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Forgiving Yourself for Not Protecting Your Dog

Dogs don’t carry grudges. Your dog will forgive you for anything! But how do you forgive yourself for not protecting your dog? These suggestions are from dozens of readers who commented on my article about dealing with guilt after causing their dog’s death. Their stories will show you that you are not alone, and help you deal with hurting your dog.

dog died how do I forgive myself

In I Will See You in Heaven, Jack Wintz shows us that the dogs we love so much will stay with us throughout eternity. Our dogs are resting in peace, joy, and love – they aren’t slogging through pits of guilt, pain, and self-hatred. No matter how your dog died, he is safe, happy, and well-taken care of. And your dog forgives you, because he knows you would never have deliberated hurt your dog.

The most important thing to remember is that forgiving yourself for not protecting your dog is a process, not a one-time event. You have to first learn how to forgive yourself, then work through self-forgiveness every day. I encourage you to get help as you work through the process of forgiving yourself for not protecting your dog. Don’t try to deal with this alone.


How to Forgive Yourself for Not Protecting Your Dog

On Dealing With Guilt When You Caused Your Dog’s Death, one reader said, “I feel so guilty and can’t forgive myself for not protecting my dog. She was in her carrier going for shots. As I was putting her in car somehow she burst out and ran off. I blame myself for the door opening on carrier. We have looked for her for three days now. It’s freezing and snowing. I know she was scared. We started to call her right away. I don’t understand why she wouldn’t come to us. It’s like she just vanished. My guilt is so bad. I felt like dying rather than feel this pain and worry over her. Is she freezing to death somewhere, terrified and hungry? I’m ill over this. How do I forgive myself for not protecting my dog better?”

There are no simple tips for forgiving yourself for not protecting your dog because of the unconditional love your dog gave you. You loved your dog with all your heart, but you made a mistake. An accident happened – and if you could have prevented it, you would have.

Forgiving yourself isn’t easy, and there are no “one size fits all” tips for moving forward in peace. Self-forgiveness is easier for some people than others, depending on their personality, past experiences, relationship with their dog, and even their genes. Some people were raised on a steady diet of guilt and shame, which makes it hard to forgive themselves for anything. I can’t offer quick or simple tips on how to forgive yourself for not protecting your dog. I can, however. share what helped me forgive myself for not protecting my cat.

Believe that your dog forgives you

forgiving yourself after dog dies
How to Forgive Yourself for Dogs Death

How long do you think it’ll take your dog to forgive you for not protecting him properly? About half a second.

Your dog loves you so much, and has never had a bad thought about you. He never will, either. That may make you feel worse, but it’s important to know that your dog loves and forgives you. Give yourself time to grieve what happened. Face the mistake you made or the accident that happened. Grieve, cry, weep, wail, let yourself fall to the floor in tears. This hurts, but it is healing. And it’s part of forgiving yourself for not protecting your dog.

Spend time with dog lovers who have grieved – and are grieving

A healthy, comforting way to forgive yourself is to read stories like Losing My Best Friend: Thoughtful support for those affected by dog bereavement or pet loss. Learning how other people coped with losing their dogs can give you strength and support. You’ll also feel comforted by knowing you’re not alone, that other people’s hearts were broken by the loss of their dogs…and they healed.

Reading the comments in this article will also help you see you are not alone. Terrible mistakes, oversights, and accidents happen. Failing to protect your dog doesn’t make you a bad person. Nor does it mean you’re unkind, unloving, or irresponsible. It was an accident, which means you would have prevented it if you could have. You would have protected your dog if you knew what was going to happen.

Learn how to live with your regret – without it overcoming you

I’ll never forget the day I failed to protect my cat. I’ll live with this memory forever — even though I have forgiven myself. I learned what to do when I feel bad about myself, and don’t like with guilt or shame. But I’ll still always miss my pet.

My little fluffy white cat (called Fluffy) was a rescue. She hid in the heating vents for the first three days after I brought her home. It was summer, and she was terrified. Eventually I cajoled her out with tuna and water, and we fell in love. I had another cat, Zoey, and they both would romp around in the grassy area of my apartment complex.

One day, I called and called and called her. Nothing. She wouldn’t come. After several more minutes of me calling, she eventually staggered out of the bushes across the yard. She could barely walk – she was dragging her shattered left hind leg behind her. Blood, bones, it was awful. I took her to the veterinarian, who gave me the choice between $1,300 surgery or putting her to sleep. I let her go. That was the most difficult, painful decision…and it took me a long time to forgive myself for not protecting her better.


I lost Fluffy 15 years ago, and I still feel guilty and sad about the whole thing. I (mostly) forgave myself by reminding myself that she loved being outside, and if I had known she was going to get hurt I never would’ve let her go. My other cat Zoey went outside all the time, and never got hurt. Our current cat Nunki has been going outside every day and sometimes all night for 10 years, and nary a scratch. I didn’t do anything wrong, nor did I deliberately cause her death.

Look at your dog’s life in its entirety

forgiving yourself dog death

Going Home: Finding Peace When Pets Die by Jon Katz will help you forgive yourself. This book invites you to consider how you gave your dog a good life, if you were his advocate in times of need, and if you used your best judgment in the end. If you deal with these issues, you can alleviate guilt, let go, and forgive yourself for not protecting your dog.

One of the best tips on how to forgive yourself after your dog died is to remember that you didn’t hurt your dog on purpose. You can’t hold yourself responsible for an accident – whether it was not latching a gate properly, not taking your dog to the veterinarian soon enough, or trusting others to look after your dog when you went away.

Learn why it’s so hard to forgive yourself

On my honeymoon, my husband and I were flying to St Maarten. We were wrestling in our seats, and somehow he caused the armrest to smash down on my nose. It was extremely painful – tears came quickly even though I’m not a crier – and thankfully my nose wasn’t broken! I forgave him immediately and forgot all about it. About a year later, he brought it up and said how guilty and bad he felt – and I hadn’t even thought about it since then. To this day – 13 years later – he still brings it up. He can’t forgive himself for making that mistake…and I forgave him long ago.

Our actions are tied to how we feel about ourselves. If I do something I think is bad or wrong – such as not protecting my dog – I no longer see myself as a good person. I feel ashamed of myself, and I think I’m bad. Who can forgive a bad person? That’s why I can’t forgive myself, and why forgiving yourself for not protecting your dog may be so difficult. You see yourself as a bad person.

Accept your dog’s forgiveness

Remember how I forgot what my husband did? That’s how your dog feels right now. Dogs live in the moment, not in the past! Your dog forgives you, loves you, and wants you to be free from self-hatred, guilt, and pain. Your dog wants you to be happy – he lived to make you happy! Forgive yourself, and let your dog rest in peace.

Learning how to forgive yourself is a process that takes time. Allow yourself to grieve, and let the child in you believe that your dog is in heaven. Your dog has already forgiven you a million times over, and is watching you with love and compassion.

Take time to read through the comments below; you’ll see you’re not alone. We’re all struggling with forgiveness, guilt, and grief. Feel free to share your own story.


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78 thoughts on “Forgiving Yourself for Not Protecting Your Dog”

  1. I feel so awful – on Saturday we had been out doing errands all day. When we finally got home my cat Smoky greeted me as usual and I sat down with her to do the crossword. When I looked over I realized she was breathing oddly, with her abdomen moving quickly. We called the mobile vet right away but she didn’t answer. I got so worried that I decided to bring her to the vet hospital which is a 40 minute drive. We put her in the front seat of the car in a cage and I started driving. She was yelling and throwing up, and although this is her normal behavior in the car, i didn’t think to turn around or stop I just wanted to get to the vet. But when she finally calmed down about 10 minutes into the drive I looked over and she was lying on her side and wasn’t breathing. I pulled over and she was gone. I feel like if I hadn’t stressed her by putting her in the car and just waited for the mobile vet she would still be alive. Or if I had pulled over and comforted her instead of driving, or turned around. I miss her so terribly.

  2. Dear All,
    We are currently on out honeymoon and we started our Italian roadtrip the three of us,now we are two. My heart goes out to every each of you, as we lost our best friend, our child, our old dog too. We only left him in the garden of our airbnb for the matter of minutes, my husband took him out for a quick pee before we head off to visit nearby cities that day. He came to me in the kitchen and told me our pup is sitting at the gate. When we went outside he was floating on the water in the pool. We dragged him out tried to revive him, hence he was not alone for long. He was not moving. We jumped in our car and I asked for help from nearby villagers who miraculously got us a vet on Sunday. I was in great shock but i dont think he was with us by the time we got to the doctor but she still tried for an hour. He is gone. I was very overprotective of him this one time for a few minutes i let my guard down and he is gone. I feel terrible, my husband is devastated. We adopted this senior dog together soon after we got together. He was with us at our wedding and we wanted to spend our honeymoon with him as well. Now we are alone together with this unbearable pain, trying to “enjoy” our honeymoon. We will pick his ashes up today, we will have a tree capsule urn, and we decided to take him on this last trip with us and rest him to peace when we are home. I am struggling hard with this and my panic disorder is not much of a help but we are trying because he wanted us to be happy. We are so so sad and I don’t know what to do.

