Living_with_tragedy Show full post »
Hi Pannklaus,
That's why I feel so horrible. It was my mistake sending him there especially when I was worried, that's my guilt. It hurts so much. My husband and I knew he was afraid to be left alone with strangers. He was fine at home when we had company, but he was so fearful in just a few minutes when being handled by strangers. Parker was scared at that place the 2 only visits before that day. He was terrified. We saw that. He released his anal sacs out of fear. I reminded my husband about his fear before he went there. I said I didn't want him to be stressed. I knew he would be scared, one of the reasons I didn't want it done -- there.  The right thing the vet should have done was to call us when saw he was frightened. It was his responsibility. It infuriates me that he wrote "fractious" in the note and didn't write anything about his vitals or about the procedure, basically nothing else.

That's true if Parker had something that needed treatments, although it would not make me feel guilty. I would feel terrible for him to go through that. I definitely would have taken him to his regular vet. He was so much calmer with him, after 5 years that vet and Parker bonded. Last spring I took him to one of our regular vet's vaccine clinics. I thought he would be scared getting blood taken for heart worm. He was absolutely calm. The vet and I were very happy he wasn't scared.

My other 2 dogs are up and down the stairs with no problem and they both have digestive issues. They are feeling good now. Parker had even more energy than the 2 of them. I truly believe he would be here and healthy. It's true at any time any of them could have heart failure, that would be unexpected. It would not have been something I would not have contributed to. That other vet wasn't convenient. You may have read that I only wanted to take our Beagle Leroy there for a few visits for a 2nd opinion. He didn't do anything different. He did nothing. He left him on the same meds. I got my dog better and he hasn't been on Rx meds for 2 years. I only kept him on Pepcid. That should have been a sign he was incompetent. I had every intention to stay with our first vet. This was a dispute I had with my husband who wanted to take them all to that guy. Our first vet was down the road. He has moved, but we drive to go to him. I felt awkward telling him we went to another vet for teeth cleaning because none of my dogs ever had any problem with his anesthesia and his procedure.

My 2 other dogs have seasonal allergies, I give them Zyrtec only when they need it. I didn't have to give it to Parker, I don't remember hearing him sneeze at any time. He was always healthy.  During the height of allergy season I would give Zyrtec to all of them if only 1 was sneezing.  

I don't want to get started about my husband. He's another story. At this time I don't care about our relationship. He tries to prove he knows everything, yet he doesn't. He can be bossy and make things sound as though they are a sense of urgency just as he did with this incident. He wanted it NOW and it wasn't urgent. He would not listen to me or back down.  He doesn't like when I have a more sensible suggestion. He won't listen until he realizes his idea wasn't so great after all.

I feel lost without my little leader. He was the pack leader and such a great friend to his brothers. He was my little boy. I wish I could get a sign from him. I wish I could see him in my dreams. 

Oh, how he and Leroy played. He was the instigator and such a funny little guy. It was out of love. He was such a character.  He and his blood brother, Porter were characters. That's why I was a foster failure when I fostered them after they were neutered. I had to keep them.  And how he loved his brothers. I miss him so much, it's painful.

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Please remember your loving pet would want you to go on, be happy, live life. I lost my 19 yr old cat, Zamba, last Tuesday, and I am in tears also, but I imagine him chasing the butterflies in the Paradise Meadow. He is well and happy, although I know he misses his Mama & Daddy. I know he is with all my other pets that have gone ahead of me and my hubby. It's hard to get thru the day.... I cry too, and sometimes am paralyzed by grief & can't do anything but cry, but I know this grief won't stay this raw for long. I won't let it! I pray that God will wrap His loving arms around you and give you peace. Please know that you are not alone, and someone is usually on this forum to give you some encouraging words. Hugs to you!

Marsha Marshall
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Right now I am dealing with my daughter and granddaughter whose cat died last night.  The cat was peacefully dying over a number of hours.  My daughter, a nurse, recognized everything that was going on and let her die in peace.  My granddaughter wanted her to be taken to a vet because she couldn't handle the death.  Today my daughter is driving the cat to a friend's house in the country where she can be buried in a beautiful place in a flower garden near the mountains.

