Dealing With Guilt When You Caused Your Dog’s Death

If you accidentally hurt or killed your dog – or you decided to put your dog to sleep and regret it – you may be consumed with guilt and grief. Here’s help for dealing with guilt after you caused your dog’s death.

I accidentally killed my dog In Going Home: Finding Peace When Pets Die, Jon Katz addresses the difficult but necessary topic of saying goodbye to a beloved pet. Accidentally killing your dog is an extremely painful experience, but you don’t have to go through it alone. Jon draws on personal experiences, stories from fellow pet owners, and philosophical reflections to help pet owners grieve the loss of their dogs. He gently asks readers to consider if they gave their dogs good lives and if they used their best judgment in the end. In dealing with these issues, you will deal with guilt about your dog’s death, and let go of the pain.

The most important thing to remember is that you’re not alone. Read through the comments section below, and you’ll see that accidentally killing your dog was a tragic mistake that happens to more people than you realize.

These tips for dealing with guilt after you caused your dog’s death are inspired by a reader who shared his guilty feelings about putting his dog to sleep. Saying good-bye to your beloved dog is heartbreaking – and it’s even worse if you feel guilty about your pet’s death. I hope these tips help.

Dealing With Guilt After Causing Your Dog’s Death

Some people accidentally kill their dog 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. 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 Dog’s Death

Dealing With Guilt When You Caused Your Dog’s Death

If you’re struggling with grief and guilty feelings because of the circumstances surrounding your dog’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, and I included stories from real pet owners who coped with guilt and grief in sometimes surprising ways.

Identify “imagined” guilt about your dog’s death

Not recognizing that your Yorkie, Doberman, or terrier 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 dog’s death, remember that sometimes illness or disease overcomes our dogs 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 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 after dog 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 accidentally killing your dog

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

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

Remember what you did right — because you did a lot right

guilty feelings killed my dog

Dealing With Guilt When You Caused Your Dog’s Death

Your dog 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 in many ways; don’t wave that away.

Dealing with guilt when you caused your dog’s death isn’t just about grieving; it’s about cherishing the best parts of your life with your dog. If you feel like you’ll never be happy again, read Can’t Live Without Your Dog? How to Survive Your Pet’s Death.

Do you feel like you caused your dog’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. I can’t offer advice on what to do about accidentally killing your dog, but it may help you to share what happened. Sometimes writing brings clarity and insight.

You may find How to Forgive Yourself for Not Protecting Your Dog helpful, especially if you feel like you’ll never experience the peace of self-forgiveness.

May you forgive yourself after your dog’s death. Know that your dog has forgiven you, and your dog knows it was an accident! You would never have hurt your dog if you knew what was going to happen. Your dog is free and happy now, and resting in peace. May God give you peace, heal your soul, and help you open your heart to love another dog.

“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.”

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Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen
Welcome - I'm glad you're here! I can't give advice, but you're welcome to share your experience below. I'm a writer in Vancouver; my degrees are in Psychology, Education, and Social Work. I live with my husband, two dogs, and cat. We are childless, & have made peace with it. It helps to love Jesus :-)

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55 Responses

  1. Bethani says:

    My sweet baby, Cash, passed away on Friday, July 24, 2015. He was half beagle, half pug, so a puggle. He was a huge cuddler and was always there for me no matter what. He was the best, most loyal and loving friend I have ever had. I am having a very hard time learning how to be okay. Every day I wake up without him and it’s like a new punch in the stomach. Every time I let our other dog, Ace, outside it is like another punch in the stomach. I pray that atleast a small part of Cash will live on through Ace, as Cash was already around when Ace was only a puppy. My family went on a weekend trip to the mountains, and my mother always watched Cash for me. He stayed with her for over a year when I went to my first year of college. I sent Cash to my moms, and Ace to my sisters as they are a lot to handle when they are together. Cash was the one I wasn’t worried about, because he was at my moms. We left for the mountains on Thursday, and Friday night was when I got the call from my mom. She was crying when I answered the phone so immediately I knew something was very wrong. When I heard her say that he was dead, it felt like all the air in my stomach got sucked out and i couldn’t breathe. I’ve never felt a hurt like that before. My mom had hooked him to a teatherball pole in the back yard. She even put up a pop up pavilion tent so that his water would be in the shade. He has been tethered to a tree or pole several times before, so I wasn’t too worried. However, it is dead of summer and Cash wrapped his lead around the pole too many times so he couldn’t reach the water. When my mom got home from work that day he was dead. She is racked with guilt and is probably afraid I hate her. I don’t. I hate myself for not having his shots up to date so that he could be boarded. I hate myself for not telling her to just put him in his bed in her basement while she was at work. I hate myself for going on that vacation to the mountains. I know she loved Cash. I just don’t know what to do to be okay. I had him cremated, and he will have a whole mantle dedicated to him. It will be one week since his death tomorrow and it isn’t getting any easier. I have faith that one day it will no longer hurt as time goes on, but this scares me too because I don’t want to forget him. I feel like when the hurt is no longer in my heart it means I have gotten over him. My mom kept him wrapped up in the freezer so I was able to hold him again before I dropped him off for the cremation. That was the hardest thing i’ve ever done. Thinking of how strangers may be not handling his body with care as they take him to the fire is misery. They told me it takes up to two weeks to get the ashes back so now all I think about is if he is somewhere rotting while they wait to cremate him. I’m just living in pure misery. I do believe in God, and I believe he is all powerful and can do anything so when I pray I ask him to help me be okay and to tell Cash I am sorry and I love him. The only thing right now that gives me any peace is the thought of him being in Heaven. I have searched and can’t find any scripture that says wether dogs go to heaven or not, but it does speak of animals being in Heaven. It also says that God will provide everything we need to be completely and blissfully happy. Today I feel like I will need my Cash to be that happy. Please pray for me. and pray for my mom because I know she is hurting too.

  2. Yvonne says:

    Hi, I have the guilt with me too for having my cat on a leash with harness. I tried many many different ways of tying my kittens up to have room to roam and not get tangled. We had to go away for something important. I ended up being so exhausted of finding ways to keep them safe, that I forgot a vital detail. Make sure they can’t climb up high. This is what happened to one of my kittens. He climbed up high and got tangled and ended up hanging himself. While in airport, we got the call from a relative who among others would look after them. It’s a huge shock and oh so hard to accept.

  3. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    I’m so, so sorry for your loss. The guilt of being part of a dog’s death is a terrible burden to bear. I can’t imagine how guilty and sad you must feel. You will always remember your beloved dog – and your beloved dog will never forget how much you love and care you offered.

    The one consolation is that your dog is now resting in peace. No pain, no suffering – and perhaps even frolicking with other dogs and enjoying the best treats ever! Your dog’s death is one small part of the life you had together. It’s the worst, most painful part. But your time with your dog was so full of other amazing adventures, laughs, cuddles, and moments of connection.

    Your dog is resting in peace, and wanting you to be free of the guilt and grief you feel. My prayer is that you find forgiveness in your heart. Forgive yourself. If you had known what was going to happen, you would have changed everything! You did not deliberately cause your dog’s death.

    Hold on to that when the feelings of guilt and grief threaten to overwhelm you: you did not deliberately cause your dog’s death, and you would have done everything possible to change what happened.

    You’re in my thoughts and prayers. May healing, freedom, and peace be yours.

