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My dogs death

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  • #218955
    Cheri
    Participant

    My dog passed away a few months ago.  She was 17, but was in excellent health for an elderly dog.  If I would have made different decisions she would likely still be alive.  She became dehydrated.  She stopped eating and drinking due to supplement I gave her ( likely upset her stomach).  She stopped drinking on a Weds night and took her to the vet on Friday.  She was given sub q fluids several days in a row (she should have been on IV).  She declined and finally went to the hospital.  She was in the hospital for 4 days.  They gave her IV, syringe fed her and tried also giving her additional water by syringe.  She started eating some chicken in the hospital.  Within 24 hours of coming home she was pacing and was bumping into things and the next day she was hiding under furniture.  I knew she was in distress.   I had a vet appointment at 4.  Just before the appointment she collapsed (still breathing, snoring, good vital signs).  The vet did a blood test and her electrolytes were off again (dehydration)and her kidney values were starting to increased some,  though she was not in stage 4 kidney failure.  The vet convinced me to put her down saying she would not have a good quality of life, and I’d be keeping her alive for me.  I agreed but then she lifted her head off the table.  I told him to wait.  He said, in a very mean tone, you’re not changing your mind are you ? He bullied me and I let him go forward.  I was so distraught and confused… I didn’t stand up for me or my dog.   I was out of town so this was not my vet, he used to be my sisters vet.

    Later I found out she could have survived. I also found out the hospital released her too soon… she was still dehydrated when she left.

    I am sick I didn’t take her to the ER instead of that vet.  I can’t forgive myself for not taking her to the hospital when she started showing strange behavior (pacing, hiding).  She was clearly in distress and I waited for my 4 pm appointment.  I feel responsible for her death.  I loved her more than anyone or anything and now feel she died because of me.  I feel like it was wrong and cruel that I waited for that vet appointment and didn’t take action immediately.   She still had a lot of life left in her, and I cut her life short.  I don’t know how to forgive myself for hurting my baby.

    #218959
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Cheri:

    Your pain is so great, I can feel it, some of it, that is. The loss of your baby, as you refer to her and then the fact that she could have still been alive if only you chose to do this instead of that, and if only the other people involved were more responsible and caring.

    The vet who asked you in a mean voice if you are changing your mind, he wasn’t caring for her or for you. He was probably impatient and wanted to get it over with, didn’t want to be delayed. On the other hand, the choices you made and the choices you didn’t make, those were not for lack of caring, that I am sure of, from my reading of your post. You sure did care about your dog. You still do.

    She knew you cared about her, didn’t she, throughout your many interactions, she felt your love for her.

    The choices we make and the choices we don’t make, the reality of what happened and the alternatives to what happened, what could have happened instead. These are endless figuring and refiguring of possibilities, in our interactions with others, people, pets. If only I did that, if only I didn’t do that.

    I have more thoughts, but this is not about my thoughts, it is about  you and how you feel. I would like to communicate with you further, hopefully you will post more, more of your thoughts and feelings. This kind of pain you are experiencing cannot be resolved by a thought that I can produce here, no matter how logical and true. This pain will take time to resolve.

    anita

    #218963
    Cheri
    Participant

    Thank you Anita.  I am afraid my broken heart will last forever.  I have a hard time remembering the special relationship we had because I can’t get past that last week.  Also, it hurts my heart to remember those sweet moments between us.

    I welcome any and all of your thoughts.  I guess I am hoping there is something someone can say or do to help me… and maybe that’s just not possible.

    I have been to therapy, read grief sites and books etc.  I have been thinking lately maybe I need to focus on getting more comfortable with death and mortality.

    #218967
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Cheri:

    You are welcome. I think it is a good idea to get “more comfortable with death and mortality”. I  see it this way: your dog died. She was going to  die the moment she was born. The question was, if one asked, when, where and how. This is the same reality for every living thing on the face of the earth. No  one escapes this reality. Death is business as usual.

    As you think of your dog, alive before, now dead, think of you: you are now alive and you will be dead, later. This is reality, the bigger picture. What it means is that this is not the reality: something happened to your dog that wouldn’t otherwise happen, some anomality that you will have to live with for eternity.

    It was not an anomality and you will not have to live with it for eternity, because there is no such thing as eternity, not for any living thing that ever was and ever will be.

    These are some of my thoughts. What do you think/ feel?

    anita

    #218969
    Cheri
    Participant

    I will need to process those thoughts for a while.

    When I say I worry my broken heart will last forever… I mean as long as I am alive.