My daughter and granddaughter feel guilty because they had three cats and this one was not their favorite.  They feel they neglected her and gave the attention to the other two.  But my daughter sat with the cat, Molly, for many hours as she died and the cat looks very relaxed in death.

So that is where my life is today.  I cannot convince my daughter and granddaughter that there is nothing to feel guilty about.  They gave Molly a good home and good care and otherwise she may have been put to sleep in a shelter since she was older when they got her.  

Guilt just seems to go with grieving.  I hope that over a long period of time you will be able to work through some of your guilt.  Your relationship with your husband is a separate issue. Many men aren't good listeners and think they know everything. My husband is like that sometimes, but after 50 plus years of marriage we can joke about it, at least some of the time.  When he becomes impossible I just walk out of the room and later he sometimes apologizes.   

I care about you and continue to hope that you will eventually find at least a little relief from the terrible guilt you are carrying with you.  I will continue to be here and will continue to write--that is all I can do.
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Hi pannklaus,
I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your daughter and grandchild's cat. Your grandchild must be devastated if it was her first time losing a pet.   It sounds like the cat was an older cat and died naturally. I can see why they felt they neglected her and feel guilty about it. I hope their guilt passes soon. They're lucky to have a support system. Themselves and you. Outside of this forum  and nice people like you I have no support system, no one, and I spend most of my life alone.  Maybe that's why I'm unable to get through this easily and faster.
My guilt is a little different. I let him go have something voluntary despite my intuition and being pushed into it. I wish my experience wasn't like that. I would been better that my dog was old and passed away naturally and peacefully. I would not feel guilty.  I didn't feel guilty when I knew it was time for my first dog who was 16, was suffering too much from diabetes and I chose to put him down. I realized I would be selfish and feel guilty if I kept him around just for me in that condition.  In this case with Parker, I still feel my husband and I put him in a terrifying situation and most likely he was in extreme panic or died in fear.  Either way, his life was taken. There's no excuse for us to send him there  for something unnecessary when we knew how anxious he would get with strangers. I'm not dealing with it. I put him in danger. He was timid away from us.  I know if he could have spoken, he would have told me he was afraid and didn't want to go.  I was his voice.  It wasn't fair what we did. We knew better. We deliberately brought him there. I go through this everyday.  If I didn't have his brothers to take of I would not be here. If I didn't have them I'd be more alone.  Thank you for thinking and caring about me.  
~ Parker's mom
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This is the first adult cat my grandaughter has lost.   They have foster kittens who die, but those are not their cats.  My granddaughter, a teenager, is behaving the way  that it says on the "children coping with grief section" often behave. She doesn't want to talk about it at all and is handling her grief privately.  My daughter is openly having a much more difficult time, even though she has lost pets before.  The guilt seems to be contributing to her grief.  I keep telling her that she gave an unwanted older cat a good home with good care but that doesn't seem to reassure her. This cat was on "death row" at the shelter when she got her.  My daughter has a very loving  heart and will take the death row cats over the more desirable cats at the shelter.

My daughter took Molly to the country and buried her in a very beautiful spot with mountains in the background so I think that is some comfort to her.  She visits this friend frequently and loves the beauty of the area; it is a special place for her.

It would probably be helpful for you if you had some support outside of this group.  But you do have this group and there are a lot of people here who care about you.  We understand your grief and guilt although I wish you could find some way to be a little less hard on  yourself. As I have said before, you are human as we all are.  We all make terrible mistakes sometimes no matter how hard we try  to do the right things in our lives.  

If you can't get past the guilt, you can continue to write to Parker as you are doing.  And you  can try to help others with their grief as you seem to be doing sometimes.  We are all here to grieve and be there for each other.  We cannot make our precious babies come back no matter how much we may wish we could.  But those are some of the things we can do which can help to give life some meaning.
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Hi Patsy,
Yes, your daughter saved Molly from suffering and being euthanized. She gave her a loving home. It was probably the best home she ever had and she knew that. That sounds like a peaceful place where she is buried.  It sounds like a place your daughter and granddaughter can always visit Molly. That's a comforting thought for them.

I wanted to keep Porter and Parker when they were fosters because I didn't know who else would get them, if they would split them up, or if they would mistreat them because they were misunderstood. I knew I could give them a great life. I just early retired and I had the time for them.  I managed to fail my little man. I don't know how I can go about any routine without him anymore. I'm so broken.