    In sympathy,

  4. Feeling like a monster says:

    My dog Bear peed in my room. He had been doing so well with that lately. I was so mad at him that I spanked him and when I went to pick him up to put him in his cage, he slipped out of my hands and hit the hardwood floor head first. He just laid there panting with his tounge sticking out of his mouth. We rushed him to the vet and I just looked into his eyes praying for the best. When we got there, he had fluid in his brain and they thought he might have punctured a lung from a cracked rib. What’s worse is that I couldn’t afford the treatment to try to save him so we had to opt for euthanasia. The doctor said even with treatment the chances were slim but still I feel so helpless. When they bought him in the room for us to say goodbye, he ended up dying in my arms my eyes locked to his. I am heartbroken and so ashamed. I should never have hit him. All he ever did was love me and I killed him. I was so consumed by anger that I caused the death of my sweet bear bear.I tried to catch him and I replay that moment over and over. I will live with this regret for the rest of my life. I hope he knows how sorry I am and that I never meant to hurt him. I pray that he knows he was much loved and adored and I will miss him forever. I hope he can forgive me so that I might forgive myself. I am so sorry bear please forgive me

  5. Janemary says:

    Terry – You were made a victim in this, and I am loathe to ever use that word, but there it is. You were set up. You were with your beloved in spirit and heart. I doubt she would not have wanted you to witness this. When we go to professionals, there is a reason for doing so. It is because we believe things are beyond our capacity. We expect the professionals to help us have clarity in decision-making, especially when we are overcome with fear and despair. You were, in fact, there for your beloved dog at the end.

  6. Janemary says:

    I chose to risk more rapid deterioration of my dog due to selfishness. Her rapid decline is directly attributable to selfishness and denial. That’s all there is to it. Regardless of all the care given, the final analysis is that death was the result of selfishness and denial, but mostly selfishness.

  7. Terry says:

    Please help. My dog 14 died suddenly of kidney failure on Wednesday. My vet I knew for 14 years was out of town.. The substitute vet told me her viens collapsed and that the injection could be difficult , stress my dog, be traumatic. He said he was sparing me. To put her down.. She was dying, I was in a haze it all happened so fast,, I was thinking right.
    I said ok, I’ll wait in the other room. I hate myself, I know now I could have been there..
    After, he said it went easy and oeaceful. I missed her passing.. She did not get to see my face , the last vision of me on this earth.. I’m sobbing my guilt is killing me.
    I can’t stop seeing her lying there , looking for me..I know they can smell very well, I’m sure she sensed I was near, but not with her,,
    I can’t sleep or stop crying..
    Please , any one can relate or help me…
    I’m a mess. Loved her so, can’t believe I listened to a stranger…he scared was fear…but now I missed her passing…
    Please help..

  8. Rick Cosci says:

    Annelize, I am truly sorry for your loss of Jacky. It is so hard to lose a beloved dog. I lost my girl Tiffany on April 17 and I posted here sometime later when I found this site. I really thank you for your “summary” of many of the helpful thoughts you have found here on this site and I imagine in other places as well. I am going to print it out and read it every day, like you. Your words really do point us in the direction of healing, the love we have for our pets, ourselves and the other folks in our life. It has been 13 weeks today, and it is just starting to get easier for me to start living again. My guilt and grief had been dominating almost all my thoughts every day as I wrestle with the “why’s and if only ” , over and over again. I have had to allow myself to grieve and wonder how long it will last. I miss my Tiffy every day. Now that I am coming to terms with the fact of her passing, she is gone, and it is futile to think about what I should have done, it cannot be changed, when I think of her…..instead of going over the last day….I try to think of a good day we had, and there were many….that makes me happy to think of those times, I was so lucky to have those times with such a wonderful companion. I look forward to being together in Heaven someday, that is my fondest hope and prayer. Until then, she is with me in Spirit, in the memories of my heart, where the love is. I also started attending a pet-loss support group and that is helpful, it really helps to be able to express these feelings with others who have gone through something similar……………..thanks again and be strong, all of you out there, your dog (or other pet) would want it that way, and be happy too, when you can………….xoxoxoxo

  9. Dawn says:

    I am so sorry Elissa I feel your pain it’s been nearly a week since my baby simba died and he was 2.5 I have just got home from work (I live in the uk) and I just wish it was Monday tomorrow the weekend is going to be unbearable the pain the guilt the missing him it’s horendous. Especially as myself and my bf are at different stages in the grief process I’m finding that so hard. I think what you have said is so true though thank you for those words x

  10. Elissa says:

    Thoughts and prayers to everyone struggling. We put my dog Charlie to sleep on Wednesday. The previous Thursday, when he was out for his walk with his dog walker, he slipped out of his collar, ran into the street and got hit by a car. He had very severe lung contusions but no other injuries. The vets did everything they could at the hospital and he fought so hard but ultimately, they thought the injuries were too severe to recover from.

    Here’s the guilt part. The Wednesday before it happened, I came home from work early and took him up to the park. On our way there, I saw that his collar seemed loose. I remember just sort of seeing it. I did not make the connection that I should tighten it — if I had had that thought, I would have. I just noticed it and we went to the park, came back, everything was fine. I feel so guilty. I’m so mad at myself for not making that connection to tighten his collar. I want him back for me and I want his life back for him. Happiest sweetest most fun and smart dog. He was only 2.

    I found something on a vet website that I’ve found helpful. Pasting it below:

    Do not focus on only one event that led to your pet’s death. Instead, think of those events as a puzzle for which your part was one piece. For example, suppose you let your dog out in the yard and she got outside of the fence and was hit by a car. You might think “If only I wouldn’t have let her out when I didn’t have time to be outside with her.” Perhaps you play that over and over in your mind and have convinced yourself that you are totally to blame for what happened. Try breaking the events down so you have a better understanding of your role. For example, did you have control over something attracting your dog’s attention so that she wanted outside of the fence? Did you have control over the fact that just at the time when she was out a car was coming? Or, that the person driving the car did not see her in time or was unable to avoid hitting her? Did you have any control over the extent of her injuries? You can apply this type of thinking to any situation where an accident was involved and hopefully you will begin to see that many events occurred that led to your pet’s death.

  11. Alysia says:

    I ran over a stray dog lying on the road. It was lying in the middle of the road just right where cars are going downhill. I could not stop on time immediately when I saw it lying there and ran over it. I am so sorry…. I wish I could turn back time

  12. Jason says:

    24 hours ago I ran my beautiful, loyal 3 year old German Shepherd dog to death. She lived for trail running and was, as usual, madly excited for yesterday morning’s run. We went out on an 8 mile trail run near our home that she had done many times before. A few miles in I could see that she was more tired than usual but I was determined to do the run and thought she could tough it out. By the time I realized she was having real trouble, we were several miles from the trailhead with no phone and no one else around and no water. I considered the options and felt the best thing was to keep pushing her to keep moving . I didn’t want to leave her alone that far from the trailhead, fearing that she would get lost if she got up and tried to move. So I pushed her, harshly at times, until she finally collapsed a mile from the trailhead. I knew at this point that she was in real trouble. I tried to carry her but this scared her and she tried to bite me. So I had to leave her and run home. I pushed a bike trailer back up to where she was. I tried to give her some water that I had brought but she couldn’t take it. She was having bloody diarrhea. I loaded her into the bike trailer and pushed her back home, trying to get some water into her mouth on the way. Before I could get home she started convulsing and then died. I tried CPR but to no avail.
    My heart just aches for her. She loved and trusted me, but I didn’t listen to her when she was trying to tell me something was wrong. We were also running essentially in wilderness with no contingency plan for something like this. My God, I am so sorry, Rani, I am so sorry…

  13. samantha says:

    Two months in an the loss of my gorgeous girl a little griffon dog is still haunting me. My partner ran her over and I watch the whole thing as he pulled away from the curb and ran over her in slow motion, she wsa dying on the side of the road for about 10 minutes…… I emigrated 5 years ago and life has not been esy I have felt isolated and she was my best friend my life..and we killed her, I didn’t have her on the lead, everything is so much quieter and sadder now and it’s more then i can bare oh my goodness not sure if I can go on in this life without darling Grace! so sad

  14. Jay D says:

    So nice that you have this site to allow people to freely and anonymously vent their grief.

