I am a mess. A complete mess. Our 2 year and 11 month American Bulldog passed on black friday 3 days after TPLO surgery.

We dropped her off for surgery on Tuesday. She gave us that I am confused looked and looked like we had just done the samething her last owners did. I told her we would be back. Our vet took a blanket from us that had out sent on it to put in her kennel. Surgery went great and she had to stay over night just to make sure her vitals were ok. Wednesday right at noon we were called to pick her up. I was at work so my husband went to get her. He said as soon as Oreo seen him she just pulled to get closer. Nothing seemed wrong besides the bandage on her leg that made it look like a Turkey ring. Wednesday I move our living room around to get ready for the tree and a new couch. She was watching me from her kennel. We left for a bit and came back, let her out a cuddled all night on the floor with her. She was restricted from jumping on the bed or couch or climb stairs to our bedroom. My husband slept in the living room with her to make sure she was not alone and was fine. We left early on Thanksgiving for some shopping and watched her on our security camera on her kennel. She barked a bit before settling down to sleep. We came home for a bit and left again until like 8pm. She was alert and wagging her tail when we returned. Again we slept with her down stairs. Black friday we woke, gave her her pain meds, sat with her a bit before leaving for a couple hours of morning shopping. We watched her on the kennel barking at the neighbors. We watched her settle down and heard her snoring as she fell asleep. We decided becuase she was asleep we would get everything done and be back by noon instead of going back out again. I checked the camera and she looked good she was breathing. I came home at 11am. I heard our boxer and husky bark as I unlocked the door but not Oreo. I seen her laying in her kennel, I called to her, nothing. I opened the kennel and shook her, she was already stiff. I screamed so loud my neighbors came out. Our vet wanted me to bring her up, they wanted to do an nurcropsy.

Saturday morning Oreo's surgeon called to say he was going to do it to find out what was wrong. He suspected that maybe she had a cardiac event. We received a call back stating they had found that her stomach was slightly bloated and twisted. This is how she died. They told us it was quick, a matter of minutes.

I remember telling my husband as we were dripping her off that this surgery was easy, they do it all the time. I never thought that I would not be with her helping her recover or that we would lose her 3 days later. Her stomach twisting was not caused by the surgery. We did some research and found there is no way to predict when this will happen.

I know this and yet I cannot stop thinking if I just didnt go out. If we came home earlier to check on her. If we never had the surgery done. I feel she feels we abandon her when she needed us the most. That we left her for a day and had her in pain from the surgery and then let her die. I did not even pet her that morning. I was running around make sure we had a plan for the shopping trip.

I have a hard time getting in my car. I am not sleeping. I burst in to crying every ten mintues. I went so far as to tell my husband dont vacuum to dont want to lose her dog hair yet. I cant make it though a sentence without completely losing it. I have been crying my eyes out typing this. I find my self asking why God is so cruel. If he wanted to take her why didnt he take her Tuesday when she was gone. We were hurting with out her home for one day. Why wait 3 days and take her than??? Why take her two weeks before she turns 3??? I dont understand why God decided it was the right time to take her now.

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I am sorry you loss your sweet girl at such a young age. You have come to the right place to share your feelings because all of us here have experienced the loss of our fur babies as well and we understand your pain. My little boy was 2 1/2 years old when he was hit by a car. I lost him just 3 weeks ago. I have been asking the same questions as you. Why him? Why take him from me when you just gave him to me just a year ago? Sadly we will never get answers to our questions. Just know that we are here as long as you need our help to get you through this tragedy. I still spend many days and nights crying, but I have met some amazing people on this forum who are helping me get through my pain. We will be here for you through yours.
Hugs, Louetta
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Thank you. I am a mess. I keep telling my husband I killed her. I should have been home. Maybe I could have helped her, or could have gotten her to the vet. I mess her so bad. I feel like we sentenced her to death by getting her this surgery. Our vet did say the two events are not related but I feel like she was in a weekend stressful state. I have this big fear she thought we left her. That we made a wrong choice on have the surgery and leaving that morning.

I know everytime I see her kennel, i see her laying there. But I freaked out on my husband and my sister for trying to take it down.

She was my husband's service dog. We went to see a new one today. I felt so guilty, that she thinks we just forgot about her.

