I recently had to say goodbye to my dog of 15 years, Midnight. She was my lifeline. Guilt is taking me over.  Several things are eating at me, every night:

1.)  She became scared.  When I took her in, I laid her bed down, I was with her through the entire thing.  The vet tech was having issues sticking her with the catheter.  During the third stick, she became freaked out.. idk if they hit a nerve or what. But she wanted out. And it broke my heart. After that they gave up that method and doc would come in to give me the second option.. a regular sedative that put her to sleep, before injecting directly into her heart.  I did spend a minute petting her and calming her back down before the doc came in directly. But that look in her eyes when they tried the third stick, that look broke my heart. In a setting where it was important for her to feel calm, she was legitimately scared. I cant help but feel I should have spent more time calming her down after the initial try, or even considered scheduling another day. The sedative the doctor used calmed her down quite a bit and she did relax, but there was still those moments of fear. I shouldn't have let that happen. I had a responsibility to keep her comfortable and I failed in that moment. 

2.)  Can't help but feel the decision was rushed.  It was only two days prior when the vet broke it to me that it was time to consider putting her down.  Looking back, I could have probably given her another week, rather than 2 1/2 days.  I did everything I could think of in that little time.. trips to the park, letting her sleep in my bed again, loving on her constantly, etc. But I could have given her more than two days. 

3.)  Second guessing my choice to cremate. We decided to have her cremated.  I was having difficulties digging the hole and burial felt rushed. It would need to be done that day.  I wanted time to weigh options, to put her to rest.  I wasnt going to get that with a burial.  But a part of me also believes that cremation is a very unnatural way to put a companion at rest.  They should be returned to the earth. Set free. Which I will do with her ashes, in some form.. but its not her, a whole her, its burned remains. Just feeling like its less personal to do it that way.  

4.)  The cliche words of comfort I've been hearing are "you gave her a good life".  Yes, I like to believe I did give her a good life.. but did I give her a good end?  A good exit?   That's what I'm really struggling with, and thats what makes this whole situation suck.  Putting her down felt rushed... she was scared from a failed stick in moments where she needed to be calm and comforted.. I could have given her a little extra time... I don't fully trust cremation.   I can't help but feel I gave her an end that was a bit rushed, and its eating at me.  Guilt has taken me over for the past week. That dog deserved so much love. She deserved to pass with peace in her heart.  I just hope she found it..

I wake up feeling cold.. empty.  I wake up shivering.  I have that constant "I could have done better" feeling.  I have difficulties focusing/getting motivation.  This just sucks. That was my baby girl.. Drew_HPI_4070.jpg  Drew_HPI_4054BW.jpg
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Beautiful picture. The sedative is good for them to make them feel calm. She knew you were there. I had to put mine to sleep 7 weeks ago and I still cry. It is hard. Sorry you felt rushed. You did the best you could and it is normal to feel guilty. Mine could have also lived a little longer but she didn't have a good quality of life. My dog would have been 18. She was also black with her old grey face. She was a once in a life time dog. My happiness.

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  My sincerest condolences on the loss of your beloved Midnight. Great pictures of her. Your feelings of guilt and 2nd guessing yourself are something that everyone in this Forum is experiencing to one degree or another. Those feelings are perfectly normal and valid. I hope you will post here often and let us know how you are coping. It's okay to struggle with issues surrounding our pet's departure from our lives. It's been (7) weeks for me and I still grapple with the issues. Stay strong.


Jim Miller
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Dear Drew,

I was very saddened to learn of you recent loss of your beloved Midnight. By the photos you shared you can so, so easily see just how much you loved your girl. You would never, not ever done anything to hurt her. It is obvious by the words you wrote how much you cherished and adored and cared for Midnight. 

Firstly, you may have known that Midnight was about to be put to sleep, but she didn't. She just assumed she was at the Vets and didn't want to be there. So the fear in her eyes that you saw, was not the anticipation of her knowing those being her last moments, it was her just not wanting to receive medical treatment at that time. Probably because she wasn't feeling well.