    I had my cocker spaniel for about 10 years. He was a soulmate to me. His unfortunate death occurred about 11 years ago after I fell asleep in a chair outside with him by my side. While I slept, he roamed off and got hit by a car. Picking him up off the pavement while he was convulsing was one of the most traumatic moments of my life. I brought him to the vet at the time and had to put him down. I can’t help but think of that every time I drive past the location where he was hit, which is daily. I feel incredible guilt to this day for falling asleep in that chair.

    I guess this unfortunate incident is reignited by the fact that I just got a new cocker spaniel puppy that looks and acts incredibly like my former one. He brings me much joy but does bring back the painful memories of the incident mentioned above. I guess that’s why it is fresh in my mind. Hopefully venting the grief here can help get it off of my mind. Thanks for letting me share my story.

  15. Annelize Cloete says:

    I posted on this site on 1 June 2015. My loving doggie Jacky died on 29 May 2015 due to a puff adder bite. She was in ICU for the whole night but died the next morning. I was so devastated and filled with horror and guilt because I didn’t save her. I didn’t go into the bush and try to get the snake away. I panicked. The first 3 weeks was the worst. I didn’t want to eat. I didn’t want to live. I kept on hating myself for killing my 6 year old friend. Because she wasn’t an ordinary dog. She was my best, best friend. She was my everything. She even talked to me – with barks. Then I started reading all the other posts here and realised I wasn’t alone. With all the advice and information on this site, I build myself a paragraph and rephrase it over and over. “We know we would never deliberately do anything to hurt our pets, accept that it was your dog’s time to go, accidents do happen and our pets would forgive us for letting them have their freedom and these are the risks we take, we must create a new place for them in our hearts with no pain or sadness, you are not a bad pet owner, you are a loving pet owner who made decisions based on love, so you made a mistake and wish to God you could turn back time but the reality of life is it only goes in one direction. You need to know that the couple of years you had with your pet were probably the best of his little life. With anything we do there always is some risk involved. We cannot see into the future and know what is going to happen. Most pets enjoy running, jumping and nature and need these experience to maintain good physical and mental health. Accidents do happen even when we are trying to be the best guardians possible for our pets. We are human beings with frailties and faults. We make mistakes. We are basically good people.To hurt ourselves with the terrible pain of guilt is to do disservice to the love we felt for our pets. We need to forgive ourselves. Let the guilt go. Remember what you did right because you did a lot right.” So I keep on reading this whole paragraph every day and it makes sense but it does not take the hurt and pain away, only the guilt. My wish for everyone on this site is that with time the pain will ease and the guilt will go away. Stay strong. xxxx

  16. Heartbroken says:

    My sweet English Bulldog Winnie Pickles passed away Saturday July 18th. My little pig as I would call her loved to push our back door open and go lay in the sun. I always double check to make sure she was inside before we would leave the house but this past Saturday We werew in a rush and forgot to double check. She went out and I did not know. When we returned home 4 hours later she was by our back door and unresponsive. I feel so terribly bad that I did not triple check for my baby. She suffered because I was in a rush to get somewhere. I will never ever forgive myself I am so heartbroken and so incredibly sad.

  17. Jerry Tenorio says:

    I lost my baby cat also, She was my companion through 16-1/2 years. We had so many hard times, and happy times too. I felt exactly as you do, but dont hurt anymore, you will be with your baby someday in heaven. Heaven is a real place, not a fiction. Ask God to give your dog a place to wait for you, and he will. Have happy thoughts, and remember that you will have a great reunion with your pet.

  18. Dawn says:

    I’ve just lost my darling precious amazing little boy Saturday 18th July at 9.00. I am devastated completely heartbroken he was only 2 and a half he’s life completely cut short I feel he’s been snatched away and I keep going over and over how things could be different and he’s death prevented, you see he wasn’t ill he was so fit healthy and happy.

    I feel so much guilt, I feel like I’ve killed him and completely let him down.

    Simba was a patterdale/fox terrier little dog the most amazing, caring loving dog, he loved me and I completely adored him, he was t just a dog he was my best friend he helped me through really dark days, he was the most well tempered affectionate dog you could imagine and I knew one day we would be parted but not like this not so so soon.

    I spoilt simba like he was my child he got everything he wanted, I protected him from the world but I know now I didn’t.

    You see simba adored swimming absoloutley loved it and was a fantastic little swimmer, I was careful to keep him on a long lead or small contained areas, my only ever thought really was to be careful the water wasn’t muddy or too deep or only let him go where I would be ready to go in and get him if an issue ever occurred. He was very obsessed with swimming he would almost smell water and scream and cry to he was allowed a paddle or a short swim, he would only really have a splash about for maximum ever 20 minutes most times much shorter 5, 10, 15, afterwards he would shake and cry to go back in he loved it so much I thought it was excitement he wasn’t cold and would get dried off. The only thing was he would wee a lot and have some diaroeah but a few minutes later he would be running around barking for you to throw he’s ball. My self and my partner took him to cornwall last week we always went on holiday in the uk now we would never have put him in a kennel or really left him with anyone I felt no one could be really trusted in his care as much as we would, we had the most amazing time for the week simba paddled in the sea and shared our cream teas and ate sausages and fish, we joked how we must all diet when we got home and told him you as we’ll mate even though he was the most fit and had a great little physic. We drove home Friday night. Saturday my partner and I went to tescos to get a few bits and we spotted a swimming /paddling pool we thought my god he will love this, when we got home we set about getting it pumped up simba was watching and looking on excited with his ball, we realised there wasn’t a pump included so my boyfriend whom is asthmatic started blowing it up, we felt oh we can’t disappoint him he’s so excited, eventually we got the sides blown up and started to put the hoose in to fill it with water the hose was at the side not powering in just filling the pool when the pool was half an inch simba jumped in with his ball and started playing splashing around for the next 30 minutes or so the pool only reaching 3 inches max he jumped in ran around the garden pleading us to throw his ball in which we would do and he would retrieve we was with him the whole time Darran my boyfriend cooking the BBQ, we sat down to eat and simba got out he had a wee and a poo, then within minutes he wasn’t right he just looked sleepy and then sicked up some water, he kept passing water we hadn’t seen this before and was worried I grabbed him in my arms and we rushed to the emergency vets, in the 5 minute drive he worsened just wanting to sleep, I kept saying simba, walkies, sausages, where’s your ball, uncle jason, all the words he recognised to keep him a wake, we rushed in banging on all the consultant rooms as no one was around then I put him down he half collapsed the vet hearing our cries for help, the vet took him said he would put him on some oxygen, we had to wait outside, 20 frantic minutes passed and we was called in and told the most devasting blow of my entire life he was brain dead and there was nothing to be done. We cried and screamed begging for something to be done but nothing could he was only being kept alive by a hand oxygen pump. I cried I’m so sorry I’ve killed you, I love you,. Simba died of water intoxication he basically consumed too much water and the water had diluted his salt levels and cause him to seizure and die and when they resuscitated him he was brain dead. I can’t believe he is gone I keep blaming myself why didn’t I see this coming why didn’t I take more notice how many wees he had after he’d been swimming in the past, or the shaking which I’d assumed was pure excitement as he tried to always go back in. Why did we get the pool how I wished we hadn’t, would it had been ok for just 5 minutes or why didn’t I notice how much he was consuming when splashing in the water. I never knew of this danger and even the vet whom said he had never in 25 years of being a vet had ever experienced this as it’s so rare but none of this helps it doesn’t matter how much I ever did for him or cared for him I still feel like I’ve killed my dog and this will be with me forever. It doesn’t matter that no one knows of this danger vets don’t warn of this or there’s hardly anything on the internet I should have know as I’m his mum and I’ve let him down. Now all I have is a million memories and hundreds of pictures of our beautiful harmless baby.

