Autumn looking beautifull.jpg  Still struggling with grief and guilt: Wed 10/2


Today as I sit in my office, I am wrought with overwhelming grief and extreme guilt over the loss of my13 year Dachshund and my best friend in the world Autumn Leaves who I allowed to die at the hands of the vet that was supposed to be caring for her, but I cant really blame the vet even thought it would be the coward way out.

 No, I can only blame myself for not giving the cancer drugs more time to work, she only had 6 doses before I decided it was time to end her life. I should have paid more attention to the signs that she was sick, I waited too long.  I was the one who declined an ultrasound 4 months earlier because I thought I knew better than the vet and because it was just to expensive, now even though it’s too late I would give anything to have Autumn back.

Yes, Autumn’s quality of life had deteriorated fast since the September 16 cancer diagnosis. Towards the end of Autumn’s life, she lost the use of her left leg, the vet said the cancer had spread to her lymph nodes and bones. Autumn couldn’t relieve herself on her own and just had no energy. The pain meds were not very effective towards the end. I can never forgive myself for not getting Autumn the care she needed when she needed it. If the shoe was on the other foot, I know Autumn would have spared no expense in getting me the care I needed.

 Autumn depended on me and I let her down. This guilt will stay with me for the rest of my life as it should, shame on me. When I think of the good times I had with Autumn, the times of grief and sorrow rear it’s ugly head and overpower the good times. I still cant get the thought out of my head, as we were driving to the vet she was in my wife’s hands looking out the window sniffing the warm Texas air, she was alive but somewhat subdued, then as quickly as she was alive she had passed from the drugs the vet administered. They say it was painless, and why I was glad to have been there for her when she passed part of me wished I hadn’t seen it. To me it was like the air was let out of a balloon, she immediately went limp and she was gone.

 I wonder what she was thinking, I wonder if she was afraid, I wonder if she felt any pain. So, the thought I have is she went to the vet alive and came back home in a cardboard box. This thought haunts me and I can’t get it out of my conscious. We buried her in her backyard.

 Its only been 4 days, but its not getting any better, in fact it getting worse for me. I just don’t have any jest for life, nothing matters. My wife also loved Autumn but I can tell it wasn’t like I did, sure she cried a little at the vet and appears to have gone back to her little life, and I sense that she is tired of my grieving, she told me yesterday that its not like a human died, No it’s not it’s a lot worse, no comparison. I have no family here I have a brother, sister, mother in other states but I don’t feel like I could talk with them or that they would really understand.

 I am thankful for this forum, where complete strangers have become my friends and source for inspiration and healing. I know I have to take on the suffering that I released my sweet Autumn of, and Autumn was strong for me to the end, the least I can do is to be strong for her.

Thank you all for listening… 


Greg Grimsley
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I am happy you have joined this forum. It is definitely difficult when the support at home has dwindled. I think the common mentality is that "it's just a dog/cat/pet/animal, you shouldn't be this upset."  Well, yeah, you should. And we all understand here!  They are our friends, companions, family, source of comfort, and a part of our identity. That's something that one doesn't just "get over" quickly. And the grief process is different for everyone, some may take weeks, but for others, it can last years. And all of that is ok! 

I hope you find some comfort in this forum. We know what you are going through, and it seems like many of us also struggle with feelings of guilt. We all have similar feelings, and I believe no matter how they've passed, we will feel a sense of guilt. Try to avoid "what if" thoughts in your head, those can become so toxic. (Easier said than done, I know.) Remember that you gave your dog a beautiful life in a loving home. You clearly cared about her a great deal, and I am sure she cared about you, too. You took on the suffering of losing her so that she didn't have to suffer to stay. It is the hardest decision to make, but one we do out of love. 

Just need to take one day at a time, and hopefully we can remember all the good times with our sweet, furry family members with a smile soon. 
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  That's certainly understandable that you are relapsing your with your grief. I am too. Some days I am fine and then something will trigger a reaction. It will hit me like a wave and wash over me. It's hard to take. You mentioned in your post that your wife may be tiring of your grieving. My guess is that she's hurting just like you but she can't express it openly. Some people openly grieve and others internalize their feelings. The latter may be happening with her, She may not be comfortable with all the sadness, guilt, anxiety, etc, and has kept them inside. Feelings of sadness can be taxing (even overwhelming) and it's the path of least resistance to keep them inside. This happened years ago, that my ex-wife couldn't deal with my grieving of my dog's death (This was my other Border Collie - Puma - not Shelby). She did love my other BC, but her emotional involvement was at a much lower level than mine. Puma was my dog - not my wife's. When my wife and I divorced many years ago, I thought I had been hit with a ton of bricks. It couldn't get any worse. I was wrong. It was much worse when my beloved Shelby passed (and Puma's passing too). I hope you and your wife can reach some kind of mutual dialogue about Autumn's death and grow from there. Thanks for sharing your thought with us. They are most welcome and we all want to hear from you.

Jim Miller
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