  3. Thank you Gale, Lori & Abby. It has been almost 9 days. I think about it pretty much constantly. I try to keep busy or I will just want to mope & sleep. I don’t think I will ever be the same. I am sorry for all who have suffered here in this forum, but thank you for sharing and being a listening ear. It is somehow comforting to know others can relate to what I am going through. It is still a surreal nightmare. Hugs – Kim

  4. Kim,

    I know it’s very hard, but you must forgive yourself. It really was an accident. Roxy knows this and would never blame you for this. You are in shock and yes, probably have PTSD and should possibly consider counseling for this. There are groups specifically for people who have lost their pets in tragic accidents. Seek out others to talk to. Cry hard and don’t avoid your grief, but also don’t avoid life. Try not to ruminate although it’s almost impossible at first to do that. Find the joy in the memories of your beautiful girl. My dog drowned in my pool 20 months ago. It took a very long time, but I did forgive myself eventually. Please know that everyone here understands and loves you. We are here for you and you are not alone.

  5. My heart aches for you. My husband accidently ran over my dog 1 1/2 yrs ago and i still think of it everyday. U never forget but it does get easier.

  6. Dear Kim, I understand what you’re going through as I had posted here about my sons border collie CALY getting hit by a car at the beginning of July. I I read a post on here about PTSD and read about it a bit and it did get me to get hold of my thoughts because continuing to think about the situation in a way that you blame yourself you immerse yourself in guilt and shame. Your thoughts can spiral out of control. I started to tell the story to myself that it was a tragic accident. I would look at pictures of her and instead of seeing her look back at me saying “why didn’t you watch after me and protect me” she is instead saying” I’m sorry I ran off on you while you weren’t watching me” it may sound silly but it helped me believe that she didn’t blame me. I too didn’t tell a lot of people because I still feel shame and don’t want to answer questions that will set me off such as “don’t you have a fence around your yard ?”
    I created a journal and I would write to her . I wrote a lot the first few weeks and now I am writing in it about once a week. It’s actually a form people are encouraged to do when grieving and I find it helpful. It will take time dear. I miss her so much- we all do. It’s normal to look for blame and I found myself doing this too. Why couldn’t my husband take care of his own issue etc. but the realty is that it was simply a tragic accident. Just keep reminding yourself that over and over again.
    She will forever live on in your hearts. Hugs to you and your family. This is one of the saddest things I’ve ever been through and my heart goes out to you.

  7. Marlene – Your story touches me beyond words. Our family is shattered from a similar incident. Last Sunday I threw a huge party and had my family running around the yard preparing. We live on a couple of acres, we had 4 dogs. Our dogs are our world, our children like you. One dog in particular, I called my angel, Roxy, also a border Collie. She came into our lives and just stuck to me like glue. She was my best friend. She went with me everywhere I went. She was perfectly behaved. Anyway, last Sunday we had vendors coming into the back of the property setting up food trucks, water slides, a mechanical bull, I wanted to have a party my grandson (4) and son (14) would never forget. That it definitely was. A day of great food and fun for all. That night after everyone was gone, I went upstairs to my room and called her name, she was always quietly waiting for me like a perfect little angel. She didn’t come to me. I went downstairs to one of my sons rooms sand opened his door as he would many times have her with him, she was not there. My heart jumped a little, but I didn’t start to panic. I went to my next sons door & knocked asking if he had Roxy, he said no. 2 seconds later he swiftly walked out of his room, across the house, out the back door and to the far end of the property. By the time a was half way to my son, he was rushing back towards me trying to block me from proceeding. I looked at him and I new she was gone. As the next 5 minutes unfolded, my husband joined us, the 3 of of were together with her lifeless body. We then realized what we had done. Much earlier in the day, I sent my husband to get ice in a rental car I had rented for my son to drive as his Tahoe motor went out a few days before and was in the shop. My husband took the rental to get the ice, he backed the SUV up to our patio to unload it. My son had all the doors and back hatch open to unload. They both saw Roxy jump into the back. My son went on to the next task, my husband pulled the rental into the far side of the property way out of the way for the party. As he parked the car, he became immediately distracted with all of the vendors & things to do, he closed the door & walked away. We all proceeded to have a party to remember for the next 9 or 10 hours. We all (myself, my husband, our five kids & my parents are the only ones we have told exactly what happened, & we are all struggling with overwhelming guilt.) Even though my husband actually walked away, we all feel the same. Why didn’t we wonder why we hadn’t seen her? It’s unbearable. I am sick inside thinking of having a great ole time as she suffered in the car for god knows how long. I held my 14 year old son in my arms and we sobbed together all night. We are all literally sick. I don’t know how to move past the guilt. I don’t think all people would understand so have decided to keep the details within our family. I feel so horrible I can’t even explain. I found this board in my misery & somehow, knowing your story and feeling sympathy for you & your beloved animals Marlene I think helped me through a moment or two, I feel your pain and you are in my thoughts constantly since I read your story. I do not know how we can move on and keep going without this extreme guilt & sadness.

  8. This is not about my dog, but my rabbit. She was my first rabbit and the other day didn’t seem herself. She wasn’t eating properly and I separated her from the others so that I could keep an eye on her. The next day she was still the same. We don’t live close to any vet and got some advice and meds from the petshop where I got her. I thought I somehow she would be fine. That evening she drastically deteriorated. I watched her die a slow, painful death. I sat with her the whole time, tried to comfort her, but I feel very guilty, actually devastated for not getting her the appropriate help. It took two days from noticing she was ill until she died. Seeing her die was unbearable and I hope that she will forgive me because I can’t forgive myself.

  9. I think everyone on here did basically the same thing you did… I let my dog get hit by a train, car/train i guess theres no difference, but when i think about it feels like a train is so much worse. Anyways, you are not alone. Not that it made me feel any better but after my dog got hit by a TRAIN, I was google searching and foiund a really large amount of dogs are hit by cars… If you feel upto it take a look, you’re definitely not alone.

    Hope you feel better soon, Tom

  10. Lori L Brightbill

    Hi there, this past Tuesday in July 2nd i was watching my son’s dog Caly. and my other son stopped in to visit. He was going to let her outside and was going for the leash and I told him to just let her outside because she s doing really well- staying in the yard now. We went out and I was tossing the ball to her and she was showing off how high she can jump. Then my husband came out and I got sidetracked listening to an issue he was having and never noticed she left the yard. It wasnt even 5 minutes that had passed and a guy came walking in my back yard asking if I knew someone that has a brown dog. I quickly said we do and said with alarm that I didn’t realize she even left the yard. She had been hit by a car and was laying lifeless in the road. I had to call and tell my son his dog was dead. We are all devastated, my son especially. She was only one year old, a beautiful sweet border collie, and barely lived her life. She brought so much life and love into this house and she’s dead because I didn’t protect her. I just can’t believe that I was so stupid to lose focus like that. She loves to chase birds and rabbits and I knew this. I knew she needed to be watched constantly and I let her down in the biggest way. I let my son down. She was hit hard and she was a mess. My son was so upset by the time he got home he had a nose bleed. This dog was an emotional support dog for him and he’s inconsolable. I miss her so much and the pain and guilt are overwhelming. My son isn’t angry with me, and we’ve cried a lot together, but I keep thinking it’s coming. He knows how sorry I am and how devastated I am. It was helpful reading everyone’s stories, thank you.

  11. I had a corgi Jet and He was almost 13 years old. I found out He had an anal gland tumor in November 2018 and a new vet told ( his reg vet retired) me to get surgery. I should never have listened to this greedy money hungry vet. Because my baby suffered when he could have lived out his life a shorter but less painful time. I beat myself up over this everyday. How could I have been so stupid not to get a second opinion or do more research. I can’t get it out of my head when tumor grew back. It was awful and this vet was abominable when she put him down in Feb 2019. I reported her to the board but blame myself.

  12. I had both dogs and cats but I had 7 dogs and 5 cats but 2 cats . I can’t stop felling it was my fault not to do enough. I thought something wrong with one cat was a big fat cat and started to eat less and Ouse weight . Thought was good but in the back of my head thinking well something wrong. Asked doc. He thought maybe good and will see in 3 weeks to give shots. He came to the house and said she is so happy and looks fine . I said well she lost a some weight I think she is eating less but yes so happy still. So did not bring in to check up. And always seemed happy the whole time like nothing wrong but my heart said bring her in. I spoke to him again who is the best vet ever so I love him and my husband said omg u are making something out of nothing. But my heart keep telling me something wrong. But I trusted everyone and thought well good she is losing weight. Then just seemed heavy to get up and said . I don’t care what anyone is saying I am bringing her in and did and took exrays and was told she was backed up very bad. They will keep her overnight and get her to release all the excess . Next morning they called us in 2x that something was wtong and come In case and then thought she was ok. Then called me in again and she was having a hard time breathing and passed in my arms starring at at eyes that I can never get out of my vision to to and wish that I did not see the death walk through her eyes and I can’t find a way to not see it and stop seeing it and I should have brought her in when I thought something was wrong. I can’t remove remove the walk of death that I saw pass in her beautiful eyes that should have been maybe 10 years later if I just brought her in sooner

  13. Update:

    It’s a day shy of 6 weeks since Roscoe passed. I miss him more now than I did when I wrote my first post. Before I go any further, I’d like to thank those who replied with compassion, sympathy and encouragement. It really helped.

