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Nagging 20/20 guilt over loss of dog


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My sweet 11 1/2 year old boxer boy has been my companion since he was 3. He was my first roommate when I moved on my own and kept me safe and happy. He was spoiled of course and my now husband says I paid the dog more attention than him.

Since December, he had been starting to slow down in his age. He needed a bit more encouragement to eat his meals and by this week he usually got half his normal amount but readily ate other yummies offered so I gave him many different things. When he laid down for a long amount of time he needed a bit of prodding to get up, but was OK once up. He still played and cuddled and climbed the stairs up and down from our room no problem. He pottied normally and drank normally. He did have some incontinence with a little dribbling when but that had actually subsided.

We had our first child in September and while I've been exhausted I've tried to make sure when baby isn't in my arms that I pay the pooch some pets and special time or at least move his bed by where I'm sitting. Sometimes he'd hop up on the couch where for some cuddles.

He was a bit of an oaf and tended to wake the baby when I nursed her to sleep in her nursery, so I couldn't let him lay at my feet. He laid patiently outside the door until I came out.

In early Feb I came home from work to a lump on his shoulder and he favored the leg a bit as I helped him down the stairs. Once he was up and moving he no longer limped so I kept him from going upstairs that night and I slept on the couch next to his bed downstairs. The next few days I kept him off the stairs and he had free-range of the first floor while I was at work. I came home both days to a pup snoozing in the couch and he play bowed and was seeming to feel OK. I let the gate down and he went up and down the stairs on his own and was good. On the 19th I went to wake him and he wouldnt get up,  and fell when I helped him. I collapsed next to him and held him. He was calm but shaking a bit. I held him till he calmed and got him to drink water from a bottle. Eventually I encouraged him up for bacon but we had to carry him downstairs but he went outside on his own. He ate more bacon and treats but not his food. I let him rest on his bed until our vet could see us. He was so tired when we arrived and painful to walk and in his abdomen. I made the choice to let him go as the vet thought it was cancer in his lymph nodes in his belly and a tumor on his shoulder. He passed peacefully on his bed while I laid next to him and stroked his head and kissed him. 

Now all I feel is guilt and hoping he felt loved and cherished after baby. Did I hug him enough? Kiss his sweet face? Did I miss his hurting earlier? I feel like the outcome was inevitable but I hope he felt all the love I felt for him. I'm doing the what ifs and in constant distress. I miss him and hope I was a good mom.


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The story of your precious furbaby touched my heart.  Thank you for sharing it.  I am sorry that you had to go through this very difficult loss.  Does your precious boxer boy have a name and do you have a picture to share.  We are many pet lovers here and it is so comforting to share our pet stories. Your story says that he was a very loved boy. 

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You feel that way because that's how much you love him, Abbie. None of us wants to see our beloved fur babies get sick, suffer in pain and have to leave us. We all wish we could have saved them.

6 hours ago, AbbieD said:

I feel like the outcome was inevitable but I hope he felt all the love I felt for him. I'm doing the what ifs and in constant distress. I miss him and hope I was a good mom.

I think you're right ~ the outcome WAS inevitable, and just looking at that darling picture you've shared with us tells me that your Titus knows how much he was loved. Just look at his eyes in this photo. Bliss! Titus was blessed to have you as his mom, and I think he knew that too. I'm so sorry for your pain ~ and we do know how much this hurts. 

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You are very kind. He was an angel. 

Have you had experience where your mind sought out self blame? I'll suddenly have a inescapable thought that I directly caused his demise, i.e. did I make sure he ate every night? Did I remember to encourage him to eat? 

Once I convince myself that the doubt is not warrented my mind nags back to convince me otherwise or goes on another tangent. 

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I am so sorry for your loss.  Our pets are our babies, we love them with all our heart and I can't think of anything that hurts more than losing one of them.  You were a good mom and he knew he was loved.  The what ifs are all part of grief, we FEEL we should have been able to save them, protect them, but even as much as we want to, sometimes we're just not able to.  I like these articles, they explain it better than I could and I hope they are of help to you.


Your Titus looks very sweet.  For Titus:


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  • 2 weeks later...

I feel your pain ive just lost my soulmate bestfriend and constant companion in similar circumstances sunday lethargic to wednesday and gone had to be pts (suspected brain tumour)

I hope your and my pain dulls and we can both learn to live with our memories xx

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