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My best friend is dead and I can't handle the guilt.


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I just don't know how to cope with what I'm feeling right now. I've dealt with severe depression before but this is a sadness and guilt like I've never known. At 7:00 last night, my puppy, my best friend, was struck and killed by a car. But I feel like it's entirely my fault.

His favorite thing in the world is to go on car rides. My brother and I were going to get something to eat, so I decided to bring him along. He was his happiest self in the car, sticking his face out the window with the biggest grin on his face. I even took a video of him dated just a few minutes before he died, which is attached to this post.

Usually when I get out of the car when he's inside, I make sure he's sitting and staying before I open the door. This is the one time I didn't, because he was in the backseat so I thought there was no way he could get out. But I was wrong. He jumped through the crack between my seat and the door, and before I knew it he'd hit the ground running. He'd run off a million times before, so we were sure we would catch him. He was even just out of my arms' reach at one point but I just couldn't snag him.

My brother almost had him and ran after him, but my dog tried to escape and ran right into the road. It's this part that really kills me. I didn't see the car hit him, but my brother did. My brother said the car hit my dog in the back and spun him around, and that my dog made eye contact with my brother and the look on his face said "Help me," like he knew he'd made a mistake. And then he just kind of laid down in the road. My brother said that face will haunt him forever. The driver didn't even slow down.

My puppy had never been out in traffic before. He didn't know the damage a car could do. My brother stopped another car from hitting him (what is wrong with people, STOP or at least SLOW DOWN), picked him up, and carried him back to me. I was in shock. My puppy was still moving a little bit, kicking his legs, trying to breathe. I called 911 - I didn't know what else to do - and begged them to please please please please send whatever they could right now. They could only send a police officer, and by the time he got there, my puppy was gone.

I watched him die. I just kept petting him and telling him what a good dog he was and how much I loved him. I don't know when exactly he died so I hope to God that he heard me and that he died knowing how loved and cared for he was. I closed his mouth. I tried to close his eyes but they wouldn't close. I called my parents and they came and met us. We weren't even home, so we had to wrap his body in a blanket and drive him 20 minutes back to our house.

We laid him on our porch swing while my dad and brother dug his grave. I couldn't leave his side. I just held him and stroked his fur and sobbed and kept telling him over and over how much I loved him and, "You're such a good boy."

I was numb watching my dad put him in the ground. Then I was completely lost. I didn't want to eat, sleep, watch TV, anything. I'm completely distraught. An hour ago, my brother and I dug back down to his grave and laid his favorite toys, a few treats, and a bunch of Cheez-Its (his favorite human food) down in his grave. We listed a bunch of things we'd miss about him and said a prayer over his grave once we laid the sod back on top.

I truly don't know how I'm going to move on from this. Or the memory of this. Or the guilt. This dog helped me through so much. I've had him since I was 10 and I'm 22 now. He helped me through depression, anxiety, suicide attempts, broken hearts, abusive parents, everything. He was so innocent and happy and deserved nothing but goodness. He must have been so scared and in pain, and that's what kills me the most. This little pure beam of sunshine having to know such pain and agony. I need to know that dogs go to heaven, that he's happy and healthy and that I'll see him again and be able to apologize to him and tell him I love him and feel his unconditional love again. Imagining the alternative makes me want to die.

My puppy was 12 years old, but he still had all the energy of a puppy so it doesn't really feel like he lived that long. I suppose it's of some comfort that he never had to experience the limits that old age would have put on his bod, but it just hurts so much to imagine all the potential years he had left to live, all the memories we could have made. It's so surreal to think that just a few hours ago he was licking me and I was petting him and he was running around the house and happy riding in the car with the wind through his fur and now he's dead in the ground. The pain is unbearable.

Can anyone please give me some advice on how to go through this? Or just give me some peace of mind? Do you believe that dogs go to heaven and that I'll see him again? I can't stop thinking about all the things I could have done differently to prevent his death. I feel like I've sobbed my body weight in tears and I just don't know how I'm going to be able to face tomorrow.



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My dear, I am so very sorry to learn of the tragic death of your beloved dog ~ the cherished companion who's been at your side and in your life for so many years. You've found your way to a warm and caring place, and in this forum you are surrounded by kindred spirits ~ animal lovers all. I hope you'll take some time to read through some of the threads you'll find here, to see that you are not alone.

I want to point you to some articles that I hope will bring you some measure of comfort ~ but remember too that this death was so sudden, so unexpected, so violent, and so recent, that you're probably still in a state of shock. Give yourself time to mourn this very significant loss, to pamper yourself and allow yourself to feel your grief. You may find it hard to concentrate right now, so keep this list of links and read these articles when you feel ready to absorb their content:

Pet Loss: Do Pets Go to Heaven?

Pet Loss: Is It A Different Kind of Grief?

A Dangerous Villain: Guilt

Grief and The Burden of Guilt

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I am so sorry about your dog, I know the devastation all too well, I think most of us dog lovers have had similar loss in our lives at some time or another.  Marty has already supplied you with some very good articles, and I hope you read them. I believe that our spirit lingers near our body for a time, after we've died, and I believe your puppy knew all of the loving things you did and heard how much you love him and that he's a good boy.  I also believe we will be with them again.  

Grief takes more time than society realizes and allows.  Don't let anyone rush you, they often say stupid cliches like "it's just a dog", please realize that people cannot understand what they haven't been through.  Ignore the cliches and realize that they have good intent, however off base they may be.  I'm glad you have your family and they're caring and supportive, that helps tremendously.  My dog is everything to me, and I know when his time comes, it's going to be very very hard, I have been through this time and again and it never gets easier, but I feel the value of having a dog far outweighs the pain that eventually comes with loss...the depth of grief is in relation to the love we've shared, but I am glad for every moment shared in their all too short lives.  You're in my thoughts and prayers.

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I wish I could take your pain away from you. I truly understand what you are going through. Just know you are not alone. This was not your fault. There is one thing you might try which can help make you feel a bit better.  My little baby girl is a 10 year old Chihuahua and has bladder cancer. I have cried an ocean of tears for the last year and even though she has not yet past on I know the outcome is not good.  It came to me as to what I might do to get through the day of reckoning.   I plan on inhaling her soul into me on that day. When I pass on we will walk across the "Rainbow Bridge" together. This might sound insane but it makes me fell much better knowing she will always be with me. Just stand over his grave site, close your eyes and inhale deeply just once. As you exhale you will feel his presence inside you. I hope this will help you. I know it will help me. My prayers are with you. May God bless. Jeff

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