  19. Jolene says:

    These stories are incredibly sad and break my heart, but I was searching for a place to share my grief. It is not my own dog that has passed away, but my best friends. Two days ago, I was driving to his house like I so often do, and when I was coming up his driveway his two dogs ran towards my car barking like always, then they always move. I slowed way down, but one of the dogs stopped suddenly in front of me while I glanced to see where the other dog way, and I ran him over. It was terrible. My friend saw the whole thing. He ran to check but he was gone. I completely lost it, I was crying and shaking so hard and I couldn’t breathe, I’ve never experienced anything so awful. He was so excited to see me coming that he got distracted, and I got distracted. I’m always so careful, I replay it over and over again and keep thinking “if only”.

    I know in my heart it was a complete accident, but I feel like I have failed, and my friend feels like he failed. We are both so protective of our dogs, and it’s my job to make sure my own dog is safe and that’s the care I take with other pets too. Just this one time…I know in my heart it was an accident, but the guilt I feel is overwhelming. I know what I took from him. A caring, funny, unconditionally loving companion. He doesn’t blame me and knows it was an accident, but he is hurting so bad from this loss and that makes me hurt even worse. The pain is unbearable, I don’t know what to do. I think about how dogs are such a big part of daily routine, and feel overwhelmingly guilty when I look at my own dog, because of what I did, my fondness for my friend’s dog, and how much my dog loved playing with him. I don’t know how to be there for my friend, and I don’t know if I can ever forgive myself, and I’m so scared that he will never forgive me. I’ve driven up the driveway hundreds of times and the same thing has always happened, except this one day. I replay it over and over again, and there’s nothing that could ever break my heart more than seeing my friend hold his buddy one last time and cry, and knowing that I’m the one who did it. I empathize with him, but I can’t imagine how bad he is hurting. This pain is unreal and all consuming right now, so much that I don’t know how I can live with it. I feel absolutely awful, and I’m so scared that he will always blame me, which at this point I feel like that’s what I deserve.

    I try and take some peace in knowing that he didn’t suffer, but why did this have to happen? I tell my friend that he gave that dog an amazing life for the short time that he was on this earth, and that he is a great owner and both his dogs are lucky to have had his love. His other dog is so depressed as well. I don’t know how it’s possible to feel any worse for what I’ve done. Reading these stories I see that it’s common to blame ourselves and feel so guilty, and I would do anything to take it all back just like everyone else here would.

  20. Lorraine Browning says:

    That is so sad. I do believe in reincarnation and if you want your pets back you will find them again and they will find you. I read about a woman who was looking for a cat just like the one she had which died, and she did she found an identical kitten being sold 9 months after the death of her cat and it was born with in a few hours of the death of her cat so she believes that this is her cat reincarnated as it sits in the same chair and acts just like her original cat. A lot of people do believe in reincarnation, I hope to start looking for a bichon that was born on the 14th July in a few weeks and this may be my maxy.

  21. Celeste says:

    It was a Saturday hot and dry. I was alone in the house with my nephew. He wanted to take his lizard out side to get some sun.
    I turned my back and I ended up falling asleep as soon as i got to my room. I woke up when I woke up I went outside to check on them because I always do .And i went outside when I called all of my animals and only my cat showed up. it was weird it was actually really weird and I walked around the yard bcause I thought I thought they didn’t hear me my cat was looking at the Abandon car in the backyard but I didn’t think anything of it at that time.
    I got in my car and I drove and I called them for about 35 minutes.
    When I got back because something was wrong and could feel it. I noticed the abandoned car doors were open, my sister came up to me and told me she had bad news she told me the dogs were dead and I ran thinking I could help them I could fix them but as soon as I saw their faces I dropped to the floor because I died and I literally lost it I lost balance and I couldn’t breathe couldn’t function they suffocated and died of heat stroke in that car within the hr. And I could have prevented it
    The day they died I died. I can’t bring them back and it’s hard I lost my best friends, the love of my life.
    a lot of people blame my nephew it was my fault he is Eight and just a little boy I think they thought they were going for a ride.
    If I could go back in time that wouldn’t have happened
    the messed up thing about it is the next day the guy that owned the car came to get his car and that’s worst part is that it could’ve been prevented and I would still have my dogs right now. And I hold myself accountable. I failed them.
    they were in my whole life when I lay down that night it’s not the same to me. yes I have my cat but it’s not the same as doggy love people tell me to get over it and they tell me to Move on and I cant really talk about it to anyone because nobody really understand I don’t feel like I can’t go on im heartbroken
    Waking up is hard, its hard trying to go on with daily life but the thing that hurts the most is that I don’t get to see them every day.
    I don’t get to hear their cute little weird barks or putter payers on the floor or see them run around the yard like psychopaths on a mission to protect their yard or chased the cat around yard or the trash man or the mailman. we bury them that day in our yard because it’s where they belong and that’s where they will always be. I couldn’t go to the burial but I gave them the last hugs and kisses they would ever receive from me again.
    Marlo and fluffy were a huge part of our family.
    I wish I would’ve told them I love them more and look them in their eyes but I’m hoping that they knew of my love for them.
    I haven’t gone out in the yard and they’re bowls and their toys are still out. their water bowl is still sitting there. as well as their kennel.
    they did everything together. they even passed together in the abandoned car floor. They were buried together.
    They were always together, I am praying to God that they are together in heaven.
    I’m pretty depressed But I thought I had to reach out from somewhere because I want some to know my story and learn from my mistakes . But I will always love and miss them beyond any way I can show it.

  22. Lorraine Browning says:

    My Dog Max, had a bad eye it was a little misty. I took my pet to the vets last October he had his yearly injection and the vet said that Bichons do loose their sight at about 12 years which was the age of my max which would explain why his eye was misty. Then in February my dogs eye got a lot worse so I took him back to the vet, the vet then said I will take him out back and clean his eye, When she returned she told us that she had injected into the pupil some antibiotic. I was horrified by this and could not believe this was right, over the next couple of days my poor max,s eye filled with blood I took him back to that vet and said what have you done to him, so sheI will take him out back to clean his eye up and injected him again in the eye. He then had both eyes went bad and I took him to Queen mothers animal hospital in potters bar. There he had to have both eyes removed. I then took him to another vet because he was not healing at all and this vet cleared one wound up but the other just kept on getting bad. My dog then died of meningitis which would have been caused by the bad eyes. I feel that this is entirely my fault if I had took him to a better vet and if I had treated his eye earlier when it first started to go misty but I did not I just thought his eye would get better but it did not and all the terrible pain my little max who was so gentle and loving and always wagging his tail all the pain my dog went through was mine and now he has lost his life because of me. I don’t deserve to have pets. I could not even look after my dog properly he trusted me.

  23. Jerry Tenorio says:

    DONT feel guilty at all. She should have told you the cat was sick. You tried everything to contact her.
    Yes, feeling bad because the cat passed on to heaven is normal, but you will see the cat some day in heaven.
    Everyone who loves an animal that passes on feels like they could have done more, but you did what God wanted you to do. He wants her with him, in the happiest place there is!
    Be happy for her!

  24. Angel says:

    I had adopted a cat from a family, and she was 9 years old. I was so in love with her, and she was the friendliest cat I’ve met! Well when we brought her home she wouldn’t eat much and the lady said that she never really ate a whole lot so I assumed it was normal. Well a few weeks later she would go days without eating and barely drink anything. I had talked to a vet assistant and they thought that since she was with that family from 6 weeks old to 9 years old that she may be depressed. I had lost the lady’s number because I did not save it, but I had her address in my phone still. So I was desperate to get ahold of her, so I could let her know and see if she would take her back so that she didn’t end up dying from starvation, so I sent her a letter to her house. She ended up coming to pick her up a day after she recieved my letter and wasn’t very happy with me, but I wanted what was best for angel. I just got a rude, hurtful text today saying that I out their family through so much hurt because they’ve been at the vet with her for a week and had to put her to sleep due to liver and kidney failure and how I was neglectful to her. I never thought that she was that bad. She had just started not eating a few days before my letter and I feel like such a terrible person because of this. I loved that cat so much and it kills me that she is blaming it on me and doesn’t see that I tried to get her to her as fast as I could. I didn’t want to just drive to her house which is 45 minutes away and her not be home. I just feel like such a bad person right now. I didn’t want anything to happen to her at all.