    #218971
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Cheri:

    When we feel a lot of pain it feels like it will last forever, but the pain is not likely to last forever, even figuratively- it doesn’t have to last for as long as you are alive. Not at this intensity or close to it. Once you peel the guilt off the pain of loss, you will experience way less pain. It is your belief that you are responsible for her death that adds pain on top of pain. And so, this extra pain, that can be removed.

    My other thoughts were about your responsibility. Most people are inattentive lots of the time. When we are inattentive we don’t make the best choices. Mindfulness, that is, paying attention on an ongoing basis is a big movement in the psychotherapy community and elsewhere, because it promotes healing and way better functioning in all areas.

    Inattentiveness is very, very common. It takes practice to improve one’s attentiveness, or mindfulness.

    Let’s say your dog was about to cross the street and you saw a truck approaching. All your attention would be on the scene, correct? Thing is, your dog was sick for a while, lots of happenings over a period of time. Because of that, your attention was not as sharp as it would have been in the crossing the street scenario, a one, short duration event. This is so for every person, it is tough to be attentive on and on and on.

    Somehow, I hope you move toward forgiving yourself for being not as attentive as you wish you were, considering it is a human fault, so very common, not intentional. Thing is, even if you could bring time back, unless you practiced mindfulness for months before going back in time, it would still be unlikely that your attention will be sharp over a period of weeks and months. You would probably be anxious. The more anxiety, the less mindfulness we practice.

    I need to get away from the computer and am losing focus, right here, my ability to pay attention is lower than before, when I was not as tired. I do hope you feel better soon. I will be back to the computer in about fifteen hours. I hope to read from you then and respond. Maybe other members will reply to you as well.

    anita

    #218973
    Kelly
    Participant

    Oh dear, my heart breaks for you. I am such an animal lover and can’t bear to see an animal in pain and I can clearly see you did everything you could! You gave that sweet dog a wonderful life and more love than she probably could’ve ever dreamed of! She lived a great, long, happy life because of you! It is human nature to think we are always in control of situations but most times we really  do not control life’s outcomes. It is normal to think if i had only done this or maybe if i didn’t do this or if that had happened etc. bc our mind so desperately wants to makes sense of this great loss and pain or for it not to be true! It is part of grieving! I know in my heart your dog is so grateful for everything you gave to her. Cherish her memory and it’s ok to be sad and have your feelings but recognize that just bc you feel you may have contributed to her death, that doesn’t make it true. Your sweet girl would want you to be happy and it’s obvious you had nothing but the best intentions when it came to her and her care. It will take time to grieve and process this but blaming yourself is not the answer. I’m grateful there are people in the world like you who care so much for our four-legged friends. <3

    #219015
    Cheri
    Participant

    Kelly… thank you so much for the beautiful post. I am a huge animal lover too.  I had a very strong and special connection with my dog… like I said.. I am completely heartbroken.

    I truly appreciate your kind words. I hope someday I can get past the regret and pain.

    #220757
    Jer
    Participant

    It sounds like your dog is part of your family, I’m sorry for your lost, namaste.

     

    #351902
    linda
    Participant

    i know this is 2020,

    but I too just had to put my old doggie to sleep. I loved him more than life itself. He was magical and amazing.Thinking back to the last few months, i ignored all the signs that he needed an appetite increasing medication or something. He needed a vet. Had i done this I know he’d be on the bed with me as I type this. Its my fault. I know its my fault. When he was showing early signs of feeling sick, I didn’t act. I let him sleep in his comfy bed and deteriorate. I let him do that and i cannot forgive myself. He deserved so much more and I let him down.

    #351922
    anita
    Participant

    * Dear linda:

    I am sorry for  your loss of your magical and amazing dog.

    “I let him sleep in his comfy bed and deteriorate”- I am wondering if he was comfortable in his comfy bed, if he didn’t suffer. It does happen that people choose to be allowed to deteriorate and die earlier because they don’t want to suffer surgeries and painful treatments. Was it a consideration on your part, to prevent your aging dog from suffering involved in treatment and allow him to be comfortable for the remaining of his life?

    anita

    #352470
    Ravi
    Participant

    Hi Cheri,

    I welcome any and all of your thoughts.  I guess I am hoping there is something someone can say or do to help me… and maybe that’s just not possible.

    Yes that’s definitely possible. I suggest you to do the ancient Hawaiian practice of Ho’oponopono. Very simple.

    You will get rid of whatever guilt, grief, loss or whatever negative emotions you have. In fact you may even cultivate feelings of love even though your dog is not in front of you.

    Take care.

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