    I’m still struggling. It hasn’t gotten easier. I’m trying ways to help me to cope with the situation. I acquired a Parson Russsel Terrier a few weeks ago. She’s really helped me with this. Taking care of her, getting her first shots and dewormings takes a little of the edge off. She’s now about 13 weeks and growing like a weed. She can’t replace Roscoe, it wouldn’t be fair to expect that from her. But she is special in her own way, a spirited if not somewhat hard headed puppy. She’s put a little heart back in the house, and in me. What I didn’t expect was to find a very young kitten screaming beside my house. The little fella isn’t a month old according to the vet. he’s to young to get his shots and stuff. The first night was dicey. The Kitten was wild. I had to wear gloves to catch him because he was fighting and biting. He was so scared. But, he was weak. In what the vet called miraculous, he tamed in a couple hours, ate soft cat food, and ingested enough water to give him a chance to live. He’s a scrappy and tough kitten and survived. I’ve had him a week now. He hasn’t purrfected lapping liquid and doesn’t do the eye drop thing. the vet told me to mix water with his food. Fortunately this has a happy ending. He’s still young, to young but he’s stronger, plays, and is even using his litter box. I was going to try to give him away to a good home because I wasn’t looking to get a cat. I’ve since decided to keep him. The puppy, who’s name is Princess does the best she can with him. I have to watch them though, the kitten is small and Princess could unintentionally hurt him. I call the kitten “Tiger”. I think he’s going to be special as well. Though none of this will bring back Roscoe, I promised Roscoe I would take an animal out of harms way to make up for not adequately protecting him and leaving him in harms way. . This has made things not quite as bad and sad.

    One more thing. Though I shorted out 3 keyboards with a deluge of tears doing it, I made a You Tube Channel containing all the Vids I made of the good times with Roscoe. This You Tube channel isn’t monetized and never will be. It is about saving and sharing the Good times I was lucky enough to have with Roscoe. I’ll also put up Vids of the new members of the family, Princess and Tiger. Give me a couple days, I’m emotionally and mentally exhausted from going through the Vids of Roscoe. My goal is to be able to watch his Vids and not cry.

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCpj_F8SujMix9DS2jsIFjAg

    Thanks again to the She Blossom community for listening and understanding. I’m going to take Princess for a walk.

  14. Im sorry this happened… A terrible accident. I let my dog get hit by a train, didnt protect him, didnt watch him.. You forgot your guys were in the car. You didnt hurt them on purpose, were humans and sometimes we forget things.. Nothing anyone says will make this less painful; and take away the guilt you feel, but from experience like all horrible painful things humans go thru it does get better with time. My dog died over 2 years ago and not 1 day has passed that I havent thought of him, I still feel guilty and miss him, he and his brother were like my kids.. But when I think of him throughout the day it doesnt last as long as it used to, more of a fleeting thought, I actually feel guilty about that. hang in there everyone on here who read what happened with you is with you.

  15. Marlene,

    There are no words. It will take time but you have to forgive yourself. You are not thoughtless. It was just a tragic accident. You’re human and as humans we’re fallible. We make mistakes. We live in a hectic world and it’s so difficult to keep up with and remember everything. You would never knowingly do anything to hurt your babies, and they know that. They forgive you and wouldn’t want you to be sad. You also have to remember that you are in shock. There is a PTSD that happens with this kind of a loss, so you must take care of yourself. Don’t be afraid to seek professional help. If you’re not comfortable with that there are lots of support groups for people who have lost their pets and you’ll find many non-judgmental people there to help you. Eventually you will come to terms with what happened. I hope you won’t let this stop you from adopting some new babies. They are out there waiting for your love. You will never make this mistake or another one like it again and you know that, so don’t deprive yourself of their healing love and deprive them of the love they will get from you. I’m here for you if you want to reach out. My baby drowned in my pool 18 months ago. I should have known better. She fell in it once before but even with that warning I didn’t take the proper precautions. I’m still struggling with it, but I’ve largely forgiven myself. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of EFT, but I did that and it helped enormously. I hope in some small way I’ve helped you. Please don’t hesitate to reach back to me if you want to.

  16. Last Saturday I took my two border collies with me to pick up hay for my horse. They were my constant and dearest companions going everywhere with me and with me every day and night inside and out since they were little puppies. Laddie was 5 years old, Sheppie was 10……….
    My neighbor’s son had graduated from high school the night before and I was invited to a barbeque at 2 o’clock. It was a little after 2 when I got back with the hay so I jumped out of the pickup and ran inside to take a quick shower, ran past the pickup and never even thought. They would go lay under the trailer when it was hot. It did not even cross my mind to check. I came back about an hour and a half or so later wondering why they didn’t run out to greet me. They were both dead inside my pickup. It was 90 degrees outside. I am 100% responsible for the horrible painful deaths of my two very beloved dogs. I cannot forgive myself for this. It’s far more than grief. How could I be so thoughtless. How can I go on knowing I did this? They were “my kids.” My grief, guilt, and sorrow are unbearable.

  17. I am so sorry about your puppy. I can answer the question as to why your baby jumped. Its the same reason why a dog will run out in front of a car chasing a rabbit or whatever, and never see it coming. It’s an unfortunate risk taken with having fur babies. I’ve let my dogs sniff out of the windows, and got away with it.

    With my situation, I could have done one of 4 things and Roscoe would still be here. I can forgive myself for not prospecting my baby. I wasn’t complacent with intent or malice. I’m having problems resolving that I could be so careless. Then you add the hole of Roscoe not being here. You’d be stunned that a 15 lb bag of brat could have the presence he did. He’d become the heart of the house.

    Thank you for your kind and encouraging words. I have several Vids of Roscoe that aren’t going anywhere. We had some good times, and nothing can take those away. I do realize that I must maintain and eventually resume life. Anything less would dishonor Roscoe’s memory.

  18. I’m sorry and saddened by your loss. Thank you for sharing and the encouraging words

    I took him home, and buried him on my bedroom side of the front yard. I had to make sure he rested at Home. I visit his resting place and talk to him. That has helped. On the down side, a couple neighbors might think I’ve lost it but,..oh well. Sorry.

    Thanks again.

  19. Gale i thank you so much for your kind words a while back. I do love my new furbaby she is now 11 months old. I still think about my little abby that i love so much. But there is space in my heart to love both of them so much. Thank you again big hugs to you

  20. Hi Tony,

    My heart broke for you when I read about Roscoe. I lost my baby Maxy a year ago on May 6 and I still think about him and miss him constantly. He was also a puppy, just over a year and I hadn’t even had him a full year. But he was my whole life. It’s additionally painful when it feels like their whole lives were taken away, as well as the future together. I really thought my guilt would consume me, but when my heart breaks for these other stories, and I want to give everyone virtual hugs, it’s easy for me to see the intention behind these tragic accidents. I know it can be difficult to feel the same way when it’s your own story, but I hope you are able to forgive yourself and to see that it was just an accident.. We all know dogs really are pure love, and without a doubt, Roscoe never for a second would blame you or want you to feel guilty. He just wants you to remember him and continue to love him.
    Know that you aren’t any more careless than any of us are most of the time. You are just the devastatingly unfair statistic. I still have moments where I just can’t believe what happened. My baby jumped out the window while driving up the canyon. I see dogs all the time hanging out the window and I still think, “Why did my baby jump? Why???” Of course I felt like it was my fault and I wanted to die. My mom loved him so much too, I thought she was going to be mad at me, judging me. But when she saw me spiraling in my mind, she’d snap at me and say, “Don’t you dare do that to yourself!! It was just an accident!”
    So again, it’s so obvious you loved Roscoe with everything you had, so with tough love I say “Don’t you dare take on that guilt!! It wasn’t your fault!”
    Don’t let that toxic emotion get inthe way of your memories. Grieve, grieve, grieve, and grieve some more, but don’t feel guilty!!!
    Much love and many virtual hugs to you , you and Roscoe are in my thoughts XXXX