  25. Chenel says:

    Firstly, I want to thanks all of you for your responses. It has been very therapeutic to know other pet owners and animal lovers share an understanding of what I am going through. I lost my beloved Pomeranian Rosco 3days ago and he was only 4.5 years only. Most loving creature ever. Full over energy. When I walked through he dog he would get so excited he would start jumping and bouncing and barking. He was a skilled jumper. Never seen a little dog jump that high with joy and excitement. He loved toys and would race back in forth through house wrestling with his toys full of energy. He was never down or sad. Normally my routine is to leave him outdoors during day because of my long hours at work. I leave him plenty of water and food. There is a dog house for shade. However the other day I felt terrible Ill and I called into work. I laid around in bed. I didn’t feel like being bothered with my dog so I put him outdoors as usual. He looked so sad as I closed the door on him. because he knew I was still in house he was scratching at door to come in. I got upset with him and yelled at him for annoying me with begging to come back and yelled at him to stop barking. He eventually stopped. I laid around the house running fever until I eventually made the decision to go into hospital to be evaluated. I left him in back yard around 3pm with two bowls of water and extra food. It was a hot day as most summer days are in Texas but he always stays in shade and does ok outdoors. I went to the hospital and got caught up with my own illness. The next day I texted my neighbor to please go check on my dog for me because he often works from home. Unfortunately that day my neighbor had actually went into office and would not be home until 4 pm. When he got there to check on my dog he was found laying in grass with bleeding wound from some type of wild animal that attacked him. Something bit him on the side and he layed in ground helpless and bleeding all the while I was in hospital. I was so devastated to hear that my dog suffered at the expense of my poor planning. I rushed off to hospital without making proper plans for my dogs wellbeing. I assumed he would be ok because it is routine for me to leave him out door for most of the day. I also assumed being a dog he would be ok overnight until I get things in place for him he next day. Well my assumptions were wrong. He was attacked by something and had a horrific and undeserving death for such a kind and loving animal. I am still in hospital as I write this and it and truely superseded my illness. The pain I feel is so intense. Knowing that I was not able to be clearheaded enough to make better arrangements for my dog had affected me greatly. I can’t eat. Struggling to sleep. Crying uncontrollably. I know when I return home he will not be there waiting for me. My neighbor took care of arrangement for his body. I can’t have children and that was my child and I loved and spoiled him rotten. The loss is immense because I deeply loved that dog. I never realized the extent of the live I had for him until he died which is unfortunate. This is a difficult process to go through and the grieving is so intense. I just hope time will heal all the pain I feel at the moment. That’s for letting me share my thoughts and feeling. I will cherish all our fond memories. With love for Rosco!!!!

  26. Jim says:

    I have read most of the stories here and can relate. I am sorry for the greif you all have experienced i would like to tell my story about may beautiful proud German Shepherd Lexi. Me and my wife have 7 dogs so as you can guess we love animals. However i must say Lexi was a special princess. We usually rescue dogs or pick up strays, but lexi was our purebreed. We bought her 13 years ago when my daughter was 12. at two years old, she got chronic diareah and was losing alot of weight. The vet told me it was probably leukemia and i should put her down. My gut feeling was different so i spent one afternoon researching her symptoms on the internet. She had EPI a pancreatic diffiency. So for the last 11 years we treated her food with powder. About the last year hip displasia started taking its toll and my poor lexi struggled to get up and could hardly climb stairs. I gave her periodic hip shots for this, and a hip pill mixed in her food. I knew eventually a decision would have to be made when she could no longer walk. But we even looked into a buggy with wheels that could support her back legs. she was alert, had a good appetite and would wake me up almost every morning i overslept by licking my hand and pushing her head againts my hand for a head rub. The day before yesterday we got up and found large piles of clear mucous vomit around the house. She wouldnt eat either. We both figured she had a stomach flu or ate something that didnt agree with her so we cleaned up and went to work. When we came home she still wasn’t eating so we figured if she was still sick in the morning we would take her to the vet. I went to bed early bc i had taken some medicine and wasnt feeling good. And after an hour or so i noticed she was making loud belching type noises. At first i thought it was just gas but then it persisted to the point i woke my wife up and told her something wasnt right. She suggested we call the emergency vet number and seeif they could maybe meet us in. (We live way out in the country) i googled giving dogs tums and tried to give her one but her teeth were clamped down so tight i couldnt open her mouth so i squeezed one in between her teeth. We gave her water and she drank some and i went back to sleep. At 7 Oclock my wife noticed the noises had stopped and we got up and noticed her face was sunk in and she was barely breathing. I stroked her face and back and told her in a soft voice we were here. I called the emergency vet number and in tears asked them to call me back ( they never did call me back). Then she started struggling for air and at 7:18 she took her last breath. I am heartbroken and angry that i didnt listen to my wife and call the vet the night before. Who knows? Maybe they could have saved her. And even though her hips were bad maybe they could have prolonged her life another year. I feel that through her entire life I spoiled her and did my best but how could I have dropped the ball at the most crucial moment? I also feel guilty that she had to suffer all day Friday and friday night. I have my other dogs but i almost feel guilty spending time with them. I feel so empty inside and want to bring her back but I cant. Neither can I change my poor choice of not taking her in.

  27. Tin says:

    I was browsing through the web trying to find stuff that could ease the longing and guilt I’m feeling for the death of my lil buddy, Chip the Beagle. Last Friday I came home from work and saw my living room in complete disarray. Everything was cluttered and I immediately noticed considerable amount blood in the floor and furniture. Right away I checked who among my doggies got wounded and that’s when I noticed Chip was not among those who met me at the porch. I checked inside and was really devastated to see Chip lying dead. Apparently he was attacked by my bigger Dalmatian-lab Mackie. So many thoughts kept running on my mind. So much “I could have”. I feel so guilty that I let them stay together unaccompanied when what I usually do is to isolate the more aggressive one from the rest. I’m angry at my self that I was not able to protect Chip. I can’t stop crying since Friday. I haven’t talked to any of my family as well for I’m partly blaming them for leaving the house unattended. Im terribly missing my sweet lil Chip, and feeling really devastated with his loss.

  28. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Dear Molly,

    Thank you for sharing your story – it’s a terrible thing, to be burdened with the guilt of a dog’s suffering and death. As you can see from the comments of other dog owners….there are no easy answers, and there is no immediate relief from the heaviness of the guilt and grief.

    I’m sorry you’re going through this. Both you and your boyfriend must be feeling a whole lot of different emotions, and your relationship is being tested in a whole new way.

    It’s important to remember that if you and your boyfriend knew that Patches would die, you both would have taken her to the vet immediately. He thought Patches would heal, because the truth is that often dogs DO heal on their own! They’re survivors, and they’re strong. But there was something else wrong with Patches, and that took her life. Maybe there was internal bleeding.

    Maybe you need to take time to grieve both Patches’ death and the end of one stage of your relationship with your boyfriend. You now see him more realistically. He is a human, and he makes mistakes. He didn’t make the right decision, and it cost him his dog’s life. The most important thing is whether or not he learns from this mistake. If in the future he would do the same thing all over again, then maybe he’s not the man you want to be with. But if he is sincerely remorseful and learns from this, then he will be a better man in so many ways. He’ll be more thoughtful, caring, sensitive, and cautious.

