cats are supposed to know. He was affectionate and loved to hug and nibble on ear lobes and whenever you went to bed at night or took a nap somewhere, when you woke up somehow Finney would always be there right beside you or at your feet. Often he would greet me when I came home from work. He was as much dog as he was cat.

    He was fastidious about his cleanliness. He would scoop his water and his food with his paws. For some reason he chose to eat that way, so he wanted to make sure his paws were always as clean as possible. After using his litterbox, he would go to the toilet not to drink but to wash his paws in the toilet bowl before eating.

    He owned every room in the house and whenever you walked into a room where he was he was always sleeping in the most comfortable place with a look of utter satisfaction on his face.

    He was more than my cat. He was a dear friend from the time I rescued him and his sister from a pet shelter. We got him for my 8-year old son because my wife is disabled and felt she couldn’t give him all the attention she wanted to give, so we got Finney to be a companion to our son. In some respects, he became like a second son to me. I came to love him dearly.

    This post is about guilt, however, and that is what I have because I had to put my beloved Finney to sleep yesterday. Vets will say he died of end stage renal cancer. That may be true, but my guilt is that I feel like I let him down the last few months and/or weeks of his life. I feel like I brought him to the vet too late, after he was already crashing with horrific kidney levels that needed emergency IV treatment. His kidney levels were off the charts high. We took him to a clinic that specializes in cats alone (one of two we took Finney to in his final weeks). Finney hated vets and every time I took him to a vet with symptoms like he was showing just before his crash, there would always be numerous tests and nothing was ever found or done for him. Finney always recovered and got on with life. This time, however, he didn’t.

    He responded to the IV treatments but they had to stop because his heart was filling with fluids. They discharged him and told us to come back in a week to meet with the cardiologist. During that time Finney stopped eating. We went back to the ER and they put a feeding tube in him. They gave him special critical nutrition and aluminum hydroxide because his phosphorus levels were so high. Over the next week, we tried to follow the schedule of feeding and aluminum hydroxide intake. We gave Finney bowls of fresh water everywhere as he was still drinking and we tried to give him some fluids through the feeding tube, too, but in the end it did not seem to be enough. We took him to two different vets, including a clinic that specializes in cats only. Both suggested that we should put him to sleep. They never discussed anything else with us, not even palliative care or hospice care or medications that might help to ease his discomfort. At home he was getting weaker and weaker. He could barely walk, probably because of potassium or phosphorus buildup. He appeared dehydrated in spite of our efforts. He had lost so much weight and ee couldn’t pass his stool as much as he tried. It was heartbreaking beyond words to see my Finney like that.

    And so, eventually, he reached a place where we as a family could not stand to see him suffer any longer and we arranged for him to be put to sleep in our home.

    That was yesterday and since then I have been overwhelmed by my grief and guilt that I didn’t do more for him. I was ignorant and fearful and didn’t take the steps necessary to save or at least extend his life. I keep telling myself that I put him to sleep too soon or too late or maybe I shouldn’t have put him to sleep at all, that maybe we could have done something more to help him make an unexpected recovery because he had always been such a remarkable cat. God, why didn’t I at least try in spite of what all the vets were indicating. He was my friend and he trusted his life to me. I owed at least that to him. Instead I and my family “lovingly” watched him waste away before we said enough is enough and we let him go. We spent thousands on him in those last two weeks trying to find help but we didn’t care about the costs. In then end, it was all too little too late and the kind of help we needed just wasn’t there.

    I am a grown man in my sixties, a professional who has his head together. Yet, I have spent the last two days crying for Finney and screaming the agony of my loss and my sense of guilt in my car over what I did or did not do for Finney. I never expected to feel so strongly about the loss of a pet, but Finney truly was special and I wasn’t there for him in the way I should have been in his final days. I wasn’t smart enough. I wasn’t aggressive enough. I didn’t have enough common sense or basic understanding to do some simple thing that would have changed everything. I was too stupid, too obtuse, too selfish, too fearful, etc., etc., etc. That’s how I feel. I am a Christian and I know God will comfort my loss in time and He has already forgiven my guilt, but I don’t know if I will ever be able to forgive myself for what I have done or rather what I didn’t do. I am old enough now where I will take it to my grave, I think, unless I learn to turn my guilt over to God completely.