My memory was worse some days (I am 62) and before this happened I was getting worried because I was forgetting things and I just could not remember.  I don't know now if that's what happened with me. Did I have a memory lapse in the first place by returning there when I said I won't go back?  Did I have a memory lapse throughout that time before the procedure?  I don't know. I do know that before that, I was overwhelmed because I was doing too much around the house.  

I only have the grief counselor and pet loss forums. No family or friends.  My husband would never console me. I can't cry in front of him, he would never understand. I hold in my bitterness when he's around. He hasn't mentioned once about getting Parker's brothers' teeth cleaned and look how many months have passed. This is why I could not and still cannot understand what his rush was all about at that time. I cannot describe how internally angry I am at my husband for doing this. The loss of my dog without the guilt is hard enough to bear.  His insistence that the whole time by wanting to keep going there. My husband was pretty much bullying me. I don't know what else to call it. He's done it to me other times.  I feel guilty not defying him and not challenging him. I allowed him to make the rules for MY dogs. I take care of them 24/7.  I am ashamed of myself for allowing myself to be bossed around.  He did this when we were inside in that office. That's how he got his way to make the appts. Oh, how I wish I stood up to him and said we would first discuss it in the car or at home. I will not let him do that to me again.

I find it so difficult to go on with my day. It never seems right because of the circumstances.  I am lost without my little dog. I didn't want to give him up to anybody else, yet we arranged it for him to lost his short life for a stupid reason!  He loved his life. He was never alone, but we left him alone there. I worry he felt frightened and abandoned. That hurts so much. 
~ Tina

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Hello My Little Peanut Parker,

The last two days were very difficult for me without you. I cried a lot because I am missing you so much. It's so unfair what happened to you. I should have been your voice. I know if you could speak you would have told me you didn't want to go there and begged me to keep you home. I wish I could turn back time. I am so sorry. Please come to me in a dream.  I need you to show me you are not mad at me. I need a message from you that you are not disappointed in me. Please give me a sign in a dream or something else. I love you so much it's hard to sleep sometimes because I'm thinking of you and I am wishing you were here with us. I need to know you are okay and happy wherever you are.

I often feel I don't want to go on any longer without you, but your brothers need me. I will make sure they are safe and healthy. I watch closely over your brothers, but not as good as you did. I am making sure your favorite squeaky toys stay the way you left them.  I have all the pictures and videos of you and you and your brothers. Mom is not ready to see them yet until she knows you are okay and happy.  
You always were such a happy little boy. 

I keep hoping this is a bad dream. I need a good dream, one with you in it. I want to see you again, and your cute, happy face. 

Mom thinks of you every day.  I miss your craziness and fun-loving personality. You are irreplaceable.  Please my little one, let me know how you are. I am missing you.

I love you forever and ever,

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Tina, just wanted to let you know that i haven't forgotten about you either. I agree with everything Patsy has been saying to you. There are people who care about you, we most definitely do! Unfortunately though, we are limited in what we can do and say to help. We can offer our words of advice and try to give you words of comfort but, you must also be willing to listen to the advice. Easy said than done I know but, you must try. It is way past time you begin to forgive yourself. I still too battle with a lot of guilt with Kai, but I know she would never want this for me. I know how much it hurts but, unlike Parker though Kai was never a healthy dog. Thanks to greedy breeders  Kai came into this world with many health issues and her entire life was spent battling one health problem after another. I rescued her when she was approximately 1 year old and at that time she was already experiencing alternate lameness on all four legs. It was constant worry and trauma for the both of us. In her 11.5 years we didn;t get to know what life for a completely healthy dog could be like. So be grateful that your time with Parker as short as it was it was a life thoroughly enjoyed with a happy and healthy dog. Be grateful that you didn't have to continoulsy watch him suffer with illness or disease. Be grateful that Parker was blessed to enjoy a life not just with a mommy that loved him so dearly but, aslo to enjoy a life free of pain. I would have sold my soul to have been able to give Kai the life that she dserved free of illness and disease. Eveyrting we went through together throughout her life still haunts me till this day. Why couldn't she have been born into this world without the burden of poor health? As I said before life simply isn't fair. It's not fair that Parker died the way he did anymore than it's not fair that Kai had to suffer her entire life. We can't change the hand we have been dealt with we just have to learn to deal with it as best we can. Everything you did for Parker you did the same as I for Kai, with nothing but loving intention. Love is all that matters, love is all that the four leggeed ones care or want for. Parkers life and heart was fullfilled for you gave him just that! xx
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Dear Parker,

I am thinking of you and missing you again today.  I feel so alone. I wish I could hold you again. Mom is trying to stay strong for your brothers. I don't to upset them if they see me cry. 