    There is no way to know for sure if your boyfriend will grow into a better man because of this, which is why maybe it would be a good idea to take a couple weeks (or more) on your own. Maybe you need to be alone to grieve this, and to see your relationship more clearly.

    I don’t know what the best thing for you to do is, but a break won’t hurt a strong relationship.

    I’ll keep you in my thoughts and prayers. Know that your beloved dog Patches is resting in peace, and is watching you and your boyfriend with joy and love. Her spirit will always be with you.

    In sympathy,

  29. Alyxandra Yatsko says:

    I just shared my story, but reading all of your stories here have really made me feel not so alone. I’m starting not to feel like a bad person, just a human as capable of mistakes as we all are. I feel less like I did when I first clicked on this site, which was neglectful and irresponsible, maybe even incompetent and unable to be trusted to care for a pet. Thank you all for your stories as heartbreaking as they are, I can feel this wound beginning to heal Maybe all of our pets are up in Heaven, romping around God’s feet and waiting for the day we’ll all come to meet them. I’d like to think that.

  30. Alyxandra Yatsko says:

    This forum alone has helped quite a bit. We just lost our VERY much beloved puppy last night, he was not even 6 months old. My fiancee (Andrue) just started a new job with demanding work hours a few days ago, so we arranged that our neighbor’s son would come over and check in on our little guy a couple times a day, let him out and give him food and water (we never allowed him outside on his own even, we were that protective… he was like a second child to us). Yesterday Andrue was asked to work from 8am to 2pm, but because it was ridiculously hot yesterday they asked him to come back at 6pm to work until 9pm once the hot part of the day was over. He came to pick me up from work and asked me if I’d like to come see where he is working, to which I said yes of course I did, not thinking anything could be amiss. Suffice to say we did not return home until late at night as we had to pick up our daughter from my in-laws’ house which was about 45 minutes out of the way. We arrived home to find our sweet baby dead, laying in a pile of laundry with half of a 2 liter bottle stuck on his muzzle. Andrue immediately felt the worst guilt of both of us, because little did I know that he had returned home for a short nap and to check on him so our neighbor’s son never came by. In his exhaustion (he does metal roofing and we live in central Arkansas) he must not have realized that our pup was out of water. It’s not unusual for the puppy to climb into our bathtub as it is a cool place for him to nap now and again, and in the middle of Andrue’s nap he heard him scratching at the bottom of the bathtub and didn’t realize he might need water, so he told him to hush and lay down. His alarm to come pick me up did not go off at the right time and he ran out of the house late, again not stopping to check his water. The poor little thing must have been trying to get some water, got into our garbage and got stuck, with nobody to help him.

    Now not only am I consumed by profound grief (my last dog, Lady, ran away last October and we never saw her again), but I feel helpless to console my partner who must feel an exponentially greater amount of guilt than me. I do feel guilt as well because everyone knows when you lose anyone you love, you’ll find a way to make it your fault. I do understand that these things happen and I know I’ll move past it one day, but right now my heart is ripped in two. I debated not coming to work this morning, I debated even staying in bed all day… or all weekend. There are so many painful factors; the fact that he was just a puppy, the fact that it could have been avoided, the fact that he died alone and probably scared. I’ll always wonder how long it took, if it was painful, and the thoughts can be incredibly overwhelming.

    The one thing I can do is console myself with the fact that he only got the best care, he was bathed weekly, fed twice a day at least, always had plenty of water (except this one time of course) and slept at the foot of our bed every night. He took rides with us whenever possible, was the perfect companion to my 2 year old daughter and never was temperamental.

    His name was Kelevra (Hebrew for “Bad Dog”), but he was the best dog I could have ever asked for. I know it will be a long time before I am ready to commit to another pet, but time heals all wounds, maybe not entirely but enough that we can move on with our lives. I just hope peace comes to me and my partner soon.

    Thank you for letting me share my story.

  31. Molly says:

    I am extremely distraught this morning over the loss of my boyfriend’s dog, Patches. My boyfriend was dog-sitting his neighbor’s dog (a lab/retriever mix-I think?) but a big dog, and it did not get along with Patches (a dachshund (sp?)) so the two were kept separate anytime my boyfriend dog-sat or the neighbor came to visit with the dog. Unfortunately, after feeding all the animals after he got home from work yesterday, he decided to mow the grass and forgot to crate the neighbor’s dog to keep him separate from Patches. Well, the neighbor’s dog viciously attacked Patches. When my boyfriend called me to tell me what happened, I rushed right over and Patches was just lying still and I could see several of the bites (deep gashes) and I suggested we take her to the vet. My boyfriend said no, that he thought Patches was too bad off and would not make it and he was also concerned about spending money at the vet when he didn’t think they would be able to do much for her (he can be kind of a cheapskate.) I told him I would help pay for at least an exam to assess whether Patches could be saved or not and my boyfriend refused the offer. And I told him that his neighbor would probably tend to the costs. My boyfriend cleaned the wounds but otherwise, just made Patches comfortable on her bed. I also offered to give Patches a 1/2 aspirin for pain and my boyfriend nixed that idea, too. By the next morning, she had moved near the couch, on the floor and was just sitting. I gave her a plate of water and she did lap that up, and my boyfriend thought this was a good sign she would get better. We went to work and my boyfriend said he would go home at lunch and check on her. He did and she had died between 9 and 1:00pm. I am sick over not insisting he take her to the vet to be assessed and to at least get pain meds to help with the pain she must have been in, or to have her put down. And I am totally guilt ridden about and I’m sure my boyfriend is also, and he has certainly cried and grieved the loss of his pet of 10 yrs. I just can’t get over that we didn’t rush her to a vet, irregardless of the cost. My friends tell me that I did the right thing to offer, but that my beau made the decision to not accept my financial help or take Patches to the vet himself. I feel badly she suffered for over twelve hours and I am angry at my boyfriend and upset with myself for either not taking her myself or really insisting he take her. I was very close with Patches and I am grieving the loss of this dear friend, and dealing with a mound of guilt. Any thoughts or suggestions on how to cope with something that can’t be undone would be a nice gesture. I could use a lift. Lastly, I see my boyfriend n a different light now (thinking he’s insensitive over all this) and not sure I want to be with him, so I need to either forgive him or walk away.

  32. Just a confession says:

    It is noticeable that a lot of people are blaming themselves for what happened to their beloved pets. Alas, i can’t offer any consolation, since i’ve lost 2 kittens for the past six months, one in the beginning of 2015 and another about a month ago. Obviously, this is not going to be a dog story, but i just want to join in with the people that do think that the deaths of their pets were preventable, because these are some of the most painful thoughts that one can live with. Actually, it can hardly be called ‘life’ anymore, knowing that the pet was trusting you for its needs, and you weren’t able to provide, for whatever reason. Indeed, it is terrible. The mental anguish one goes through never really goes away. And somehow, people always focus on the bad memories during their time with the pets, like, when they were angry at them or said something they now regret. Yes, that feeling and the images are with you all the time. And the irrevocability of it all is probably the worst part. You keep saying to yourself, if only i could’ve went 1 week before it all happened, when it could’ve been prevented, when you didn’t miss that vet appointment because you falsely thought that your pet is fine, just because it looks fine after a short treatment… I hope that you will find some way of coping with your guilt and the loss of your pet. Maybe our pets would have forgiven our negligence and shortcomings if they could.

  33. Rick Cosci says:

    Hi Laurie, thank you for hosting this site. It has been a big help for me in my time of grief and I see also for many others. It seems to help to know that others have gone through similar situations. Your support and that of others is much appreciated. It has been 9 weeks for me and I am still suffering, but I am working my way through with the help of Spirit, letting go of the pain, turning to God and friends.