  21. So sorry this happened…I let my dog get hit by a train too. Its been over 2 years and not a single day has passed that I havent thought of him, I live next to train tracks so its a constant reminder. I should have even been more careful..We lived here for 9 months before it happened and I ASSUMED I had him trained to stay away from the tracks, their on a hill next to the house.. I found this tunnel(hole) to let water thru to a lake… I think he did know not to go on the tracks and went thru the tunnel, and I called him and he ran over the hill to get to me, in front of a train.. I had to search for hours to ultimately find him next to the tracks. I didnt see or know it happened until I found him. I dont have family or friends that I see, I had him and another dog, they were my family.. I was suppose to take care of him but I arrogantly assumed he wouldnt find his way up that little hill on the tracks, but he did. The timing had to perfect..I called him and that dam train must have bben right there.. I hate to think of his poor body being hit, hurt like that. My only consolation is that he probably died instantly and didnt suffer. I read online that over a MILLION dogs a year are hit by cars/trains… Were not alone, you’re not alone. I feel your pain. Roscoe probably wouldnt want you to feel guilty to long..
    I have a spot in my house where I put a few things of his, I like it and its not going anywhere.. Maybe that would help you too

  22. Tony,
    It will take a lot of time, but you absolutely must forgive yourself for this. Roscoe knows how much you loved him and that you would have never knowingly let anything bad happen to him. My beautiful baby Harley had dementia, was unstable on her feet and had poor eye sight. I was on the phone when she drowned in my pool. It took a year and I still feel some guilt but I know she wouldn’t want me to do this to myself. What happened to Roscoe was a tragic accident. Nothing more. It wasn’t your fault. My heart absolutely goes out to you. Please don’t let this stop you from getting another dog. There are so many rescue dogs looking for daddies like you. The best advice I can give you is to grieve and grieve hard. Don’t stay in bed, or avoid your normal life, but when the urge to cry hits you, don’t fight it. You need to let this out as much and as often as it takes. You did the right thing reaching out to this community. We ALL know what you feel and we all have you in our thoughts. Please forgive yourself. Roscoe would want you to.

  23. I lost my baby Roscoe May 12 2019. I didn’t watch him closely enough and Roscoe was hit and cut in half by a train. It only took a few minutes. I never should have let him out of the car until I ascertained train traffic in the area. Roscoe was whining to get out out because he loved to sniff and explore, so I let him out. Then the crossing gates come down. Where’s Roscoe? By the time I saw him he was on the tracks and it was too late. It I’d have stopped to check the signals, or just turned on scanner, or put Roscoe on a leash, we’d both be here and happy today. Now Roscoe is dead and I’m in hell. How could I be so careless? I only had him or a year and a few months but he went everywhere with me.Roscoe is my heart and soul. I’m not dealing with this very well. I miss him so very much. I cry, then feel guilty because I’m still alive, Roscoe is the one who died due to my carelessness. I let down the only living thinfg on the planet who loved me in spite of my me. Now he’s gone and it’s killing me.

  24. Thank you.
    I made a rash decision based on fear to move to another country with my 2 cats…. they moved so many times with me and Katie had kidney disease and suffered at the end………I feel deep anguish……..such a bad decision that affected the innocent.
    I appreciate reading what you’ve written.

  25. Thank you for your kind words. Our trainer came over this past Saturday and spent alot of time with me, listening but most of all talking with me about dog ways and her own experiences. We got muzzles for both of the sheps and are starting refresher classes. She spent a couple of hours with us and the pups. I still cry when I think of Tyler and I will probably never forgive myself. We have a local grief support group, and I will be going to the next meeting. I also purchased 2 of the books that were mentioned on this site. God bless all of you who take the time to reply. It is so appreciated.

  26. Laura,

    I’m not even sure what to say. This was NOT your fault. And they are animals after all. Sometimes they’re “pack mentality” just takes over. I think you must forgive your other dogs, but I can’t imagine how to do that. But they love you and need you. I guess if you just can’t look at them anymore, then finding new homes for them might have to happen. But I don’t think that’s what you should do and I hope it doesn’t come to that. You’re going to have to dig deep to find forgiveness for them and even deeper to forgive yourself. There’s no way you could have known this would happen. They are innocent animals, and you are an innocent human. It was just a tragic event and nobody’s fault. My heart goes out to you and I know you’ll make peace with it in time. Don’t be afraid to ask for professional help. You’re traumatized after all and might need some help with that. I hope this site brings you some peace. I’m here if you need me.

    Gale

  27. Sorry for your loss, and thank you for replying. I dont know how to explain but reading about other tragic accidents helps. Doesnt make me feel less guilty, guess my grief is just not for my beloved Tyler but also for the many that have also faced the same tragic fate. Again, thanks for your words and taking the time.

  28. Nothing anyone on here can say will make it any easier.. Weve all “allowed” things to happen that tear us apart, my dog was hit by a train 2 years ago in 8 days. I still think about him every single day, it has gotten better though. I still feel guilty but when i think about him it doesnt last as long.. Youll get there too. Hang in there, if its possible Tyler knows you would have never allowed anything like that to happen if you could have stopped it. Hes not in any pain, hes not alone.

  29. We lost one of our rescue pups yesterday, 26# bichon mix Tyler. A puppy mill survivor who we adopted in 2007. We have 4 rescues, 2 lil dogs and 2 shepherds. I was letting them all out in the yard. When one of the shepherds stepped on Tyler who snapped and then all hell broke. I tried so hard to break them up and get Tyler away from them. Tyler died from his injuries. The guilt I feel is unbearable. I can’t even look at my shepherds. I’m lost, heartbroken. I’ll never forgive myself and how can I forgive 2 dogs I trusted and loved, how can I?

  30. Dianne,

    It might take you awhile (not very long) to bond with your new baby. You might even have a sense of guilt about getting close to her. But soon enough you’ll be so happy to have her, I promise. They just have a way of getting into your heart and helping it to heal.

  31. Thank you very much Gale. A couple weeks ago my husband did get me a new furbaby. Not sure if it was the thing to do. But i have her now. I love her to but my abby was my heart .Thanks again

  32. I’m so sorry about your baby and thankeep you so very much for sharing, I know it can’t be easy…I made the decision yesterday to seek counseling…I just don’t have the energy to cope with this on my own…the guilt is taking over any kind of logic and healing and I just don’t know how to let that go. I do find some comfort in our other doggies. They are missing him too, he was the alpha believe it or not..he was such a quirky little boy with such a big personality for only being 5lbs. I just want to get to a place where I can celebrate his amazing life and all the love and laughter he brought us….right now I’m just so so so heavy hearted. I am trying to get out…I go to work and hold it together for 8 hours but when I get to my car after i completely breakdown and just am so exhausted from holding myself together all day that I just go home and go to bed. I miss him so so much it’s unbearable. Much love to you too!!

  33. Dianne, I think it was the first 6 months that were the hardest. It was at around the 9 month mark that I finally was able to see a picture of my baby and smile instead of cry. As Danette said, it’s not like a “normal” animal death due to illness, or old age, or even an accident that was out of your control. But the truth is, it WAS out of your control. It might not feel that way, but it wasn’t your fault. Our sweet babies are curious creatures, and they sneak by us sometimes. It’s nobody’s fault. You will eventually forgive yourself. You have to remember that your little baby wouldn’t want you to be sad. You gave her a wonderful life full of love. She knows that you would never intentionally let any harm come to her. Please work on forgiving yourself. If you find you’re still not doing well pretty soon, then speak to a professional. You deserve to move on and enjoy your life, and hopefully another fur baby that’s waiting for you. Hugs to you as well.

  34. It was my husband who ran over my yorkie poo. But i blame myself for not watching her. I dont know if we can ever get over it but we have to learn to live with it. I loved her so much i wanted to die myself. I still cant look at her pics without crying. It has been 6 months and i still hurt for her. Just writing this makes me cry. I hope things get a little easier for you. Time will help. Lots of hugs

  35. Danette,

    It will take some time, but you will, and have to forgive yourself. My dog Harley drowned in my pool one year ago Dec. 30th. I think I just finally started to forgive myself around Sept. I hope you don’t have to wait that long. She had dementia and poor vision and so it was my job to protect her. I failed her miserably. It’s not like any other animal death. You blame yourself and our babies would not want us to do that. They know we loved them unconditionally. They are fine and healthy and happy now..(if you believe in an after life) and they wouldn’t want you to be sad. I came to realize that I was not just grief, but actually had some PTSD issues. I found her in the pool and got her out, and you were right there when it happened. It’s very traumatic and you might need some help dealing with that. In both our cases, it was just a tragic accident. You’ll get there eventually. And I’m just so sad for you that this occurred right before the holidays. I think should rescue another dog as soon as you’re able. I went right out (maybe too soon) and rescued 3 dogs. They are a handful, but they have been a wonderful distraction and my attention was immediately going towards caring for them. All the while I still cried everyday. Cry. Cry hard and cry often. But don’t stay in bed. Do as much of your normal life as you can. But don’t stop yourself from grieving (as if it’s a choice). I’m so very sorry for you. This wasn’t your fault. You will be in my heart. I know it feels like you won’t recover from this, but I promise you, you will. You can write me back if you want to continue our conversation. Love to you.

