Anna89
We had to say goodbye to our German Shepherd, Saber, last week. What I am dealing with now is guilt beyond anything I've ever experienced. Thankfully, it's nothing to do with the end of his life. I know we made the right decision to put him down. He had lost the use of his back legs and was going to get more uncomfortable the longer we waited.

We brought him home from the pet hospital Monday night. Before he came home, I told my husband I HAD to keep it together. Saber would know if I was unhappy, and that was the last thing I wanted. Since he couldn't walk upstairs, the whole family (my husband, our other dog, and me) all slept downstairs with him. I slept on a blow-up mattress right next to his dog bed. He spent his last day eating hamburgers and ice cream, and receiving every bit of love and affection we could give him. At one point during the night I woke up to him whining and trying to scoot across his dog bed to get closer to me. I moved close enough that he could reach me, and then he licked my face and laid his head back down, like he could relax after that. A vet came to our house the next evening and euthanized him in our home.

So I am blessed to have no guilt about how he died, but I absolutely cannot get over mistakes I made during his life. 

Just to explain a bit about him, we adopted him from a rescue almost 3 years ago, when he was around 6 years old. He was such a gentle soul. It took him about 20 minutes to come inside from the garage. He was so timid. He finally came inside, and from that night on I was his person. I remember the first night he was here he jumped up on a couch. I said, "No!" and he immediately jumped off the couch and laid down on the floor. Based on how submissive, and even fearful, his response was, I wondered if he had been abused in a previous home. He was always uncomfortable around raised voices. Even the noise of putting dishes away seemed to scare him. If our other dog started barking at the door, Saber would come up to me for comfort. 

He was so very sensitive to me. If I so much as sighed, he would come across the room to make sure I was OK. I had to really start controlling my emotions during football games! He was also in tune with toddlers and babies. If they cried, he would go check on them and give kisses. 

I say all of that to get to the part that is killing me. There were a few times that I really lost my temper at him. He and our other dog could get hyper together, and I remember 3 times that I absolutely screamed at him. There were probably many other times that I raised my voice, but 3 times I screamed. Once was probably at least 2 years ago and is pretty vague in my memory so I won't recount it here. The most recent time was exactly 1 month before he passed. We were taking down our Christmas tree. We were in the living room, which he was not allowed in. I was stressed about something and he kept trying to come in, probably to make sure I was OK. I got so frustrated that I eventually screamed "SABER!" at the top of my lungs. He immediately laid down right where he was. I believe I went over and comforted him right away, but I cannot remember specifically what I did or how long I pet him. How do I know he was OK after that?

And then the other time, the one that makes me sicker than all the others, happened probably last September. I believe I was trying to get him to sit on his mat, either so I could leash him up for a walk or brush him. He kept getting off his mat and walking around (I believe he was a little hyper at the moment) and I finally lost it. I screamed at him. I don't remember whether I was in his face or not, or how many times or what I said. But what I do remember was that he went over to his mat and vomited. I believe it was from the stress I caused him. His person, who he trusted more than anything else, did that to him. I made Saber so stressed he vomited and I cannot get over that. I think I immediately comforted him and pet him because I felt guilty, but the moment had already happened. 

I know many of us have yelled at our pets. But I do not know anyone who has caused that level of stress to such a sensitive and gentle soul.  

This has left me with two crushing thoughts:

1) Worry that he did not feel safe or loved. My husband has told me that's not the case. That I showed him love in countless other moments and that Saber was a happy dog. He still followed me around the house often. But I can't let go of the pain I caused him in those moments. 

2) That I am an inhuman monster. That if people I knew in real life knew this about me, they would never want to speak to me again and that it's OK I can't feel happy, because I do not deserve to. 

I think I am mostly posting on this website in order to know whether my feelings are valid. 
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Lizzie05
You have no reason to feel guilty about your mistakes. You gave him a safe home and you made it a point to show him you love him. You know that he felt loved because you cared enough to try and make things right. As long as you truly cared about his happiness, its okay to slip up a few times because it happens to everyone. Saber looks like an absolutely adorable dog and im so sorry you have to go through this loss. Sending lots of love ❤
lizzie
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Anna89
Lizzie, thank you for those compassionate words. I think were it not for the fact that he stress vomited, I could let myself move on. That seems like such a big deal. He never deliberately did anything to upset me. He deserved only love, all of the time. Blessings to you.
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Mistysmama
I am so sorry for what torture you are going through.
Life is not perfect. It never is. I remember swearing at my loving parents when I was a teenager. I am horrified by that now. They were the kindest, fairest  people! I remember saying a horrible thing to my mother -my loving, wise, kind and good mother -when I was 18 and should have known better.