I wish we never went to that place. I know if you spoke you would tell me you didn't want to go. You would have begged to stay home. I am sort at odds with your dad because he was the one to insist on going to that new vet and getting this done. I never wanted it. 

I want you to know that I am sorry.  I am really sorry.  I know there's a time and a place. I don't think it was your time. You were only 6 and healthy.  We played God and put you in a bad situation.  It's my fault for not stepping in and being your voice. 

I am so sorry.  I love you.  I am always thinking of you.  It's been rough this week.  I am still crying and it's almost 5 months.  I can't accept it. It's wrong. It's all wrong. You were meant to be here, to live your life, I would take perfect care of you.  Please don't think I failed you.  I didn't mean it.  I never meant for you to be harmed.

I love you forever and ever and ever,

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I wonder sometimes if I am being punished.  I keep asking and thinking what I did wrong.  I don't know because I don't remember hurting anyone's feelings or anything bad. I try to be nice to people. I hold the door, say hello, I'm not pushy.  I know so many other people who have done bad things to hurt their loved ones and they seem to about their way with everything in their favor. Am I wrong to think like that?  

I don't know why this had to happen to a little dog who I believe spent his last moments in fright and panic and I have to try to get rid of those thoughts.  I do believe that's what happened at this evil vet's place. I didn't call him evil before this so why did this happen?  That vet specifically made sure he wrote in big letters "fractious" on the notes the day of this dental cleaning. 

Was my dog so scared he was in fight or flight mode?  Was he panicking and gave them a hard time because was doing what animal would do in a strange place with people he didn't know?  That's so normal. Why would this vet leave the rest of the notes barely written stating any steps he took in this procedure and to save my dog, but would purposely write fractious?  He acknowledged my dog was in fear. He never called me to tell me.  I could have the choice take him home. I would have never left him there if he was that scared.  I am not only missing my dog, the pack leader and sunlight in this house, but I am feeling horrible thinking that he felt abandoned by us.  When time passed and he didn't see us, he must been so scared.  He was afraid at this office the only 2 other times he was there and the vet was less than caring. No bedside manner.  Looking back it seemed like he was either annoyed by my dog or didn't want get involved with him.  He accepted to clean his teeth.  Any prepared and caring vet would have given me a mild tranquilizer for him before he came in to calm him.  He never did that. What kind of vet does that when he knows my dog is fearful?  He could have called us and we would have stayed with him when he got the mild tranquilizer and maybe he would last seen us and made him happy and calm.  It's a law in my state to avoid putting an animal in a fearful or threatening situation where it could be dangerous them and make them suffer unless it was already suffering and it was necessary treatment.  Otherwise it's called abuse. They are to let the animal go back to its owner.  No voluntary procedure should make an animal feel so terrified that he is called fractious.  They do nothing about it?

I can only think this is what caused his death which infuriates me. So much information missing from the procedure and what they did to keep him alive. No steps. No notes. No vitals. Missing. Blank. A few scribbled words that may have been added later on. They are out of sequence in which they would be normally performed.  Any caring vet would have called me to ask me if I still want to go through with a voluntary procedure or skip it because it wasn't worth stressing him. Was it all about money?  He thought if it worked out he would get paid and it's Christmas Eve and no one else is coming in, he made his money for the day. He figured take the chance and if my dog doesn't make it, no big deal for him. It's not his or his family's dog. He writes off the charges and gives me my dog in a 10 cent plastic bag. 


Parker, I need to know from you if you are okay.  I need a sign.  Come to me in my dreams.  Show me your smiling face. I need to know if you weren't frightened when you were there.  I need to know if you are at peace and not suffering.  We didn't abandon you.

Parker, please let me know you forgive me.  You are not mad at your mom.  Please, I love you. I never wanted to ever make you suffer. You were always treated like a child to me. 