I am just so lost.
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I promise you did not kill her because we are their providers and protectors we blame ourselves when something happens to them. I still blame myself because of what happened to my boy. He was an inside outside cat. He lived on the streets before showing up at my house and making my home his forever home. He had been going outside all of his life and that day was no different. I still blame myself wondering what I could have done to change his outcome, but I am slowing beginning to realize there was nothing I could have done differently. I promise she does not feel like you abandoned her. She understands that you gave her the best life. The pain and grief is going to hard in the beginning but together we can help you get through it.
Hugs, Louetta
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I’m so sorry. That is heartbreaking. Please do not blame yourself. I’m a little loss for words right now. Hugs to you.....
Linda *Mom to two boxer angels* Lily {White Girl} 6/22/09 - 10/14/19  ** Ginger {Flashy Fawn Girl} 6/4/97 - 5/28/09
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Oh, Tamamick.

I'm so sorry that this happened to you and your sweet pup. Your story absolutely broke my heart. I wish I had the right words to convey how much I feel for you right now.

Please do not blame yourself. Dogs are wonderful creatures, and part of what makes them so wonderful is how much joy they have, for even the simplest things in life - a water puddle to splash in, a squeaky ball, belly rubs - they don't think of things the way they do. They aren't burdened by the same emotions that we are, like the absolute heart-shattering guilt that you feel right now. I can guarantee you that she didn't feel that you abandoned her, and that she didn't blame you. That was not her truth. Her truth was that she had a family that loved her. Her truth was that you would fill her bowl with food, give her a warm place to sleep, and keep her safe and loved in your arms and in your heart. Her truth was that the sun rose and set on you. Yes, you dropped her off for surgery, but most importantly, her truth was that you came back. Her truth was that she felt crummy, and that you were there to soothe her after her surgery, fuss over her and give her love. Even if you did not give her a pet that morning, her truth was filled with so many pets. So much love.

You are not to blame. What happened was not your fault, just absolutely horrible circumstances, circumstances which were unrelated to her surgery. And what underlies each word you have typed, each expression of heartbreak and agony and guilt, is the absolute unlimited, unconditional love you have for her. Please, be gentle with yourself as you grieve through this unthinkable time.
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My Dear Michelle,

Oreo did not think that you "abandoned" her. I have written something like the following to many here on the forum, in regard to this topic and your current feelings.

When we leave our pets at home, where do they think we have gone?

They are smart enough to realize that if in the past, we have gone to the grocery store and returned with "food and supplies", that has something to do with where-ever we went. That where-ever we have gone, has something to do with "food and supplies."

Remember. They are pack animals. And you and your Husband are the "Alpha male" and "Alpha female" in your pack (your family.) The Daddy and the Mommy.

Even my 7 month old rescue kitten "KID", when I walk into my office building where he resides currently, and he sees me carrying a bag of any kind, knows that I may have something for him. Food, or a new toy. You can see in his eyes the anticipation and the curiosity. He will even meow at me times. Even if the food is canned and he can not smell it. He knows I left for a time, and returned with a bag that may contain something.

So our dogs and cats must assume when ever we leave, that we went out "hunting for food" and they were not permitted to go with us, because they are not the Alpha's in the pack. Their place in the pack (the family) was to stay at home. To guard it perhaps. To protect the home. Whether they liked that decision or not.

They also do not understand cars. They know that cars take us places. That they make sounds and have power and move / roll etc. But they don't understand the underlining design, engineering and operations etc. of a car. They just know that we (including sometime them) "go" inside a car and then we / they "go."

It is like our human minds. Our brains are evolved enough to gaze into the cosmos at night and ponder the Universe and infinity, but we really do not fully understand the workings and complete mystery of the Universe. We can try, we can tilt our heads and wonder, but we do not really know it's full majesty and wonder.

As it is often said, our pets love us unconditionally without judgement. They also offer us great forgiveness. Yes, they may get a little blue, or miss us, or whine, or be dramatic to try and get their way etc., but they don't think on an over-analytical level like we humans do. They do not blame us or hold a grudge for long, if we have shown them love, affection, adoration and acceptance for any extended period of time. Your Oreo loved and adored you fully. You made her a part of your family. There was no way you could have known that she might expire when she did from that unexpected condition. It happens all the time. That is evidenced here on this forum. Out of nowhere a pet may expire unexpectedly at ANY age.

Please be gentle with yourself. You did your best to save Oreo and protect her. Your deep love and affection for your lost beloved is obvious in every sentence that you write. What you are feeling and experiencing is your mind attempt to right a wrong, where there is no wrong to right. It is a mind-trick. A trick of the mind. But this will all pass. Just hang on and continue to travel through time. Even though it feels impossible, you are healing every single minute. Every moment. Your mind and body has a built in healing mechanism. It IS your birthright. You just need to continue to breath and ride it out. As difficult as that seems.