    I don’t necessarily believe in the Rainbow Bridge, but as a Christian I do believe that God is a loving God who cares for all of His creatures. The Bible says that there is not a single sparrow that falls to the ground without God’s knowledge and care. And Scripture is clear that there will be animals in heaven and they will be happy and content just as people are. The question is, “Will Finney be there, too, or will all the animals be new?” Will God bring him back in the same way He raises up again all who believe in Him? I doubt that Finney believed in God, but all God’s creatures, including man (and Finney), have an innate understanding of Him. Perhaps while man needs to be redeemed because of his sin, for animals all that is necessary is to be part of creation. Perhaps that is what the apostle Paul was alluding to in Romans 8:19-21. Scripture doesn’t say what happens to our pets after they die, but certainly the clear teaching of the Bible about the nature and character of God leaves the door open that animals who have been dear to us in this life may also see the next life, too. We can always hope that the Rainbow Bridge is real in some sense or other because with God, all things are possible. That thought helps me with my sense of loss, although not yet with my sense of guilt. Somehow I don’t feel I will ever completely lose my sense of guilt unless or until I see Finney again some day. Perhaps over time that will change, but right now it just hurts too much to think any other way.

    Thank you.

    • It is very hard to put a pet to sleep
      I think you are being way too hard on yourself
      You are stronger than you think because you did what you did for his sake
      I think Finney was blessed to have you as a loving owner to help end his inevitable suffering
      with renal cancer (not good)
      It is natural to feel how you feel
      Because you loved him so much
      God bless!

  • My two pet guineapigs, Maggie and May. I remember taking them inside to cool off since it was a hot day. I gave them some food while I watched some TV. Once I was done I put them back outside but not in their cage, I have fences around the cage and I put them outside of it not knowing that the cage door was closed since I always have it open so that they couldn’t of gotten in. I went to bed and the next morning I went to school and did that. When I came back from school I sat in my dads car since he was picking me up and he said “ I have some bad news” I said “what”? “Your guineapigs got taken by a Fox last night”. I sat there and just broke down crying and I still am. I feel terrible knowing that I will have to live my life knowing that I killed two innocent animals who were defenceless against any predator.

  • My belove Panda, I lost her on 12 Feb 2018, at 4:00 am. I always leave her with same vet while I am gone away, and every time vet will text me to do the test on her when they consider to.
    But this time, I notice that her vet go away for USA at the same time, thing much be different, I should tell them to have her check blood test to monitor her conditions. because she have a long medication with them and very old, we can look her from symptom. cause it will get too late for old dog.
    I only tell them she has red blood 23 which is normal for her cause she have kidney failure from test, but she live normal Anyway we still need that from different kind of taking care of old dog.
    my heart said to them have a blood test, but my mind stop doing it , when I leave her.
    but I still have chance to text them 3 days after before she pass away on 4th day.
    but I didn’t do it. when vet text me that she gone, I know suddenly it my fault. If I tell them,. blood will tell them what she need before her time, so they can do something more than this
    then she can wait for 14 hours to meet me alive. I spend supplement and medication on her 1,000 USD, each month very long time to keep her healthy. I have her with me all the time, sleep on my chest if she feeling uncomfortable
    I always beside her.

    I do need help very much

  • If anyone’s reading this, NEVER give your cat (and your dog if s/he has kidney problems) Mebendazole even if the vet insists on it. Find a milder and safer medication that doesn’t put that much pressure on the liver and kidneys, ESPECIALLY KIDNEYS.
    I gave my cat her Mebendazole the standard amount unaware at the time that she had kidney problems. The day afterwards we were at the emergency, hospitalizing her. I took my baby’s life by my own hands! I wish my hands were cut off and I never gave her that med. I should’ve researched separately from that piece of **** vet who prescribed it for her before giving her a lab-produced “medication”. I wish I could exchange my kidneys with hers somehow … . She is (yes, as you can see, I still can’t and won’t say ‘was’) my dearest and I’m certain I will never love anyone more than I love her. She’s my sole miracle and everything. I will never forgive myself. I can’t ever forgive myself.