I shouted at my old Jack Russell back in 1999 and didn't know at the time that he was already dying from cancer!

I promised Misty I would never make a mistake like that with her.

Yet I lost my temper with my own sweetest girl, Misty, months before she died. She was hassling me when I was over tired and desperately trying to complete some work to make money for us both. I marched out of the room (without a word) but slammed the door. I went into the kitchen and put cold water on my face because I instantly knew I had done the wrong thing -just lost emotional control.
I came back in 3 minutes, and apologised to her and softly stroked her. But she was trembling all over.
That was a horrible mistake. I hadn't ever done that before. She never needed a word of chastisement, she was so good. How could I hurt her like that??

She was better in a few minutes. But still it hurt me to the core.




What I see in  Saber's face in that photo....is Love and Trust. That is not a stressed dog. That is a happy dog.

We make mistakes. We feel those mistakes coming back to sting us through the years. Love forgives us....but we can't forget nevertheless.
I think we remember those things so acutely because they are part of our learning process, as Souls, here to learn in harsh conditions of Earth life.

You are basically doing a "life review" of your time with him, and noticing all the harsher things and mistakes you made. I think when a loved one passes, we all are inclined to do this....to automatically look at every detail....every error....

But one thing I have discovered, is that pure unconditional Love forgives us for those moments in our history when we were weak. Unconditional Love is one of the most powerful things in the Universe. It melts away all darkness and negativity.

At the time Saber felt chastised and it gave him an emotional sudden shock. That's why he vomited. It got to his belly. But dogs don't hold onto things too long, not if they basically feel safe in an environment. My bet is he slept it off. It wouldn't come near to touching his love for you.

As Souls, not just "dogs", they are very wise indeed. They are our Soul companions, not just "pets". He knows your love. He knows your mistakes, even better now than you know them yourself. The life of a Soul in  the next world is bigger than we can imagine.
He will continue to love you. Hold onto your love for him which is eternal.
Hold the love like a little light. It is all you have, or will ever have, to find your way home.

Misty's Blog..a Dogfight with Cancer http://www.mistysblog69.blogspot.co.uk

Misty's life after death: http://www.dog2spirit.com
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Anna89
Mistysmama, I cannot thank you enough. Your words have given me some much needed comfort. I’m so sorry for the painful memories you have with your parents, as well as your Jack Russell and Misty. Though it sounds like you grew a lot from those mistakes.

The way you put it, a “life review,” makes so much sense. I’m sure that’s exactly what I’m doing. I had actually forgotten last fall’s event until after he passed, and then it hit me like a ton of bricks. I will keep re-reading your words and remember that Saber had forgiven me ❤️
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Mistysmama
Anna89, since my Misty passed, I have sensed her on many occasions. What I receive from her is nothing but the warmest happiest love, loyalty and a beautiful peaceful feeling with joy. I never once sensed anything upsetting, or any emotional hurt from her. I never once was given an acute memory of any upsetting incident from her visiting presence.

I don't even think it's necessarily a thing that has to be "forgiven". I think the forgiveness comes as a part of the love. The love washes it, the way bright sunshine takes away shadows.

I think it's right that we should remember our mistakes, because they are part of our learning process. We should work on those things that we find hurtful within us; take a look at why we responded in those ways, and try to do better as we go through life.

But we should remember that when a Soul who loves us has a memory of a happy life, that is what they focus on; the big picture, not the thorns that sometimes crop up in life.

We are all struggling in this life, to learn how to be better people.
Hold the love like a little light. It is all you have, or will ever have, to find your way home.

Misty's Blog..a Dogfight with Cancer http://www.mistysblog69.blogspot.co.uk

Misty's life after death: http://www.dog2spirit.com
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Kristyp
Anna- I feel the exact same way right now (I had to put my pug Milo down this past Tuesday). I have such guilt of how I made mistakes with him, during his life. I keep praying he will forgive me. Everyone says "remember the good times". I'm trying but this guilt.....
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Anna89
Kristyp, I’m so sorry to hear that. I wish nothing more than that I could go back and do better with Saber, as I’m sure you do with Milo. Know that you are not alone. I hope that you will find peace ❤️
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Kristyp
Thank you Anna89. I hope you find peace too! ❤️
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