I love you Parker.

I miss you Parker.


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You are definitely not being punished.  There are a number of people here who have lost their pets in tragic ways.  These things happen and they are terrible.   But it has nothing to do with punishment of the pet parent.  Pet parents usually punish themselves, as you are doing, by being filled with guilt and remorse.  But that comes from inside of you and not from some outside force. 

I am sure that Parker is at peace and not suffering now.  Any suffering ended with his death.  And I cannot imagine that he is holding anything against you.  Parker was deeply loved by you and he surely knew that.  He had years of caring by  you with you doing everything for him that you could do to keep him comfortable and safe.  I don't think those last moments define very much in his overall life. 

I hope Parker will come to you in a dream and let you know that he is doing well now and that he knows he is loved.  I also hope he will let you know that he doesn't want you to continue suffering so much and he wants you to forgive yourself.  Since he loved you, he surely wants the best for you now.
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Although it's hot, we are starting to have nicer weather which has stirred up my grief.  I can see my Parker sunbathing on the deck on a day like today.  I am overwhelmed with grief.  It's a memory that will stay with me forever, but the horror will still exist is why my dog is not here.  I hope the pain lessens.  I don't think I can go on too long the way I feel.  I am missing him tremendously. 

I know his brother Leroy is looking for him. I see it in his eyes. He is sad.  His brother, the pack leader is not here and I'm sure he's confused.  I feel bad for him.  Parker was his best friend.  Leroy is on the shy side and Parker brought out so much in him. He made him less shy.  Parker was the sunshine and energy that kept this house going.  How does the sun still shine?

The loss is incredible.  I can't get hold of myself.  I haven't stopped crying in 5 months. He should be here. I know about fate, but this was not his fate, to die during a routine procedure at such a young age and without me saying goodbye. 

Someone, please tell me it gets better. I keep falling backwards.  How do I get through this?  How I make sense of it?  I am so sorry for the biggest mistake I've ever made. How do I tell my little boy I'm sorry?  
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Do you think that Leroy might be sad in part because you are so sad?  Animals often grieve when other animals in the household die, but I have never seen it go on for this long for a dog or cat.  Our babies do pick up our moods and can be very affected when we are having a difficult time.  Perhaps you could focus on changing yourself for Leroy.

I think Parker knows that you are sorry for what happened and would also want you to forgive yourself.  If you can't move forward for your own sake, perhaps trying to do it for Parker and Leroy might be the way to think.  

You know you must stay for the sake of your dogs so don't even think of doing anything else to yourself.  You would not want the full care of your dogs to go to your husband.  

I continue to hope that you will begin to find some way to forgive yourself for something that really wasn't your fault.  It was a tragic outcome which no one expected.   The vet is primarily responsible and that is where the fault is.  You are taking actions to deal with the vet.  That should help other fur babies which is a worthwhile goal, even if it cannot bring back Parker.  

Since you sound depressed, perhaps trying other anti-depressants would also be something you could do.  As I have told you before, I had to try almost every one that is one the market before I found one that worked for me when I needed it.  They all have side effects, but there may be one out there that doesn't have significant side effects for you.  The one I was finally able to take has many side effects but none of them affected me.

Many of us in this forum are concerned about you and hope that you will find something that will help  you move beyond your intense guilt.
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Living_with_tragedy wrote:

Patsy, I am beside myself. Sometimes I can't believe this happened because I am so careful and some kind of oversight that I had made this happen. It was never supposed to happen. I am torn. I still try to figure out what went wrong. You're right. I am stuck. I'm in a bad place. I feel like I'm sinking. I had my first grief counselor appt. I hope this helps me. Missing my young dog who didn't deserve this and feeling I put him in danger is wearing on me. I look for him. I wake up crying in the middle of the night.
Everything is wrong here. I'm not the same. I lost a piece of me. Even with my mistake sending him in error, the vet was supposed to keep my dog safe. I am broken and lost. I hope I can get stronger.
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Thai_Dad wrote:

Dear Living with Tragedy,

As with most of my posts, it is LONG.  But I hope you can get through it and I hope it brings you some peace.

Thank you for reading my original post.  Considering it has been over 2 years since Thai passed and the last update, I’m surprised it caught your eye.  I thought it best to reply on your own post as it is the least I can do for another parent who has lost their furbaby.