There are good people here on this forum. Understanding, kind, warm, friendly, gracious, loving, wise and witty people who do care. There are tens of thousands of stories, information, memories, lessons etc. that will help you on your journey through grief if you stop and read some of them. We welcome you in spite of the unfortunate circumstances.

Kind regards & my sincerest condolences,

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Tamamick - I want to express my deepest condolences for the traumatic and sudden loss of your very young Oreo. The depth of your grief is evidence of the complete love and devotion you had for her, and everyone on this forum understands the agony of losing a beloved member of the family.

I have the utmost respect for organizations that train service dogs, and that Oreo was intimately part of your family in her capacity as your husband's service dog only adds to the agony of her loss. I used to know a neighbour who took in puppies in training to be service dogs, and the special connection between canine and human working together was marvellous to behold.

I know the natural impulse is to blame yourself and question yourself relentlessly about what you might have or could have done differently. We have so little control over outcomes, and it's clear that you were a responsible, loving, attentive mum to Oreo for her original ailment. Your intense grief over her loss is completely normal, and we on this forum know what that's like.

What happened to your sweet Oreo post-surgery was not your fault. Please have compassion for yourself; you did your best to ensure her safety.

I send my warmest sympathies and a big hug.

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Tamamick, I feel your pain. My baby died on Black Friday, too, early in the morning after a Thanksgiving with our family when she seemed to be fine. She was 14 1/2, and was showing signs of failing, but for the past week or so, she seemed to be rebounding. In fact, my sister had just asked how Reilly was doing and I told her she was doing fine, when my daughter called to tell me to come home, something was wrong. My husband and I stayed with her as long as we could, but by 5 am, she seemed to be comfortable and I thought I would just call the vet in the morning. By the time my daughter got up at 8 am, Reilly was gone. The same things have been going through my mind ... should I have stayed with her longer and been with her when she died? Did she eat something at Thanksgiving that made her sick? I'd been so busy with holiday stuff in the days before, I should have spent more time with her. I should have taken her for one last walk, or spent more time cuddling with her on the couch. I have been crying for days, too, looking at photos of her, putting her things together in a little box, washing her bandannas so I can make a little quilt with them. I know there was nothing more I could have done, but that doesn't make this any less painful. And there was nothing more you could have done, either. Oreo knew you loved her, and you did what you thought was right for her out of that love, so you should never blame yourself. It was a heartbreaking tragedy, but you didn't cause it.
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Thank you all for the kind words. Her remains came home today. I broke down at the vets office when they handed them to me. I felt terrible that I made the girl at the check in desk cry. I couldn't help what happened.

Once I got home, my husband wanted to see her. I lost it than too. Her hair was in the clay paw print they made for us. My husband opened her box. He wanted to know if she was sealed. He is planning on filling a little urn to carry with him. She is in a beauty velvet bag and in a sliver resealable. I lost it again when we found a smaller bag of the same sliver. In here was her knee implants/brackets from the surgery on Tuesday.

The crematory (PACE) took really great care of her. They gave us a letter that said we could call them. I cried to the guy on phone named Rodger. He assured me she was wrapped in her blankets. That she was handled with the upmost care. He stayed on the phone with me until I was done breaking down. And he let me know that they are there if we need it.

I am still trying so hard to buck up and move on, but I am having a hard time finding the light at the end of the tunnel. My boxer helps but I crushed his heart today when I opened her kennel to replace her bed into. He ran around looking for her and I just broke down again.

When does it get better??
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Tamamick - Such boundless love and such heartbreak...

It's completely ok for you to feel whatever you feel, no matter what anyone else may think about it. You and your family will have to devise ways, unique to each of you, to process your sorrow.

It's got no timeline, no template, and no predictability.

Here's a link to an excellent website and article about the initial shock of loss. It's in the context of her having lost her husband, but the principles are exactly the same because Oreo was absolutely a member of the family.

I send my deepest sympathies and a long, long hug.

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I can relate to so much of what you are posting here. I lost my boy Monday and I expect they will be calling soon to let me know his ashes are ready to be picked up. I am both dreading it and wanting it to get here so I can bring him back home. Being without him ya been hard and I am hopeful that maybe having him will ease some of that pain. At least I will know he is home with us. Your sweet girl is now home, where you can talk to her and know she is with you. No it isn’t the same not even close...but she is with you.