The alternative to a peaceful departure via being put to sleep vs. what can happen if an animal is allowed to suffer, is worlds apart. You showed Midnight mercy. She may have not had a perfect procedure at the end, but she still did not suffer like so, so many other dogs do in their final moments.

Many here on the forum have shared stories about their beloved ends, that are absolutely beyond devastating. Dogs going into catatonic coma's, going blind, not recognizing their pet parents, bleeding from every orifice, howling in agony etc. etc. So please realize that. You might want to search through the forum and read some of these stories to help reboot your perspective. And realize that in the end what Midnight went through was not as bad as it could have been. I am sorry that she and you had to go through what you did together. 

When it comes to cremation? It is one of the most ancient rituals in our society. We have been cremating those we have lost going back 65,000 to 100,000 years. Out of love and respect for those we have passed away, so that they were not desecrated as they returned to the Earth. But to me, what I find truly comforting is the fact that all life forms on Earth, including you and your Midnight (and me and every member of this forum) are made up of carbon, carbon from exploded stars that are 4.5 BILLION years old. You are made of stardust. Midnight is made of stardust. And right now her ashes contain stardust. What could be more enchanting than that? Your baby girl is made of stars! Think about that when you think of or look at her ashes. And then at night, please look up to the Heavens and star gaze and think of your and her connection to the stars. 

Just continue to travel through time brother. One important thing we have learned here on the Rainbow Bridge Forum is the endless 2nd guessing, guilt, remorse and regret is part of the grieving process. And it will eventually go away. Our minds play tricks on us as they try to work through what happened and try desperately to rewrite history and that is just not possible. Eventually those feelings and emotions will subside, which is evidenced by hundreds if not thousands of posts here from those who came before us. Our veterans of grief if you will.

You are not alone. We are all with you in spirit and comradeship. If others do not post here right away it is because many are also suffering in grief, healing and at times a little shy about posting. But they have read your story and now know about your beloved Midnight.

My kindest regards and sincerest condolences,

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My heart aches for you and your Midnight. I am so sorry you have to endure such incredible pain and guilt. It's clear that the love shared between the two of you is honoured and cherished through the journey of your grief. It's often said but completely true; healing takes time and in that process you will learn to forgive yourself. I promise. I've had to say goodbye to a very special companion of my own last week and much like you I cannot escape the invasive memories of letting go. It will be one of the hardest decisions you and I will ever have to make and living with that decision is just as hard. It's an invited and unavoidable trauma. An aspect we are aware of but never ready for in our relationship with our beloved pets. That said as much as it hurts now, you absolutely did the right thing for Midnight.

Aggressive procedures, numerous vet visits and crippling anxiety were all involved in a proposed attempt to gain more time. More time. All of which was not a guarantee. "If I could just have one more month, one more day to be with him" I thought. The consideration between that or saying goodbye weighed on me so heavily it anchored me to a reality I never thought I would have to face. "Now? I have to decide this now? I'm not ready." But the thing is, you never are. Even if I was lucky enough after all those tests, after putting something I love through so much for... more time, what kind of time would it be? Would he be comfortable? Would our last days and memories be full of medicated pain? Would it hurt more to force him to live in a broken dying body for... more time? It was then I realised, more time could take from us rather than give. To ask him for that would be asking too much. So I said goodbye. I think for Midnight you assuredly made the right decision. There is so much more room for suffering and regret if we don't act sooner rather than later. Your strength to make that decision gave your sweet Midnight a gift. That gift was not only love but a thoughtful goodbye and more importantly, peace. 

There are some things that are uncomfortably unavoidable. Before I arrived on our last day while carrying my cat to the backroom, he buried his face into my neck in fear. His body tightened and I knew he was scared. It killed me. I wish I could have taken that away but after listing the"could of's" and "should have's" to myself, I knew he would have been scared regardless. It wouldn't of mattered what I did unfortunately. Midnight may have been scared too and that's okay. It doesn't feel okay because of the circumstance but you have to remember, you were there. That is huge. She could smell you, see you and feel you. You didn't fail. You were exactly where you needed to be and did exactly what you needed to do. You were together. That's what matters most. You loved her as hard as you could right to every last moment that even past those moments, it seems like it "wasn't enough". It's hard to escape that mentality but what always helped me was remembering how he knew he wasn't alone.