  36. December 6th, my life changed forever. After coming home from work and being tired after a stressful day, I accidentally ran over my little 5lb Yorkie Gizmo. I didn’t completely run him over before hearing my daughters screams to back the car up. I quickly did and scooped him up and took him to the emergency vet. Upon examining him, and x-rays, he had a dislocated hip. They sedated him and placed his hip back in place. Took him home the next day and while he couldn’t walk, he would again. 1 day later his hip came back out and they seen it would not stay in place, so they took him into surgery to do a femoral head removal and while in surgery discovered he had a hernia, so they repaired both. He came home and was actually healing great. He was so full of life even during this. One week after the accident, we noticed a bulge near his abdomen, took him back to the vet and it was another hernia. They took him back into surgery and we got the devastating call 1 hour later that the hernia extended into ligament damage and ligament repair is sooo much harder to heal from and not happen again because of the placement of the injury. We had to make the heartbreaking decision to let him go and not let him suffer again. I cannot breath the pain and guilt is so overwhelming. I know logically it was a horrible accident, but I cannot stop asking WHY and feeling immense guilt over taking his life, a life cut too short. He was such a huge part of our pack and lives. We rescued him 5 years ago and loved him like its been forever. I can’t stop crying and don’t know how I will ever get past this.
    I’ve lost dogs before, and while their losses are heartbreaking, it was old age and they let us know they were ready to go…I did not cause them to die. I just want this nightmare to end. I am vegan because the minute I learned the pain and suffering that factory farmed animals endure, I could not longer be part of that for them. I cannot stand to see any animals in pain, and to know that I caused this and his death is more than I can process.

  37. I need someone to tell me I am a horrible person. My dog battled cancer for 2 1/2 years. We did chemo and radiation. He was my best friend! I was informed by the vet that there could still br trace amounts of chemo in his urine even 2 year later. He ended up needing diapera due to some incontinence secondary to the radiation but diapers never once bothered his happy self. I started to get very paranoid about the chemo since he was incontinent and we had a toddler who crawled. I made a choice to let him stay outside alot the month of October and even got him a heater and dog house even though it wasn’t that cold. Before the weather starting getting cold he came back in though. He enjoyed a month outside. He later the next month took a turn for the worse and his cancer decided it was going to win. I will never forgive myself for my.dog being outside. Help me…

  38. Clayton, Oh my gosh, you and I went through almost the exact same thing. My dog drowned and she was very old, deaf, blind and had dementia. If you scroll down you can read my story. We went to the vet the day she died, and while she mentioned the dementia, she didn’t specifically tell me that I should watch her every minute. If she had just told me that, I would have been so much more careful. My heart really goes out to you, but please forgive yourself. This wasn’t your fault. It took me a long time, about 7 months but I finally forgave myself. It was her time. And it probably was Bo’s time as well. 17 is a very long life. He went on his own terms. I know that might sound crazy, but I really believe it. You were a good dad to him and he knows how much you loved him. We want to believe that it would have been easier if we took our babies to the vet to say good bye, but it isn’t always so. I will be thinking of you now and hope you can find the strength to forgive yourself. You did nothing wrong.

  39. Sorry this happened, if we could only go back… But none of us can as much as we want to. Hang in there, everyone on here has made mistakes and it eats us up, your not alone. Bo was 17? You dont here of to many dogs that age, that was great that you got him there, must have been some healthy food…

  40. Hi ,Iam writing this for Bo ,who drowned last evening , someone left a door open , the hard part is this all happened within 10 to 15 mins , & I was inside only 10 meters away & all I can think of is him struggling & me not being there for him .
    The thing with Bo was he was 17 yrs Jack Russell He was loosing his sight & lost his hearing some say he had dementia , but every other day he would surprise you & be jumping for joy
    Bo , we got off death row when he was 2 yrs old .
    8 mths later our house burnt down , if it wasn’t for Bo we wouldn’t be here , he jumped on the bed & warned us .he was so adventurous & independent as we live on a small farm.my wife has even wrote the adventures of Bo & posted them in the past , she loved him as much as me ,
    I repaid him once when he got stuck down a well . But to me that’s still not enough for my little mate .Oh How I miss him .thankyou for taking the time to read this

  41. Thank u Thomas. I hope some day i get through this and find some peace. Right now i just feel stuck in the sadness in losing her and cant move on. Thank you for reaching out to me. That helps that im not alone

  42. Thats terrible.. Sorry that happened. I let my dog Dino get hit by a train, let him wander kind of the same way.. Its been a 1-1/2 and I still think about him everyday..I had 2 dogs and they were my family, to let 1 of them die at 6 years old that way is crushing.. I dont know how we forgive ourselves, I guess we dont. I try to think hows hes either in a better place or just gone.Either way hes not in any pain, hes not sitting alone somewhere thinking how I let him wander off and get hurt. Sometimes it pops into my head him getting hit….horrible……It would have been so simple if I could do that morning over to not have that happen.. But I cant, you cant either. it makes me feel a little better to know Im not alone with this, people like you made the same horrible stupid mistake.. I guess were really not perfect. But I bet we would all do almost anything to undo what we feel we did.

  43. Last friday i came home from shopping. I let my little girl out. She always wonders the front yard but never goes under the cars. She got under my husbands car he didnt know. He ran over her . He found her already passed. I am totally devasted and ask myself why didnt i pick her up and take her out back with me, dont know how i will ever get over this. I cry every single day the guilt that i didnt protect her. She was the love of my life i took her every where with me. Now i am just lost.

  44. Juan,

    This wasn’t your fault. It was a tragic accident. Your boy wouldn’t want you to be sad. He knows you loved him. I hope you can find it in your heart to get another dog, and soon. It really does help with the healing and there are so many dogs that need homes. Maybe when your nephews come to visit, you can all go to your local animal shelter and look around. Forgive yourself. It will take time, but you must. You can’t carry this around forever. It was just an accident. They happen every day. I’m sending you light and love, and hope you feel it. Don’t feel badly about the long post. You need to get it out now. Cry hard and cry often, but soon you must forgive yourself.

  45. Juan i totally understand similar happened to me. I let my girl out she always wondered the front yard. But this time she got under my husbands car and he ran over her. I am devastated and dont think i will ever forgive myself.

  46. I feel your pain. Me and my husband came home from shopping i let my little 12 yr old yorkie poo out. I walked up the side of my house to the hose. My husband decide to move our vehicles and ran over my dog and killed her. I cannot forgive myself for not picking her up and hard to forgive my husband for not looking. Its been a week and a half and i cry everyday. I cant move forward i just sit and think of her. She was my soulmate my love my everything. How do i get over this.

  47. Mar,

    If you read my post you’ll see that my dog died the same way. Our older dogs become disoriented and these things can happen. I’m writing to tell you that forgiving yourself is a process, but you will get there. It’s been 6 months since I lost Harley and I still break down and start yelling at myself sometimes,but everyday I’m a little closer to making peace with what happened. Truly, this was not your fault. Tragic accidents happen everyday. And that’s what this was, just a horrible accident. I hope this won’t stop you from providing a loving home to another dog someday and soon. Your boy would want you to share your wonderful love with someone new. He/she will never take your boys place, no one could, but it will help you. As far as your feelings about it being rational, I don’t think there is a rational thought we can have when something like this happens. I don’t think your dog suffered. It was probably quick, but of course it’s the not knowing that’s so hard. I am here for you if you need to talk. Please forgive yourself. Your boy is fine and at peace and he wouldn’t want you to do this to yourself. All he ever know from you was love!

  48. My 14 year old who I LOVED more than anyone in my life just drowned and I found him at the bottom of a pool. I was at a basketball watch party at my parents house where he stayed and weeks before I had been thinking, he’s getting confused, what if he ever walked into the pool? He hated water and avoided it, but i knew it cpuold happen. That night he was really stressed about all of the ppl at his house and I was doing stupid stuff on Facebook. He was crying and trying to get up the stairs to get to me. I was in the middle of messaging someone and was just like “hold on bud! Just a second!” Someone else started petting him and I somehow completely forgot (probably because I was mentally checked out and wasting my time doing narcissistic things on Facebook) and figured they had calmed him down. An hour or so later everyone had left and I was like “omg I forgot about him, where did he go?” I didn’t see him in any rooms and he wasn’t at the door. My heart dropped and I ran to the pool exactly where he was. To know I completely ignored him in his anxiety and that he also died scared and alone after that has made me unbearably sad and angry at myself. Ppl try to reassure me because I fed him steak and took him on a hoke earlier, but I feel like the way I failed him cancels everything oout because his last moments were so terrifying. I’m not saying this is all rational, but I just wanted to share my experience since I lost my dog by drowning as well.

  49. Kiki,

    Please don’t do this to yourself. Feel your feelings, and feel them deeply, but Maxy would not want you to blame yourself. It was a tragic accident. It’s been almost 6 months since Harley died, and I still feel some guilt but have managed to find a way to forgive myself about 90%. I’m just so sorry you’re going through this. I wish I could take away your pain. I’m here if you ever need to talk, but it does and will get better. It’s just going to take some time.

