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Lost, Can’t Breath

Sad Panda

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I’m married with three kids, all boys. We have two Shelties and one of them passed away on Monday. She had been with our family since the beginning of our marriage, she was 14 and had been having failing health for a while with loss of appetite and labored breathing. On Monday morning she looked more tired than usual, breathing a little hard, and seemed to not have much of an appetite. I cut up and warmed some leftover steaks and I felt a little better. Picked her up and took her downstairs where my wife and I were working to keep an eye on her. Talked to a virtual vet and they made an appt for Wednesday. My son came in crying after work because she wouldn’t eat. Tried to make him feel better by giving her food myself but she wouldn’t eat and kept looking away from us and it seemed like she was breathing harder. Decided it was time to take her to the animal hospital but on the way there she went to sleep. When I picked her up at the hospital she seemed limp but I thought she was still breathing but couldn’t tell. As they asked what’s wrong, I cried, “I think she’s dying…” they took her and told me she was gone about 2 minutes later. I think she passed quietly in the back of the car while we were on the way, my wife and I were in the car with her. Beating myself up now because I feel like I should’ve seen how serious it was sooner, I should’ve carried her in the car so she could’ve died in my arms and not alone in the back, and a dozen other decisions that day that I could’ve made better. Now there’s a giant hole in my family’s heart and I feel like it’s all my fault. Don’t know how to go on without her, she’s been here for so long, but many won’t understand. For some a pet is just a pet and I have few people to talk to. I feel lost and if I think about her for too long I can’t breath. Please help me.

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My friend, I am so sorry for your loss, and I assure you that every one of us here understands and shares in your pain.

Clearly your love for this fur baby is no different from the love you have for every other member of your family ~ and the pain you're feeling now is but a measure of that love. We don't mourn for those we do not love.

I hope you will allow yourself permission not only to feel this pain, but also to find ways to express it. This is not unlike releasing the steam in a pressure cooker so the contents won't explode. As the saying goes, we can't heal what we don't feel.

I'm a firm believer in learning all we can about the grief that accompanies pet loss, because it helps us better understand our own reactions and helps us to feel less "crazy" and alone. One way to do that is to do some reading. Take some time to explore some of the threads in this forum. Read some of the articles I've listed below. And know that we are here for you. ❤️

Pet Loss: A Disenfranchised Grief

Pet Loss: Is It a Different Kind of Grief?

Is Pet Loss Comparable to Loss of a Loved One?

Pet Loss: Why Does It Hurt So Much?

Pet Loss: When Guilt Goes Unresolved

Pet Loss: When Guilt Overshadows Grief

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I am so sorry for your loss, and well understand your feelings of regret...we all seem to go through that when we first lose them...we're looking for a different possible outcome, anything but this, but there isn't any, sadly.  And the truth is, we don't know what we don't know.  We don't have the advantage of hindsight ahead of time.  Our guilt doesn't serve us beyond learning from the experience, once we've analyzed it does no good to hold us there.  The one thing I want you to take away from this is it's not our grief or guilt that binds us to them, it's our love, and it continues still.  
A Dangerous Villain: Guilt


It helps to memorialize them in some way, if you bury her you can create or order a headstone (I've used this one many times and you can search for and use promo codes) Personal Creations.  One time we made a cross for our dog and carved his favorite words into it (treat, go, etc.) along with his name.  I painted rocks for my last dog, Arlie, including one with a picture of "Arlie's truck" and him in the back end, happily going for a ride.  Whatever you do, it can help to include the kids in on it.

Children-explaining pet loss to
Children-Explaining Death to
Children Books-Waterbugs and Dragonflies

A lady who used to be on this site wrote this: Children Books-Waterbugs and Dragonflies
Memorializing a Pet
Memorializing Pets We Have Lost

My heart goes out to you all, I know loss of our dog to be one of the hardest losses I've endured, it reminded me very much of how I felt when I lost my husband 16 years ago...they are just such wonderful family members and companions, ever loyal, such good company and part of our every day lives.  (((hugs)))

I hope this short video brings you some comfort and peace to think upon:



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