I'm still haunted by our last moments together. The smells, sounds and interactions. I fixated and obsessed over such small details to a point that it invaded all my cherished memories like a very unwanted guest that refused to leave. It's isolating to manoeuvre around regret and guilt. Especially when it's not in your power to change it. Knowing that, we repeat and repeat and repeat in an effort to accept. This is how a lot of people process their trauma and begin to heal. That horrible day will not always dominate your memories of Midnight. Fifteen years is not defined by it's end but by it's entirety. You'll remember her favourite spot to sleep and her quirks without interruption. Heartache can evolve into a warm place with enough time and an effort to forgive yourself. You did right by her. Enduring and carrying this pain so she can be at peace is very noble. Midnight is so fortunate to have such a thoughtful loving owner. It gets easier and you become kinder to yourself. Wait, day by day. Stay strong.

Sending you a warm hug.
Rest well Midnight❤️
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To all that are listening tonight I understand your pain. I just found this forum because I’m looking for some sort of comfort as well. My boxer Cash passed yesterday morning after a long battle with cancer and I’m feeling lost. I spent all of my time over the past several months helping him in every way and tonight I just feel empty. The one bit of help I may be able to offer is to say our animals know the love we have for them! They know that we are doing our very best and even if we are having guilt with our decisions they trust in us completely. We all have to focus on the wonderful lives we shared and not on the end. I don’t understand why these things happen the way they do but I believed 100% that we will be together again one day and we will understand it all. I’m looking for help in comforting Cash’s mate Millie at this time. She still doesn’t understand why he is gone and I fear the days ahead will only get worse. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
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My sincere condolences.

Your picture speaks a million words, it is clear how very much you loved your precious Midnight, the bond between you both is clear.

Everything you are feeling right now is because you are grieving but you did not give your baby a 'bad exit'in any way..You stayed with your beloved dog until the very end and as an act of love ended the suffering..

I am with you in feeling 'being rushed' as my dog had euthanasia and it all seemed like a whirlwind because of the shock, pain, worry, heartache and every other awful emotion but the bottom line was, her quality of life was poor. I still 2nd guess everything now, but that is because of the grief, which is what it does!

I also had issues about the whole cremation process & was torturing myself over it & have written a post about it but again, it is grief. What James wrote about the remains being 'stardust' felt not only comforting to myself but it is enchanting & a beautiful thing to think about..

This forum has helped so so many of us on here and when I feel at my lowest it restores my faith in humanity, reading the love people had for their babies and the lengths they went to, to take care of them.

I feel your pain and my heart goes out to you but there is no doubt in the world - you not only gave your Midnight a good life but a good exit! You stayed until the very end and midnight knew this and felt your love all around..

Sending comfort and hugs

Daisy's mummy

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Drew - How are you doing?

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Dear Drew
I read your post for the first time about Midnight with tears in my eyes. I am so very sorry. It is very difficult and I believe in your heart you knew Midnight was ready to go. It is a very sad state for all of us that had to let go of our pet -they are our best friends. The important part is you didn't let Midnight suffer. So what was better for Midnight was worse for you. We all know on this forum how awful it is and I am thinking of you
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Drewski, you did the best you could under the circumstances.   There is never an easy way to say good-bye to your very best friend, Midnight.   Never.   
They could live 100 years and it is never long enough.  Either way, Midnight is now at peace and full of life once again in The Almighty's Heavenly Animal Kingdom.   
Continue to celebrate your beloved friend Midnight until you meet up again on the other side.    Trust The Lord & God Bless You!
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Very true. It is never enough time.

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Dearest Drew, I am so so sorry for your loss. My heart is breaking reading your post. Like everyone one mentioned, there is never a good time to put our babies to sleep. We want them with us forever. Please don't beat yourself up with guilt, by your message and pictures I can see how much you loved her so remember all the wonderful memories. I too lost my Logan (15 1/2) exactly one week today. My heart is breaking and I feel so lost. We loved him so much. Please hang in there and post often. I also want to send my sympathies to everyone who lost their beautiful pet. Cory
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