    Very warm regards,

    Gale

  50. Two weeks ago I lost my best friend, my love, the center of my Universe, Maxy.
    I recently moved to Utah to be with my mom after deciding to separate from my husband. I have been lonely, and I met a new guy at a party and we decided to go out for a hike the next day. In the sober light of day, I did not like him. It was noon and he had already been taking shots of whiskey, was condescending and obnoxious. I kept wondering how I can tell him never mind and take him home, but I was too cowardly. My Maxy loved going up the canyon for hikes so we continued with the date.

    Normally I am not the one driving and I have to hold him tightly with the window down only halfway because he is so eagerly trying to get as far out of the window as possible. I never thought he would actually jump, but I did know better because we have commented so many times on how he tries to stand on the ledge and we have to pull him back inside.

    I was driving this time, the window was all the way down, and in retrospect I just wasn’t paying attention to him like I should have been and should have known better to. I was holding him, but not tightly, I was so distracted by this drunk guy I didn’t want to be on a date with. Then Maxy jumped out. It all happened so fast but I remember I had held on to his leg, I still had him, which makes me think maybe I caused him to land on his head. Maybe he would have just broke his legs, which would still be awful but at least he would have survived.

    I can’t stop replaying seeing him in the road unconscious, then picking him up and all the blood coming out from his nose and mouth. He was still breathing but he died in my arms a few minutes later.
    I am so mad at myself, I feel so guilty, I feel like I let my baby down, that I didn’t protect him, that I knew better, that I was being selfish. Something in my gut even told me not to bring him in the first place and I wish I’d listened. I wish I had the guts to tell that loser that whiskey for breakfast is a deal breaker, I desperately wish I’d been paying attention to Maxy and not rolled the window down all the way, or when it happened and I had his leg if I had thought quick enough to slam on the brakes so the impact wasn’t as extreme.

    I just can’t believe I did this!!! I know Maxy forgives me because he was perfect pure joy and light, but I don’t feel like I deserve it.
    He was the most beautiful mini Aussie and he had just turned one year old!!! He was a baby and had such a full life ahead of him. I miss him so much as my whole life revolved around him. I feel tortured by the images and regret. I miss him so much, he was such a funny dog with so much personality. I can’t imagine ever getting another dog because they aren’t him. I’m so sad that he was so young and that I knew better and wasn’t present like I always need to be when taking care of a loved one.

  51. May you find hope, healing, and comfort as you work through the guilt. I can’t imagine how you feel, but I know how hard it was for me to forgive myself for not protecting my dog. I don’t think the pain ever really goes away — you don’t ever “get over it.” But, you can learn how to forgive yourself, and be compassionate and kind to yourself.

    Remember that you would never have knowingly allowed your dog to suffer pain or harm. It was a terrible accident. My heart goes out to you…may you find self-forgiveness and healing, and accept yourself in all your weaknesses and flaws. You are doing the best you can — and it IS good enough. It has to be, because it’s all we have.

    With the love of Jesus,
    Laurie

  52. Dear Laurie, Your post on guilt and shame has helped me so much. I walked my dog without a leash and she ran up to a fence with 2 large dogs and they grabbed one of her floppy ears and attacked her. They were trying to get her under the fence and one had his jaw clamped on her face. I held onto her and kept her legs from being bit with my knees until I didnt think I could hold any longer. The dog opened his mouth and my little dog got away. She had quite a bit of damage and she had surgery and 2 night stay at vets. No broken bones and only slight damage to the ear and I brought her home yesterday. I keep running the scene in my head but mostly I just feel so guilty not having her on a leash. I have excuses but I know they are only excuses. I really just like her to run free because she is so happy when she does. I will never let her off leash again but I cant get over that it was my fault. I actually had to take some Valium to get through this. She has been everything to me for 13 years.

  53. My beautiful little Min Pin Harley was getting pretty old almost 17. She was in kidney failure and i was keeping her alive by cooking for her, giving her herbs and other supplements and sub q fluids. I even took her for accupuncture twice a month and I believe I added 6 months to her life. We knew she was losing her eyesight, but seemed to see ok during the day. One night she fell in our pool, but we rescued her quickly. So after that we locked the dog door whenever it was dark, or when we weren’t home. She was getting so frail that she could barely open it anymore and mostly she had to be carried out. Some how she managed to get the dog door open and I found her drowned in the pool in the middle of the day. I don’t know how I’ll ever forgive myself. I felt like I was given a warning and didn’t do the right thing. I could have put chicken wire or something around the pool, or just never let her outside without me being there. I knew she was not long for this world and was preparing for the safe, warm and loving death that was coming. She wasn’t supposed to die cold, afraid and alone. I don’t know if it was quick or if she barked and cried for me and I didn’t hear her. I’m the one who found her and my husband tried to revive her, but it was too late. How can I ever forgive myself? The shock and trauma of her death is just killing me. I’ve accepted that she’s gone, but not how it happened. I really feel it’s my fault.

  54. It really sounds like the vet SHOULD have said something instead of putting it on his customer to call and ask.. I would be really upset with that ignorant vet… Sounds like you took your dog when you should have and probably spent a lot of money.. many people I know end up not spending the money.. So looking from the outside in I think your dog was lucky to have you and you could ask him I bet he doesnt blame you….

  55. I know exactly how you feel. My dog had a check up in late June and was diagnosed with Lyme and back pain which we took care of. My Mom had, at the same time, been diagnosed with terminal cancer and I was her caregiver. I did notice my dog seemed to be breathing more heavily on his walks, but he hated summer and was fine as soon as he went into the air conditioned house. One day I came home from shopping and my husband said he refused his favorite treat. We looked at each other and immediately called the emergency vet since it was our vet’s day off. He was diagnosed with pancreatitis which he had 18 months earlier, but that time the symptoms were very obvious. He was treated for 48 hours, did well and was released. 7 hours later we noticed rapid breathing and went back. He was watched over the next 24+ hours and we were told he was ok. Then, hours before he would be rereleased he developed fluid in the lungs. 15 hours later he passed away. I was in total shock since he was doing so well. I looked back over the summer and realized that little things may have been signs of the illness which we didn’t pick up on since he was eating and seemed ok overall. I was so guilty. How could I miss those things which seemed so clear in hindsight? Well, it gets worse. My husband found that there was a test in his lab results in June that indicated the problem.( I wish he had never told me.) My vet said that we were supposed to call with follow up questions. We didn’t. I just don’t understand how, after a 15 year relationship, that my vet wouldn’t warn me about something so dangerous. So, now we knew that instead of getting to my dog immediately as we thought, he walked around for 10 weeks with a problem. I can’t get over this. I feel sick every minute of the day. People say it’s not my fault, but how does it help that I missed it and I probably could have gone to any other vet and he would have called me about this? I can’t eat or sleep. I have been diagnosed with depression. I loved him so much and feel that if caught earlier he’d probably be here right now. I feel like I killed him.

  56. My dog was hit by a train.. I think the same thing sometimes, if I knew he was somewhere good…. it would make the guilt and emptiness I feel a little more bearable. But we dont get to know for sure…

  57. Sounds like you did much more than many people do when their pet gets sick… Makes me think Ziggy was lucky to have you.. A friend of mine dog died recently and he is beating himself up because he basically did nothing vet wise, he says he couldnt afford to take him.. An allergic reaction certainly isnt your fault. Obviously you’re going to feel guilty but looking from the outside, it really wasnt your fault and you did the only thing you could for Ziggy.

  58. I delayed a $500+ ultrasound on my dog to save money at the time, having already incurred a bill of over $500 for the visit, blood work and x-ray. I refused to believe it might be cancer. Rather, we treated her mild symptoms and took a “wait and see” approach with frequent re-visits while she did not get any better or worse.The vet did not know what it was, but presented cancer as a possibility. Only when my dog got worse 13 days later did I rush in for the ultrasound, but she died after surgery the next day. I was initially told that the ultrasound might not find anything but was likely to find something that the x-ray did not find. An earlier ultrasound may or may not have saved her life as she had a very aggressive abdominal cancer that ligated and invaded the main intestinal artery (earlier or later?). I can not have closure knowing that I might have contributed to her death by delaying the ultrasound and possible surgery earlier. This has ruined the rest of my life.

  59. You don’t know how much $1300 might have been for her. Depending on your financial situation it is a lot different for different people.

  60. Let me also say he was very bad can not find any good reason but guard dog to keep him .We bit off more than we can chew. He’s too strong for us and when gets into that mode of fence fighting or cat chasing he’s crazy . I am having a hard time with the knowing he may be euthenized .He deserved a better love a better owner. Should I go forgive him or let him go.

