Two days ago, I lost my fur baby, my first child, my favorite boy. I went to work like any other day and before I left I kissed both my daughter and my fur baby and told them both as I always did, I love you more than anything. I got the call from my panic stricken husband a few hours later, that our boy had run out of the house and was hit by a car a block away. My dog loves to run. He spent so much time doing so in the yard, which was a big reason we purchased our home. The part that I am struggling with must now is that what ifs. My best friend rents our basement, and she had mentioned that a smoke alarm was randomly chirping and we knew the sound bothered our baby boy. He was mostly upstairs and I didn’t once hear the sound the day after she first told us it was going off. My husband said he was freaking out and he was going to call the alarm company as soon as he got home from dropping my 17 month old at school. He sent me a picture of the two of them together right at the door, right before he took off down the block as soon as my husband opened the door, something that he has only done once and only in our front yard bc he got freaked by the mailman, and my heart breaks thinking about what if. What if we had ripped the damn thing off the wall, even though it wasn’t a constant beep. What if he brought him with him on the ride, even though he probably would have made two trips to the car bc they are both a handful in their own right. What if we had put him upstairs and closed the door where he couldn’t hear the sound until my husband came right home. But at the end of the day, none of this helps. I can’t not cry when I look around my house for all the places he’s supposed to be. When I wake in the night and try to feel him wrapped around my legs. When I open the side door and don’t seem him dart to the yard. How can I move on? How can I take away this pain? This guilt? This blame? I wish there was no one who experienced what I did, but it would help to hear from those who have lost in a similar way because right now I feel so alone. Many friends have had to say goodbye to their pets after a long sickness or because of old age, but this feels different to me and it’s preventing me from grieving . I hope someone can help me with that process.

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I am so sorry to hear of your loss. It is never easy, but it's always harder when you keep wondering what you might have been able to do differently. My cat passed away a week ago today, and we struggled with wondering if it was something we missed. While I still believe it was a congenital condition (he had a few others) it is hard wondering if there was something I should have caught, or something I could've done differently, that might mean he was still here with us today.

My grandmother went through something similar, though for her, she accidentally ran over their dog when she got out of her pen while my grandma was backing up her truck. That kind of guilt is difficult to live with. I think the only thing you can do is try to accept that you cannot change what happened. The truth is, our day-to-day lives contain so many things that are purely out of our control. At any given moment, a series of random events might lead to tragedy. It's difficult to live with that uncertainty, but it's even harder if you torment yourself with the 'what ifs' afterward. 

What I've tried doing in my situation with our cat is tell myself that he had a wonderful life with us, and that we did everything in our power to take care of him. More importantly, we did everything in our power to make sure he always knew he was loved and cherished.

That's the thing to hold onto now. Not the "what ifs," or the "might have beens" because those are far too numerous and that way lies madness. You'll drive yourself crazy if you focus on all the things you "might have done" to prevent something you never could have predicted--something that, when you boil it right down, was literally just a freak accident. So instead, work on letting yourself feel the grief without guilt on top of it--on letting yourself miss your baby, cry for him, and acknowledge all the things that are going to be different now that he's gone. It will get easier with time, and you'll be able to remind yourself of the good times. 

But mostly don't try to add a helping of guilt on top of everything else you're going through. It won't change anything, and you'll never be able to prove that any "what if" scenario could've changed anything. It will just make you feel worse. So accept that what happened happened, and move into the grieving process from there, if you can. 

I know it's not easy, though, and my heart goes out to you and your family in this period of loss.  
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Thank you so much for your supporting words. I am so sorry to hear about your cat. I hope time will heal the pain for us both. You have great advice and I will try my best to think about how loved he was and how I will never replace him in my heart.
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Hi Shea, 

I am also sorry for your loss. I have to say I understand how quickly now our best friends can be gone. I am now on 7 days today that I had to put my dog Sandy down in emergency around 2am in the morning. We have to make such difficult choices and we have to grieve and come to the acceptance. I was sleepwalking thinking I was feeding my dog and the realization she is not there anymore is more than unbearable. I have decided to try and join a grief support group tomorrow night for pet loss. I would say to you it is not your fault and please do not blame yourself for an accident. I have put up a memorial of my dog with a battery operated candle, her collar and baby toy. I had Sandy for 12 years and time sneaks up on you so quickly. I also realize we really never know how long we have with them, but the happiness they gave was amazing. I wish you well. 

Take care,  Stacy.
Stacy Hawkes
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