  • I️ had to put my 18 month old puppy down Feb 8, 2018. This is 8 MONTHS after Putting my other 12 year old dog down (I️ feel guilty for her death too but not as strong as my puppy’s death) I️ feel so guilty for his death. He was a beautiful grey and white American bully with grey ticking in the white parts of his coat. He extremely happy and always wanted to cuddle and give kisses. Sat Feb 3, my puppy started throwing up early in the morning. I️ still tried to feed him because he still had an appetite but eventually I️ stopped giving him food or water because he kept throwing up. Later that day he became lethargic and lost his appetite. The next day he didn’t throw up as much so I️ thought he was getting better. Monday I️ called the vet because he would star to shake every now and again. I️ had an appointment, but with a history of going to the vet, just for them to say they don’t know what’s wrong, I️ decided to keep watching him. I️ started to feed him with a turkey blaster but it wasn’t much. Tues morning I bought him in to the vet and they first suspected intestinal obstruction. Lo and behold he had one and it was a corn on the cob. He ate that corn on the cob 4 months prior from leftovers me and my boyfriend had! It’s been stuck in him for 4 MONTHS and yet he showed no signs of an obstruction. He had his lab work come back and his kidney and liver values were very high. We assumed it was was dehydration since he hadn’t eaten in 3 days. My puppy had surgery to remove the corn in the cob and the surgery went well. However after 24 hr of antibiotics my puppy’s lab values didn’t improve. The vet kept him over night and Wed he didn’t get better. Thurs we were told that he had fluid building up in his chest that only started the day before. That thurs afternoon we made the decision to put my puppy down. I️ feel so guilty on many levels. I️ should’ve made sure the trash was picked up so he didn’t eat it. I️ should have bought him to the vet that Sat instead of Tues. I️ shouldn’t have let the vet influence us to euthanize him that same day. I️ should have gotten him a second opinion because it jus didn’t make sense. He should have been back to normal after the obstruction removal. I️ feel he wasn’t ready to die and we just let the vet kill him. I️ am so hurt by this. I️ feel like I️ was a horrible pet parent. Some history: when we first got him at 2 months old, he developed joint issues due to not enough calcium. Being healthy people, we thought giving him chicken, broccoli and rice was enough to give him his vitamins but I️ guess not. Or maybe it was enough . So we switched to giving him raw diet that had supplements added into the raw food. He was doing better, but because of his joints not really strong (and possible his medics he was on), he ended up falling off the bed and hurting his neck, creating a bulge. That was all healed and he seemed to be fine . Then a couple months later his skin was becoming a problem. Itchy, red, hair falling out. Took him to the vet and hey told us environmental allergies and gave us shampoo that made it worse. I️ spoke to a knowledgeable person at the healthy pet shop about diet. We came up that it was all the sugars/carbs he was taking in via the extra supplement and fruit that we would give him every time we would have a smoothie. Cut all that out and changed food to raw with no added supplements. He skins changed drastically! Amazing that the vet didn’t even think of food. However, he still was extremely itchy. He did have 2 ear infections. Towards the last two months of his life, he was throwing up. We assumed t was from not feeding enough so we gave him for food and that helped. Then he started throwing up in the morning before his scheduled time so I️ split his breakfast and that helped. But then he started to throw up in the afternoon so I split his afternoon meal and that worked. Then that Sat he woke up at 4am and threw up. Thinking it was his normal “I’m hungry u need to feed me now” attitude for why he threw up and gave him some food at 7a. He threw it up and started throwing up allll day which leads to the beginning of this story. I️ just don’t understand what went wrong. Was it my fault? Did my puppy have an underlying disease and didn’t know about it? Should I️ have gotten him blood work when we didn’t know what was wrong with his skin for so long? All these questions in my head and in each scenario I️ find myself extremely guilt over his death. I️ feel like a shit pet parent even tho I️ fed him good healthy food, took care of him mentally and anyone who seen him would say he was the best dog ever and he WAS. Never barked, friendly, loved ppl, loved dogs, loved life period !!!!!!!! I️ miss my baby sooooooo much and I’m so sad in not knowing what the heck happened to him.
    Fletcher was an amazing dog. Always happy. Wanted hugs kisses and cuddles. Never showed signs that he was sad. Just hope he knows that we loved him very VERY much and didn’t want him to suffer anymore even if he tried hard as hell to not show us that he was in pain 🙁 Love u baby boy !! Thanks for listening , I️ really needed to get this off my chest. I️ feel like no one else in this world has gone thru what I️ went thru.

  • I live on the main highway and I was going to take my 5 month puppy for a walk with a friend after a couple drinks. His lead was in the back of a Ute and I made the decision that he would be ok not on it till I got it out. Just as I reached for it, I saw him standing on the road and a big truck coming straight for him. I had to watch as he got hit and flung through the air. Somehow he didn’t die instantly, he had to go through 10 mins of pain and passed away just as the vet arrived. He was so beautiful, a red kelpie, I know have to live with this and I took the life of my 4 kids first pet.

  • I let my cat roam outdoors and he loved his life outdoors. One day two dogs found him and killed him in seconds. By the time I got there he was barely breathing. I should have not let him go outside. He was only 4 years old very happy and healthy and we were about to move.