  61. My white German Shepard male chewed my daughters brand new car chasing a cat like chew toy we took him to the pound my sister showed me a picture and he looked so sad .I will never forgive myself I’ll always think I could of trained him better something but no answer he is sitting pound as we speak with over 300 other dogs u or adoption.I saved him from parvo and feel he is waiting for me to Dave him now.

  62. I so feel your pain right now I put my dogs on the covered deck with food and water in the morning and went off to work. Like I do everyday. It’s a large deck covered on backside of the house only gets sun in morning. I knew it was going to be a hot day I didn’t know too hot it is shady on the deck. I left work to go to a graduation party and retuned home to find he had died. I feel so awful that I didn’t think to come home or put up the mister . I don’t know if I will ever get over what I did to him. I feel like I failed him. My other dog was just fine but he was an English bulldog with heat sensitivity. Missing him so much the house feels so empty without him here. All the pain I caused him and my kids I just can’t stop thinking about all the what ifs and how I could have prevented this.

  63. Hello, all. First, please let me say how sorry I am for all your losses.

    I know exactly how you feel. I lost my little boy Douce today. Douce turned 11 in November & had just recently been diagnosed with Cushing’s syndrome. We had gotten the enzymes stabilized & he was doing well.

    Not long after we moved in my husband found a Cane Corso he wanted, so she came to live with is when she was about 7 months.

    Douce, always the Jack Russell, had to show the Corso who was boss a couple times, & then they were the best of friends.

    Today, three years later, I let them in the yard like any other day. I heard a gruff, so I knew that meant I needed to intervene before a fight started. I did, but it was too late. The Corso had my baby by the throat & wouldn’t let go. I tried so hard, but she was too strong for me. I finally got the Corso in her cage & grabbed my baby. Little Douce passed away before we even got out of the driveway. I can’t make it without him. ?????????????

  64. Hello, my name is Rick amd I lost my beloved frenchie on March 7,2017..
    Ziggy was her name and I had her for 7 years and she was my everything.. I am a chronic pain patient and she was the angel that helped cope.
    Ziggy had been battling allergies for sometime and on that Monday evening the 6th of March she had begun to breathe erratic so I text my normal vet and he advised me to take her in to the emergency pet clinic, so I rushed her in at 5:30am.., they evaluated her and stated they would give her two shots, a steroid and Benadryl shot.. then they asked us to wait to insure that all was ok.. not even 2 minutes later Ziggy began to have an allergic reaction, I had to argue to get them to take her back and help her.. they then began to tell me about money and the cost to transfer her to hospital side, I did not care herd is my card. The hospital side took her and side we will stabilize her we have her.. 2 hours later I get a call they are telling me they need to perform a tracheotomy at a cost if $2500-$5000 was the estimate and that she would need at the least a stay of 5-7 days to asses the damage that has been done by the allergic reaction, they could not guarantee quality of life and she may need a permanent tracheotomy which would take away normality.. then came the estimate of a final cost of over $12000-$15000 more or less. Or I could make the decision to put her to sleep.. I made the decision to put to sleep and I have this overwhelming sense of guilt that I was wrong .. I tell myself that she would not have had
    A quality of life due the information given to me . To make it worse , Then I find out that the emergency clinic waited to give her the treatment to save her that’s the reason the hospital had the extreme options due to her elevated condition. So the guilt is that it was my job to take care of her.. she depended on me for care and safety.. and look what happen.,
    I am coping as best as I can and trying to move forward, trying to forgive myself and deal with my guilt.
    Thanks for listening , I welcome any advise.

  65. I lost our little cat yesterday. She was only 8 months old. We came back from the shops and she came bouncing towards us, my husband said something to her and then she decided to cross the road just as a car was coming towards us. Driver didn’t even see her, he did stop but it was too late. Now my husband blames himself for not picking her up until the car had passed, and I just feel that it’s totally unfair and she deserved a longer life. But I wish I could know for sure that she’s safe and happy, that’s what upsets me the most I think, the feeling that I’ll never see her again.

  66. Hello. Two days ago my dog died in an accident. He was about 10 years old, he was a small dog and the most caring and loyal one. I have a lot of guilt because that morning a friend of mine calls me to see if he can come over so that I could lend him a tool that he was needing. I tell him it’s ok. When he arrives, I open the front door and think for a moment “maybe I should go alone” (leave the dog on the house), but he haven’t gone out yet, so he comes with me following me. I go and get the tool in the garage while my friend is with my dog outside. Then, the dog is around while we chat and say goodbye. My friend gets in on his truck and starts doing reverse, I noticed my dog is not around so I tell him to stop and there he was, one of the tires was already stepping on my little dog, so I take hime cautiously and cover him in my shirt and we go running to the vet but he died. So’ I’ve been grieving. He was always by my side. I have done things like these a million times and never even close to an accident. I think he decided to cross underneath the car because it was a high pick up truck. I said sorry to him a million times. I’m crying all the time. My friend feels bad, and I know he was the one that put the car in reverse. But I’m taking all the blame in because I was his protector. The house feels so lonely without him. And the only thing I can think is that if it was a cleaner death or not an accident, I know the guilt probably would still be there, in terms of “what could have I done to make him last longer” or whatever, or if it was an illness then biologically there is some logic in understanding the death. But, when it is like this, an accident of this type, I think I will never overcome it. I know I gave him a good life, he was always there and I was always there for him, until two days ago. He was approximately 10 years old, but he had more years in front of him, he was a healthy dog. Sorry, for writing all of this here, but I’m trying to read and try at least to overcome whatever is possible. Another fact, is that I have two nephews that are in vacation with their family and they loved that dog, they were always with him, and the dog with them. They will be crushed once they hear what happened. So it is all two painful. I’m constantly thinking all the things that I could’ve done to prevent this, like for example taking him to the park at an earlier time, so that when my friend arrived, I could’ve let him inside, or I could’ve done something on the weekend and not be home and prevent that, or carry him in my arms before my friend put the car to reverse. All of this options where so clear, so I feel devastated. It is all so tragic. He was part of the family for more than 10 years.

  67. I’m so sorry your dog died, Cathy. What a horrible experience, to rescue a foster dog and then find him in your pool…your heart was in the right place, but a terrible accident happened! An unexpected tragedy, an accident that you couldn’t have known would happen.

    May you find peace and forgiveness. I don’t think you have anything to forgive yourself for because it was an accident that you didn’t know would happen, but I know those words aren’t easy to accept.

    My prayer is that you feel a powerful, unexpected sense of forgiveness and peace about your dog’s accident. May your heart be calm, your soul be serene, and your mind stop ruminating about what happened. May you accept that an unforeseeable accident happened, and that you are not to blame. If you feel you need to learn how to forgive yourself for not protecting your dog, I pray that forgiveness comes quickly and easily to you.

    Know that your dog is resting in peace – and that he really is in a better place. Accept that you only had the best intentions for him, and his fate was not your fault.

    Blessings, with sympathy,
    Laurie

  68. I picked up a foster dog yesterday. He had been on a code red list, meaning he was going to be put down that day. That night (last night), I let him outside with my other dogs. Maybe fifteen minutes later, maybe more, I opened the door to let them in. I found my foster dog floating dead in the swimming pool. I don’t know if he died before falling in, or if he drowned. I am so sad now. I don’t know what to do.

  69. If you want to learn how to how to forgive yourself for not protecting your dog, it might help to learn the difference between guilt and shame.

    Guilt – if you have forgiven yourself – can be a positive feeling. It can actually encourage you to have more empathy for others. Guilt can help you make amends, take corrective action, and improve yourself. But you have to learn self-forgiveness before you can turn guilt around. Self-forgiveness is essential to enjoying your life and relationships because you will always have something you need to forgive yourself for! Whether it’s not protecting your dog, forgetting something important, or accidentally saying something hurtful…we constantly need to forgive ourselves because we are human. We are constantly making mistakes, poor choices, selfish decisions.

    And we cause accidents.

    If you feed it, guilt will become an unrelenting source of pain. You might believe that you should feel guilty and condemn yourself not once, but repeatedly. Guilt also may simmer in your unconscious. Either way, this kind of guilt is insidious and self-destructive and can destroy your life.

    There is a difference between guilt and shame. When you feel guilty, you feel bad about something you did. On the other hand, shame is how you feel about yourself. Shame is hating who you are and feeling ashamed of what you did. Guilt is hating the decision you made, but accepting that you are human and you made a mistake or a poor choice.

    Shame causes you to feel inferior, inadequate, or bad about who you are versus what you did. If you don’t learn how to deal with your guilty feelings and forgive yourself for not protecting your dog, your guilt will turn into shame. Shame is destructive, and has no positive effects. Guilt can be empowering because it can motivate you to see others with compassion. Guilt – when it’s resolved – can make you a better, wiser, kinder, more loving person. Unresolved guilt and shame will lead to greater self-preoccupation, selfishness, and unhealthy relationships.

    Realize that you may forgive yourself and still believe you were at fault, just as you might forgive someone else even though you think the person was in the wrong. You can have regret for what you did yet accept that you’re human and made mistakes. Perhaps, you did your best, given your circumstances, awareness, maturity, and experience at the time. This is a healthy, humble attitude.