  34. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Dear Michelle,

    I’m so sorry for your loss. What a tragic accident, and a terrible thing for both you and Baxter. I wish I knew what to say to comfort you…but I know that all you want is your dog back. It’s devastating and heartbreaking, and I am so sorry you’re going through this.

    I’ll keep you in my thoughts and prayers, that you find a way through the grief and guilt. May you forgive yourself for this terrible accident — and may you somehow know that it was an accident. You would never have hurt Baxter, and you would have done anything you could to save his life. Know that he is resting in peace, and he loves you even more know than he ever did before!

    Your dog loves you more now, because he sees how much he meant to you. He sees how much you love him, and he wishes you could find peace and self-forgiveness. He forgives you, and he wants you to be happy again.

    In sympathy,

  35. Michelle says:

    I live in Las Vegas where recently temperatures have been around 120 degrees. I was going to take my beloved dog Baxter to the dog park 3 days ago. I work nights and had gotten home early that morning, I was tired, but I’ve been trying to spend more time with him. I went inside my house to grab his leash, lock up, turn the alarm on etc. I started calling for him and had completely forgotten I had already put him in the car. By the time I realized it I ran outside and he was already dead on my passenger floorboard. What’s heartbreaking is that he had scratched my driver’s side door trying to get out. I was hysterical. I was shaking him trying to wake him up. I was begging for him to wake up. I rescued him almost 8 years ago and he was my baby and the best dog ever. I drove to the pet cemetery with him in my car and collapsed on the floor of their lobby. They had to bring me a chair and water because I was so distraught I was hyperventilating. I don’t know how I will ever forgive myself. I really don’t. The guilt I feel is absolutely overwhelming. It’s almost unbearable.

  36. JR says:

    Hello Jasmine, so sorry for your loss.
    I broke out in tears reading your post because the same thing happened to me, i had a greyhound puppy, and for the stupid reason of not being able to figure out where to get the money from, i didn’t get her vaccinated either! Thinking the same as you, that what were the chances of her getting parvo? Now i hate myself because my Cookie is dead, Cookie was her name, she was only four months old when she died, i loved her to death!
    And now i do not know how to move forward, the guilt is unbearable, she was so cute and perfect and well behaved, she was sooo smart, she would fool my other two dogs into leaving their food unattended, and she would eat it all, and the dogs would look at each other like asking themselves, what just happened?
    She was crazy smart, and i miss her so much! I can not get over the fact that she would be alive if it wasn’t for my mistake, she had her whole life ahead of her, and i messed up, and my little baby paid with her life, all because of my stupidity!
    The pain inside is unbearable, i cry myself to sleep every night, i miss her so much, i did this to her, she depended on me, i was supposed to protect her and i failed her, and no matter how i look at it, she is dead because of me, and it is killing me inside.
    I love you Cookie and i hope you can forgive me, because i can not forgive myself. Goodbye my little baby!

  37. Barbara says:

    Hi Steph,

    I know how hard it is to lose a beloved pet .. I have loved and lost different pets through the years and it’s heartbreaking each time it happens, particularly when you feel that you could and should have done more for your pet. We had a tuxedo kitty, before adopting two others from our local shelter. We lost Gustav to oral cancer in 2006. We tried everything we could think of to try and help him but in the end, letting him go was the best thing for him. Gustav was my husband’s cat, who lived with him in a small highrise apartment since he was a kitten, for many years before we met. My husband smoked in those days, and not knowing of the dangers of second-hand smoke for cats, we believe that this somehow contributed to the cancer, years later. Gustav was 14 years old when he passed.

    My husband eventually quit smoking for good, and through the years we have learned and gotten better at caring for our pets. When loss happens through tragedy or what we perceive as neglect, forgiveness is usually the last thing on our minds. If I could offer one piece of advice, it is to take your experience and learn from it so that the next time you make the decision to bring an animal into your family life, you make a promise to yourself and your new pet, to do everything in your power to love and protect them like they are your children. In essence there is really little difference between animals and the human children we choose to bring into our lives. Both need our love, guidance and protection. Talk to Nala and Mudd as if they were in front of you, and tell them how you feel. They will hear you. There is no pain or judgement in heaven, only love and understanding. Take care.

  38. Jasmine says:

    My husband and I just lost our 6 month old Great Pyrenees puppy yesterday. He had gotten into the trash and eaten a bunch of dirty diapers last Friday. We usually keep him in the laundry room when we leave and put up a baby gate. He had gotten tall enough to just hop over it but we didn’t know. The next day we had switched his food and he had thrown up a couple of times the next day. So we thought it was the diapers and food that might have upset his belly. He was still happy and hyper as usual. The next couple of days though he just started going downhill. Losing weight, not eating, lethargic, vomiting multiple times a day, foaming at the mouth and we thought the chemical gel in the diapers had gotten stuck in his GI tract or something and gotten him really sick. My husband and I have two young boys and one on the way and he works full time and I go to school full time so we’re very busy but we still tried to make time for Sammy. We made an appointment for him at the vet on Tuesday afternoon and he tested positive for Parvo. The vet said that they would need to hospitalize him and if not he would die from dehydration. The whole time we were at the vet he was weak and limp but still trying to wag his tail when we talked to him or pet him. It was extremely expensive but we paid for his treatment and the vet was positive that he’d recover so we weren’t worried either. We went home to bleach his room and his toys and crate so it’d be nice and clean for when he came home. The next morning I got a call around 8am and ignored it because the boys were still sleeping which was rare so I figured I’d get a few extra minutes of sleep too. When we woke up I decided to call the vet to check on my baby when she said it was her who tried to call earlier and that Sam had perked up yesterday once they got the IV in but she came in that morning and he had passed overnight. I just broke down and my husband had to continue the conversation. I was in shock. I couldn’t believe it. He was only 6 months old and he was the happiest, silliest, big ole baby! We never got his puppy shots because we didn’t have the money. It was on our list but we figured the odds that something so serious would happen was so slim that it could wait. We still have no idea how he got it. I am devastated and feel guilty that my young boy died because we couldn’t figure out how to pay for his shots that could have saved his life. Money is replaceable but a beloved pet isn’t. I knew the risks and still didn’t do anything about it. He was too weak to walk and when they carried him out of the room I said “bye sambooka” and pet him on the head like I always did and he weakly wagged his tail for me. He would still be alive if we hadn’t just been good pet owners and gotten his shots like we knew we should’ve. I feel like I didn’t even have enough time to get to know him. He didn’t even make it to a year old. My son won’t get to grow up with him because of me. I keep telling myself that there was no way to know what would happen and if I could go back I would do it all differently. But I just keep seeing his cute little innocent face and him knowing I should be the one to love and protect him and I failed him. Because of me he suffered and his life was cut incredibly short.

  39. Barbara says:

    My story is slightly different in that we are not 100% certain that our cat has died, but I feel like she must have met with a horrible end as we haven’t found her anywhere. Jenny, our grey and white tabby girl took off into the woods next to our home at midday when we tried to put her in an outdoor pen to give her some outside time. She is an indoor cat and has not had much exposure to outside. She had an immediate and very bad reaction to the pen. She thrashed against the wire screen and before I could get a hold of her, she got out and took off. I have searched in the woods and surrounding areas, tree stumps, dense bush, old shacks and enclosures. Everywhere I thought she could hide. I have gone out every day a few times a day, every day since she left. I have placed used litter and the contents of our vacuum in areas close to home, hoping that the scent will draw her back home. I have left food out and a makeshift shelter with a blanket that she slept on, outside. As we have predators such as coyotes and fishers, I feel that she may have been grabbed by something as she wouldn’t have any awareness or experience with them. She must have felt absolutely terrified that first night and I feel absolutely horrible about this. I feel completely responsible for what has happened and therein lies the guilt. I should have known better than to try this with her as she is very shy and skittish. I don’t care about forgiveness, but want more than anything for her to still be alive. I pray that Jenny will return but at this point its been 10 days and I don’t have a good feeling that she will on her own. Thank you for reading.