  • I lost my beautiful miniature schnauzer baby Alfie last week. He was just 11 months old, it’s his 1st birthday in a couple of weeks. He somehow managed to get into my greenhouse and eat a packet of weedkiller. He should never have been able to reach it and I still don’t know how he got it. The heartbreaking thing is, it was given to me a few weeks ago and I didn’t use it as I was too scared that it may make our dogs sick. I arrived home from work last Wednesday evening to find him lying on the kitchen floor and not seeming to be aware of anything. He had been sick nearby. Usually I couldn’t get through the door without him pushing through and jumping into my arms. I rushed him straight to the vet and they ran tests, including bloods. He was placed onto a drip & given several injections but having made it through the night, he sadly lost consciousness and stopped breathing at 11am the next morning. I was told that his brain function has ceased. I am absolutely devastated and can’t help but blame myself. Why did I accept the horrible stuff when I didn’t want it? Why didn’t I leave work earlier instead of staying later to finish off stuff? (I have him on cctv at 5.00pm running around completely normal…I arrived home at 17.55pm) Why didn’t I close the greenhouse door completely? Why didn’t I put it in a drawer so that he couldn’t get to it? I just can’t stop crying and going over & over it in my head. I took a video of him just the night before jumping around & playing in the garden, he was so full of life and we had a special connection from when I picked him at just 10 weeks old. I feel it’s all my fault and I’ve failed him.

  • A few days ago, I was spending time over at a friend’s house, and my mom called me. I assumed she just wanted to know where my stuff was, but then she said, “Laura, I have some bad news.” She told me that the family found my beautiful corn snake, Jupiter, lying dead in her cage. It took me a little while to really process it, which is normal for me. Today I noticed that she probably got sick from an unsanitary cage, which caused her death. I feel awful. If I had just decided not to be so lazy, if I would have changed her water and bedding more and cleaned out her cage, she would probably still be alive. My dad would always tell me that I needed to take care of her or she would die, but I never really thought about it much. My sister understands because she lost her bearded dragon, Stubbs, after leaving her outside. She also told me that it wasn’t my fault, I have been depressed lately, and have barely been able to take care of my needs. I still feel responsible for her death; Jupiter was such a sweet snake, and now she’s gone. My family believes that this is a good learning experience for me the because they think I should get another snake. I do enjoy snakes, but I don’t want another innocent animal to die because of my emotional instability. I wasn’t even able to say goodbye to my little baby.

  • I lost my Coco few days ago because of multiple mistakes that I made. He was only 5 months old 🐈.. I sent him outside the house in anger because my brother was eating food and he was getting irritated. I had 9 cats in total. Coco was out during the night with his brother Momo. I heard two dogs behind them early morning around 4 am. Momo made it through the window but Coco went ahead as he couldn’t understand what to do.. those two dogs went after him and I heard a loud scream, Coco was attacked. I thought he will make his way through to our house and I went back to sleep in this assumption. In the morning, I went out searching for him as he did not arrive and I found him dead😭😭😭 Right from the beginning it was all my fault. I killed my Coco.. I cannot explain how bad I am feeling everyday and I want to punish myself for doing this…

  • My precious cat lost her life tonight. Second one this year. I still don’t know what was wrong. I should have known. Especially after the first cat’s death, I should not have brushed off her symptoms. I shouldn’t have waited until the symptoms got worse. I shouldn’t have been satisfied with half-assed online search. I shouldn’t have made convenient bullshit assumptions. I shouldn’t have made excuses for myself not to take her to the vet. I shouldn’t have decided her heavy breathing this morning wasn’t as important as me getting high and going to sleep. Her last moment should not have been being hastily stuffed into a carrier and being tossed in the car by her panicking owner. I knew something was wrong, and I chose to ignore it and hope it was nothing serious. I chose to wait till it was too late. It all amounts to my comfort being more important to me than her life, so much so that I didn’t even make myself own up to it before it was too late.

    If I ever get another pet, I will make a huge deal out of anything I suspect. I will take all the debt that comes along with saving a life I decided to take care of. I will not make excuses for myself.

    Even so, that will never take away what I didn’t do for her. And I don’t want to hear someone tell me it is okay. She wasn’t just my pet, she was a fellow creature with a mind and life of her own. It isn’t okay that she died too young. It isn’t okay that I neglected her. It never will be. But I will move on and use this experience to do better in the future, if I ever take in another animal.

    Thanks for you guys’ stories by the way. They really do help.

  • My lady asked me to put our sweet dog Athena out on her runner so she could pee. I did, but I was careless and must not have latched her properly. She was hit by a car and died. This happened because of my carelessness, and now our sweet girl is dead (she was only 4), and my lady, her teen daughter, and my 2 little girls have been robbed of another 8-10 years with Athena. I don’t see how I’ll ever be able to get past this.

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