    If you continue to have difficulties with self-forgiveness for not protecting your dog, it’s helpful to see a counselor. You may be suffering from shame, which predisposes you to self-loathing, guilt, and feeling bad about yourself. This can be healed in therapy.

  70. Dear Laurie,

    My loyal companion of 15 years was killed this weekend.

    He was a wonderful miniature pinscher and brought me so much joy over the years.

    Over the last year his health was deteriorating and had gotten worse this month.

    I had an appointment schedule for this Monday as he was rapidly losing weight, had an awful odor even after bathing and just wasn’t looking great. On Friday night, I hand fed him pizza cut into small pieces as a treat because he hadn’t been eating his food this week, although he was still drinking water. I gave him attention all night long and kept petting him in his bed as he looked tired out.

    I went to bed and he was peacefully sleeping.

    When I woke up in the morning and came downstairs, he wasn’t in his bed. I searched around and then was walking by the sliding glass door, I realized his leash wasn’t on the deck. I started to yell to my husband asking when he took him out and then I saw his leash wound up around the stake and him laying dead in the yard.

    My husband let him out in the middle of the night, dozed off in the couch and when he woke up, he forgot that the dog was out and came to bed. My best friend of 15 years died alone in 20’degree weather.

    I can’t get this image out of my head. I don’t know how I can forgive my husband and I can not believe I failed my dog like this.

    After so many years, this is not what he deserved.

    I know that his time was coming to an end, but not like this.

    How can I forgive myself and move on. How can I get this image of KZ laying there out of my head?

    I am devastated. I miss him already and my heart is broken.

  71. hello, Laurie I’m here to thank you about your posts, also to give a little piece of advice if you accept it, of course.
    Not long ago I was taking care of this cute dog, he already had a house and an owner who really wanted him, because I just couldn’t take another dog to lie with me.
    Everything was perfect, until I took him to one of these campaign to spay and neuter for free sponsored by the government and some vets, I though everything would be ok, because previously I took my cats there.
    The surgery was done and me and the cute dg went home, I let him resting on his place while I went to feed the other dogs and cats because I left very early day morning, when I came back to check on him he was choking ans spiting blood, I still can’t forget that image of him dying and suffering.
    I want to die because I consider that was a crime from me, taking him there against his will, trusting cheap vets and then thinking that feeding the others was more important tan staying with him.
    I can’t stop thinking that if only I’d had seen him choking would he be alive?
    He was so cute and he already had a permanent home and he lost it all because of me! I still don’t know how am I supposed to live with that!!
    I accept my part involving his dead, but my advice is this: you still don’t mention in any of your posts something about trusting vets and them killing our beloved pets because they think its ok since they come from streets or they are not purebreed, or because we’re not paying anything then the animal’s life doesn’t worth it! Seriousy I’ve Heard about a lot of cases like this one, and now that it happened to the cuttest dog in the world, I want it to stop! No other animal should go through that just because a vet thinks its ok!!

    That’s all I wanted to share, meanwhile I’ll keep Reading your posts until I can stop crying and start feeling better, thanks again for sharing this 🙂

  72. I lost both my Aussie dogs on Wednesday because I left them in a hot car.  I can’t believe I did this!  I took them out in the morning for their run, ran some errands, came back.  I was driving my husband’s car (he was in Miami for the week, I was alone) that I am not familiar with.  I got out and went into the house, began working off the list of things to do.  I was overwhelmed and multi-tasking (while waiting for the floors to dry I knocked-off a few phone calls, etc) very distracted.  It was a hot day and my dogs usually find a cool corner of the house and retreat their. 

    I never thought of them in during the day – just figured they were “busy” sleeping.  At the end of the day I collected items I had to return to the store and called for them to come along for the ride.  They were no where.  When I checked the back of my car, there they were – dead. 

    I’m not sure I can move on from this or forgive myself for not protecting my dogs.

  73. Laurie,

    I rescued a dog, Buddy 3 years ago and immediately fell in love. Soon after I met my boyfriend through our dogs playing together and the four of us have been inseparable ever since. We took our dogs everywhere and doted on them everyday. We always took them on vacation and this summer we went to Florida. Last summer we had rented a pontoon boat and took them to a secluded beach area where they loved running around on the island. This summer we did the same thing on my birthday and although he had never done it before, Buddy jumped off the boat directly into the path of the propeller. My boyfriend immediately jumped into the deep ocean water but when he got to Buddy he was already dead from his injuries. We took Buddy to the island and buried him there because we were on vacation and could not transport him home and the previous summer he had loved the island so much. It absolutely devastated us and ruined our vacation and my birthday. We have been feeling so much guilt for this since it happened. We keep saying if we hadn’t taken him on the boat or if we had put him on a leash or if we had reacted quicker maybe Buddy would still be alive. He had always been fine on boats and I still have no idea how he got off the side as it was enclosed. I am not sure I will ever be able to let go of the guilt I feel as I was his mother and feel like it was my duty to protect him. Reading your post gives me hope I am not alone, but I miss him so much. He brought joy to everyone and was the happiest dog. I’m not sure how I will go on not seeing his wagging tail and having him jump on me and lick my face. We do still have our other dog and I also feel guilty for causing the death of her best friend and for being so depressed this past week. Because it happened on my birthday I am not sure how I will celebrate my birthday in the future without being reminded of my baby. We are thinking of getting another dog as a companion for our other dog, but I also feel guilty that Buddy would think he is replaceable, which he was not. I cannot get the image of him lying dead in the ocean out of my head. I am so sad we had to leave him in Florida as well and cannot visit his grave. I am just praying for peace for both my boyfriend and I as he feels just as much guilt. I am so thankful for the years we had Buddy but can’t help but feeling like his life was cut short and it was because of our actions. I am just in so much pain.

    Ashley

  74. Dear Kathy,

    I am so sorry about the tragic accident that took your dog’s life. Losing our a beloved dog is painful under any circumstances, but when you accidentally part of your dog’s death…it’s just all the worse. What a horrible memory, a terrible thing to experience.

    Once your shock and grief starts to fade, you will see that it was an accident. You would never have deliberately hurt Ginger, and you would do anything to keep her safe. You loved her with all your heart and soul.

    Ginger knew how much you loved her. She basked in your love every day! She trusted you and knew that you were always there for her. She is now resting in peace. She is safe in His loving arms, and her soul and spirit will always be part of you. Ginger isn’t remembering the way her life ended — and she’s definitely not re-living it! She is at rest, and she wants you to have peace.

    Ginger forgives you, and it breaks her heart that you are so grieved. She doesn’t want to see you in pain. She wants you to be at peace with the accident. She wants you to be at peace with yourself, and with your husband.

    May you find the peace that surpasses all understanding. May you have faith that God is taking care of Ginger, and may you hold on to the hope that your pain will lessen. It WILL get easier. You will forgive yourself in time — and remember that forgiveness is a daily act, a daily choice. May you find ways to forgive yourself for not protecting your dog.

    I pray for healing on your home and in your marriage. Ginger is watching you with love….don’t destroy her peace by allowing bitterness or unforgiveness to rule your heart and home. Give her what she so desperately wants: the knowledge that you have forgiven yourself and your husband for the accident, and that your heart is healing.

    Peace doesn’t happen overnight – it’s a process that takes time, and a choice that you need to make every day. I pray that you make this choice to forgive yourself, and that peace fills your heart, mind, and soul.

    In sympathy,
    Laurie

  75. Laurie
    Last night around 9 pm it was dark. My husband took out our dog ginger of 14 1/2 year old dog on leash and tied it to my passenger side car mirror. I had no idea he did this. At the moment I thought ginger was inside. I told him I am going to Walmart to get 3 things for breakfast. And he must have forgotten he left her outside. She mixed datschund/pug When I went out it still so dark I never saw her and went straight to my car and drove off to Walmart which 2 miles. Here people stop my car said you are staging dog behind you I said what. I got out saw that it was our dog all torn up. I was in shock like why I realized that the leash was in mirror. I then realized too my husband had done this and I didn’t know.
    The cop ask me how I said I didn’t know I guess my husband must have done this to let her out to use bathroom and forgot to tell me he tied her to the car. At first I was so mad at him and I didn’t know.
    We had to take her to emergency animal clinic where they told me she already passed away.
    This grieve us both I felt like I killed her and my husband felt like he abused her. We both hearing impaired and I can’t imagine while I was driving our dog I am sure yelp in pain and I didn’t hear her. My husband think she probably was choked by the pull of leash. I keep seeing flashback of her so turned up on the parking lot horrible sight it just break me and bawled. My daughter keep telling me that we didn’t kill her and it was an accident. We have prayed and ask other to pray over us and the Lord will give us peace. This is so hard. Please let me hear from you. We feel like we don’t want any more dogs. This is so painful.
    Kathy