  40. Cynthia says:

    Chris, Im so sorry for your loss. When Maya died I thought I would lose my mind, I wanted to die too, to be with her. But there’s a promise from God that one day we will see them again. One of my friends gave a beautiful poem name the Rainbow Bridge…that poem gave me hope and today I feel much better. I hope you feel better too. God bless and hugs…

  41. Chris L says:

    Hi Cynthia & Annelize. I understand how you are feeling. A week ago (June 2) we lost our beautiful 2 year old Heeler/Collie dog Rusty. I was mowing grass on our driveway; the dog was with me. When I got to the road I checked for oncoming vehicles and I’m sure I never saw any. There is a hill about a mile away, that’s as far as I could see. I started back to the garage, was going to leave the mower for my wife and take the dog to the back. I got about 50′ from the road and heard a yelp. Rusty was lying in the middle of the road, hit by a truck. I am sure I never saw it when I checked so it must have been speeding.
    I feel bad for not putting the dog in the house when I was working in front, even for a minute, as we could not get him to stop chasing cars so always watched closely or leashed him when we had him in front.
    Rusty was my retirement buddy, basically we were together from the moment I got up until I went to bed (he would sleep by my bed for a while, then go to his chair in the living room- yes we had 3 chairs- mine, my wife’s, and Rusty’s). He was very smart and if I wanted him to do something I could usually talk to him like a person instead of giving commands.
    I have never felt worse in my life and ended up on anti-depressants. I am starting to feel better now. I just found an article “Dealing with the Guilt” by Ginger-lyn Summer dated September 10, 1999 (http:/ which I think is very helpful.

  42. Tim says:

    I know what you are feeling with the intense grief and guilt. I too ran over my beautiful dog six months ago. Although I still think about him every day the intensity does wane.

  43. Renee says:

    I too feel consumed with guilt and agony over what I did to my dog. Thank you for your story. I think most of us have done things to our dogs in anger. It helps me to know that someone else understands what I’m experiencing.

  44. Renee says:

    The comments on this blog have been so helpful to me. Two days ago, I caused the death of our 13 year old basset hound, who was the sweetest dog you’d ever want to know. I bathed him and, like I always do, tied him to our truck in our driveway to dry off. If I leave him in the backyard to dry, he rolls around in the mud. My son called and we decided to go somewhere together. I commented to him and to my husband, “I’m going to shower the dog smell off of me and move Bruiser to the backyard before I go.” Then I proceeded to drive off with my poor sweet dog tied to the back of our truck. Finally, after almost a mile, someone caught up to me and told me my dog was dead behind me. Horrified, I carried him to the grass where he lifted his head. His injuries were profound (internal and external), but he never cried. I guess he was in shock; I have no idea how he was still alive. We had him euthanized at an emergency clinic while we held and comforted him. I cannot get the vision of that poor, sweet dog dragging behind my truck out of my head. I don’t imagine dogs have reasoning ability, but I can’t help wondering what he must have thought and how horrible the experience was for him. Thank you to all of you who have shared your stories; they have been helpful to me.

  45. 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.

  46. 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.

  47. 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.

  48. 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

  49. 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.

  50. 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.

  51. 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.

  52. Steve says:

    Today we lost our puppy that was 10 weeks old. We only had him for four days and I am sick to myself for the accident that occurred because of me. He was across the room drinking water so I decided to take off my shoes. As I stepped out of my shoes and turned to go into the other room, the puppy ran under my feet and I stepped on the little guy. I tried to avoid him but stepped too hard. We knew that something was wrong immediately and rushed him to the emergency vet. My 10 year old daughter was there when it happened and we were both distraught, but really prayed that Scooby would be OK. Then, the vet came out and told us that he couldn’t be saved. He tried to be supportive and told us that this happens all too frequently and that accidents happen that we simply cannot avoid. My heart is broken and cannot believe how this could have happened.

    Nothing seems to be helping the enormous grief and sadness I am feeling right now. I have never harmed another living thing and cannot wrap my head around this. Our wonderful puppy Scooby was there one second and gone the next. I feel so terrible for the little guy and and wish it could all be different.

    I am so heartbroken and pray for the soul of our little pup.

  53. Jim Moriarty says:

    On September 19 at 2:45 p.m. I put my therapy dog to sleep that had valley fever, passing blood, either a cancerous legion between his heart and lungs or a valley fever wound, water on his lungs, difficulty eating, couldn’t go on walks anymore, extremely enlarged liver, he was in pain and I had made the mistake with his father of waiting until it was to late and he collapsed from heart failure. I promised J.b. I wouldn’t let that happen to him but I feel like it’s my fault and I should have given the medication a little more time to work. I looked at some pictures from the day he died and in some it’s obvious to me he didn’t feel good but in others he looked ok. I feel like I killed my baby boy. I just didn’t want him to suffer and now go through a daily process of beating myself up over the whole situation. I don’t think the veterinarian would have done the procedure if she didn’t think it was appropriate, I hope.I only pray God and J.b will forgive me. I truly believe all of GOD’S creation will see paradise (I don’t believe animals are in need of salvation are they?) I’m not sure where but I believe Paul wrote somewhere that on that appointed day of our dear Lord ALL of creation will praise and worship the Father through the King of kings and Lord of lords. Our creator is magnificent and wonderful and I thank him daily for the blessing of the animals that he has allowed into my life. Again, I pray God and J.b forgive me for all the mistakes that ultimately led to his dealth. Thank you for letting me share.

  54. Laurie says:

    Dear guilt and grief,

    My condolences on your dog’s death. It’s a terrible experience, to find your beloved dog gone. I believe you left for work that day because you sincerely thought that she would be fine. I would’ve gone to work, too. I would’ve expected to see more obvious signs of pain or suffering.

    I hope you are able to let go of the grief and guilt you feel. You couldn’t have known how sick your dog was, because you aren’t God! You thought she would be fine, that her body would heal itself — because 99% of the time, our dogs heal. If you had known what would happen, you would have taken her to the vet. I pray you can forgive yourself, and let the memories fade. Know that your dog is resting in peace, and that she doesn’t want you to suffer any more. She wants you to live in the moment, and remember her with joy, love and freedom.

    In sympathy,

  55. guilt and grief says:

    Today is Friday and my husband found our dog vomited sometime through the night on Wednesday. He let her outside that morning and he leaves the house before I do. Before I left for work she was laying on her side on our patio. She was often sick and then would get over it. But I knew something was wrong when I saw her on the patio because it was cold out and that was unlike her. She got up and came inside and vomited a little water. I hugged her and told her it was ok, I knew she didn’t feel well. But I felt like I had to go to work even though I should have stayed home or checked in at work and left right away. When I left she was curled up in her recliner. I came home 4 1/2 hours later and she was dead. She had went into the basement and was lying on her side and when I felt her I knew she was gone. I feel horribly guilty. I live about 2 miles from a university veterinary hospital and wish I would have come home right away after checking my email at work. Before I left her I looked for all these reasons to reassure myself that she was ok…We have two other small senior dogs at home and I get up through the night to take care of them. That is what makes me so angry…I didn’t make the effort when it really mattered and I feel so sorry she suffered while I was at work oblivious to her needing help. Now I am looking back to the days and night before and tormenting myself trying to remember every little thing trying to understand how I missed that she was in distress. Why couldn’t she have been panting or whining. I feel like such an idiot…alarms should have gone off when I saw her on the patio. What is wrong with me??? I should have been more present more in tune more thoughtful. I ask myself and try to remember what I was doing at work when she was in dire need of help. I am so sorry…I wish I could go back.

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