You asked about my story with Thai and I can get to that, but it really does seem like guilt is taking a toll on you so I’ll go over my own guilt with you here.

About a year before Thai passed, he had his ACL injury and the doctors weren't too concerned about repairing his knee, it was a cough they were more worried about.  After a more tests, EKG, and a cardiologist, they found that Thai’s heart was enlarged and it was pushing against his chest. In addition, they saw a murmur and the beginnings of a bad valve.

I started him on heart meds, took his resting heart rate and recorded it every day, did basically everything the doctors told me to do.  

Now let me fast forward to the day he passed.  I’ve talked about this day with plenty of people, but I’ll share here with you the one part I leave out.

Thai had a seizure around 3AM.  He stood up, collapsed, and I thought he had died right there on my bed.  He came around but would just stand there frozen, not moving, not sitting, not lying down, just not anything.  It was as if he was locked in place.

What did I do …. I did nothing.  Yup. Like an abusive, evil, disgusting, horrible, terrible, uncaring, useless piece of garbage of an owner, I did nothing.  He seemed to respond a bit and I went back to bed with him near my side. For three hours I slept, leaving my boy to suffer.

6AM rolled around and Thai did not respond to me as he usually did.  I felt his heart and it was racing so that is when I went to the emergency care and I handed him over to the nurse.  That was the last time I saw my Thai well.

They put him in the oxygen tent and they thought he would respond to it.  He fought for 10 more hours before I got a call at 4PM. They said he’d had a heart attack and wanted to know if I wanted them to resuscitate him.  I screamed yes, got in the car, but also had to call the other people that loved him, as I knew this was it. I picked up 2 people on the way to the hospital and when we got there, they had gotten a heartbeat back, but what was there wasn’t my Thai.

There was a tube in his mouth with splatters of blood, and when I saw him there was no reaction at all.  This wasn’t my boy and I knew he was gone. They asked me what I wanted to do and looking at him I said I couldn’t leave him like this and that was when I made the decision to let him go.  I crouched down and told him that he had fought long enough and that it was time to rest and felt his last heartbeat as they euthanized him.

Whew … so guilt.  It has taken me a long time to come to terms of not doing anything that morning.  Had he has seizures before? One or two and he came back from those fine. Did I intentionally try to kill him that morning?  Definitely not.

Here is the hard part.   We know their lives didn’t consist of that last day, week, or month.  Maybe not now, but hopefully at some point, you’ll recognize that the relationship started a long time ago.  For me 7 years, others 12 years, 16 years, etc. That’s what I hope we can all do with time. Remember the entire relationship, not just the last chapter.

And when we do, I know guilt will try to crawl back in.  Yeah we were too busy to play with them or kicked them out of the bed that one night.  Sure we weren’t the perfect owners 100% of the time, but I KNOW we weren’t the worst owners 100% of the time either!  

We loved them with every fiber of our being and we took such good care of them.  We should let those thoughts shine brightly in our minds, not just the guilty ones.  How did we spoil them? How many toys did we get? How many trips did we take them on?  How many decisions revolved around their lives? We were all good moms and dads.

But the GUILT.  Eventually you’ll let it go because it already happened.  We can’t change it anymore. We can’t make a different choice.

Maybe we can learn from what we did.  If your fur baby has a brother or sister, alright then, this time WE WILL be more up front with more tests.  WE WILL demand medication for that cough. WE WILL go to the vet more. WE WILL get those vaccinations. We will because we can decide to do things differently … in the future.  

But for our babies that have gone to the rainbow bridge.  That’s the past. We can’t change that. We want to. I want to.  I know all of us here would do it in a split second. But we can’t.  Those choices, decisions, outcomes, those are all set in stone and time moves on.  Beating up ourselves for it won’t change anything.

Now you are on DAY 4, so honestly, none of what I just wrote will make any difference on how you’re feeling.  Just know that EVERYONE here has and is going through what you are going through. We understand that this wasn’t just some pet.  This was someone that gave us 100% unconditional love and forgiveness. You did your best and just like every other time, they forgive you.

Please stay on this forum and share as much as you feel comfortable with.

I’m on day 809.  I still have bad days, but now there are more good than bad.  

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