Thank you for sharing in this process. I have been really struggling and someone posted a link that I have listened to 3 times today and will probably continue to listen to because it moves me forward. You might give it a listen if you feel up to it.

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It's been one whole week. I can fake my way though work. Although I have no patience with anyone.

I can sleep in my bed now I stead of falling asleep on the couch next to her kennel. The only way I can sleep in my bed is too look at my alarm clock. My husband got me a Lavino that connects to our google home. He uploaded pictures of her. I fall asleep watching the pictures cycle.

Mornings are hard. I dont have a big white dog fighting to stay in bed. I dont have her tearing though the house to jump in my lap as I am putting on my makeup or grabbing her squeaky toy, becuase 6 am is a great time to play.

Hercules has turned back in to a puppy. He is going a mile a minute and crashes every night. Sammy is finally coming to the door again to greet you when you come in. She wags her tail when you talk to her again. But you cant say Oreo or they start to look for her. And the husky, well he just likes the fact a bulldog isn't hiding near the toy box to body check him.

We have started to look for another dog. The reality of our situation is that my husband needs his service dog. With Sammy being retired due to blindness, we are going to have to get another one. We found and American bulldog/ boxer mix named Molly. I am so scared Oreo is going to think we dont need her or are trying to erase her.

I also find myself getting angry. I had some people from work come up to me. Talk about how they lost thier 14 year old dog they had for 13 years. I smile and say thank you but inside I am raging. You dont understand. You got 13 years with yours. I got a year and a half. Yours lived to 14, mine died two weeks before turning 3. You got to say when it was time for them, I didn't. You got to hold them as they crossed, i didnt i came home to find her gone. I get angry, so angry that it hurts. It's not fair. I tired so hard to protect her. I get angry at my 13 year old blind dog and think why wasnt it you. We have been preparing for you. After I think/feel this i feel like a jerk and just start the water works.
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All the emotions you are feeling are normal during the grieving process. It has been a month since my boy was taken from me and I still go through those emotions. One minute I am fine, next I'm crying and then I am mad because I just don't understand why. This process is a rollercoaster and a hard one, but just know that we are here for you. We have all felt those emotions and are still going through them too, but together as we help each other we can get through them. It isn't going to be an easy road, but we are here for you to help you this.
Wishing you peace.
Hugs, Louetta
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It has been three weeks since you left us. And it has been rough. Really, really rough. There are days I don't want to get out of bed. I miss your grunts and silly huffs and your nose in my eye like it's some kind of kiss. I miss that "I am not getting out of this bed" face you make every morning. I miss the way you refused to potty in the rain but loved the snow. Daddy had a beautiful picture made of you on glass.

We got Mollie. She is healing daddy's heart. I know she has big shoes to fill and her training has started to become his next serivce animals. We are still not sure if she will wear your vest or if we will just get another one. She is healing Hercule's heart as well. He goes to your kennel when he needs to be and curls in one side at times. I liked to think that your there with him. Sammy doesn't care about this new one. She curls on the couch all day. Mollie doesn't give her kisses or snuggles with her like you did. Sam has been with me, our hearts are taking more time to heal.

Daddy has called Mollie your name a couple times and it make me cry. When he says Oreo I look to see if it is you and it's not. Mollie is so crazy at times that I just sit and cry missing you. I know you would curl up next to me or play with your toys without trying to break everything else. Daddy says she will get better but I just want my Oreo back. I just want my lazy, loving, playful Oreo.

The mouse forced my to wash your bed. I wasn't ready to do that yet but the universe had other plans. Washing it wasn't the hardest part. The hardest part was when I cleaned the dryer lint and it was filled with nothing but your hair. I sat down and bawled clutching your hair. Daddy had to remove it for me becuase I could not throw it away.

I find myself talking to you in the morning. It has become my thing. Grandma and daddy are worried, they didn't know I could cry that hard and have reached out for outside help with this grief. Doesn't help that the company I work for was sold and my job was dissolved, but I know the signs and I am trying hard not to close off. I know I cannot turn our house into a shrine but I am not ready to allow certain things to go yet. I dont want the other dogs to have your things yet, or sleep in your bed even though it's washed.

I miss you little girl. I hope your still hear. My grief is so much I am not sure I would be able to notice your spirit. I am working on it, trying to lessen it. I love you Oreo. I always will. Please help Mollie settle in, please show her the way. You left a perfect hole when you left.
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