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How Do I Deal With Guilt?


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well it has been almost three weeks now since the tragic accident that took the ilfe of my 13 year old dog. i am so hurt inside that i can barely fuction. my wife is growing increasingly impatient with my grief and i am even considering leaving her?? you see i am not only dealing with the actual loss, but i am upset with myself because i think i could have done something to prevent the accident. we live on a quite culdesac street and my son has been walking to school for the past 6 years with no incidents whatsoever. that morning was no differnet that all of the others we had walked. sometimes we would place the dogs on a lease if we were going to go all of the way up to the busy school parking lot, but most of the time we stopped short at the school fence and my son walked the rest of the way about 100 yards by himself. i would watch him until he went inside the school and then i would walk back home with the dogs. we had never had even a close call before that day!! you see we were walking and i had my eye on my other dog which is a yellow lab about 14 years old. i wanted to make sure he didnt wander off and get lost as he had started to do now that he is so old. i thought that the 13 year old blacky was ahead of us as he usually is. my neighbor that lives at the end of the street came barreling down the street(TOO FAST I THINK!!) and i had my back turned then i heard that terrible noise and i saw blacky lying in the road. IT WAS AWFUL AND I AM DYING INSIDE JUST RELIVING THOSE HORRIBLE MOMMENTS! i rushed blacky to the vet, but it was too late!! so now i am faced with the what ifs?????????? i have started seinga grief counselor, but i really dont know if its going to help. i feel like i let my baby down by not being totally aware of the situation. i quess i just took thinks for granted and now all i have is grief and regret!! any help would be greatly appreciated. this might very well cost me my marriage of 21 years, because my wife just gets frustrated with men and we cant even talk!!! please help!!!!!!!

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Dear Teejay,

I'm so sorry that you're having such a difficult time. Since you did not respond to my earlier message to you, I'm not sure if you read what I posted to you on September 18, under the topic you started entitled Today Is a Week. If not, I hope you will read it now. Just click on this link and you'll go right to it:


Please follow all the links in that post, and read the articles I've suggested. See also Loss and the Burden of Guilt.

It's good to know that you've started seeing a grief counselor, but you sound uncertain as to whether it is helpful. I don't know if this is the case with your counselor, but do be aware that not every grief counselor understands and respects the human-animal bond and the close relationships we can have with our animal companions. A counselor without this understanding may misinterpret the strength of your attachment to Blacky and the depth of your grief over his death. I hope that with your particular grief counselor you feel accepted, supported and understood in the reasons for your pain -- and if you do not feel that way, then you have every right to find another counselor.

Wishing you peace and healing,

Marty T

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i want to thank all of you that took the time to post a reply to my ongoing grief. some of your advide and insight really helped. i understand that i didnt do anything to cause the accident, but i am real good at beating myself up. i still blame my neighbor for his part in the accident and really blame him for his apatheic demeanor and his inaction since it happened. i cant believe i ever considered this person a friend. i do not hate him or want any revenge, but i dont want to continue any relationship with him, because his actions prove that he was really never my friend to start with. and i have found out that he is involved in some activity that could cause him bodily harm and anyone associated with him. maybe my baby blacky had to go this way to reveal that this person is not what he seems?? i quess i'll never know, unless i pick up the paper one day and see that this person has reaped what he has sown?? god bless all of you. i only wish there were more good people like yourselves that i could choose to be my close friends and not the scum that i have foolishly trusted!! thanks!!

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I am very sorry about your loss of your dog. Although I joined this website because I lost my Mom on June 14, 2006, I too have lost my pets. Matter of fact, 6 weeks before Mom died, I lost my oldest doxie Benny. He would have been 14 October 21st.

In some ways, it's harder to lose a pet. They are so loveable and forgiving and accepting. They don't care what you're wearing or if you've done your hair that day, or if you've put on a few pounds! They simply want to make you happy, and in turn, they are happy. They are so comforting during sadness, and they know when Mommy needs a laugh. I still have three other "babies", all doxies, and I don't know where I would be without them in my life. Even in these sad times, they always seem to bring a smile to my face.

I am so sorry that you lost your Blacky in such a horrible way. It is not your fault. I truly believe that when we cross over, all of our beloved pets are there waiting for us, along with our family and friends. And, they are still here with us, watching over their families. Look for the signs. They are there, if you're willing to see them.

Take care, and keep on posting. It really does help.



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I am so sorry for the loss of your dear Blacky. I understand how hard it is not to blame yourself, but I am sure that you realize that guilt is not only useless, but also harmful. It WAS an accident and as hard as that is to accept, in time, I believe that you will accept it and move on with you life. I am wishing you peace in your journey toward this self acceptance.

Kim-I understand just what you are saying about the loss of a pet being more difficult in some ways than the loss of a person. Last summer, both my parents died within 7 weeks of each other. Then my brother-in-law died suddenly last April. But the hardest loss I have faced was the death of my dear Tawny only 5 weeks ago from kidney failure at the young age of 2. It has been devastating and the worst pain I can remember in such a long time. BTW-she was a doxie-corgi mix and just adorable and such a good dog. I still have 2 other dogs-also both doxie-corgi mixes from the same parents. They are definitely a comfort, but nothing cam replace my dear Tawny.

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Dear avsqr dancer, (BTW, is that short for an avid square dancer?)

I am so very sorry to hear about your dog Tawny. She was awful young to have kidney failure. That only makes it more of a shock when they pass away! My "Boys" mean so much to me, and always have. They love me unconditionally. I sometimes wish people were that way!

I am going to try to attach a picture of Benny. In this photo, he was 13 years old, and starting to turn grey. He was such a sweetie pie, and wanted nothing more than to please you.

Believe me, I feel your pain when it comes to the loss of your Tawny. I hate to call them "pets", because they are so much more than that. And thank you for your reply to my post.

Take care,

Sincerely, Kim



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Thank you, Kim.

avsqr_dancer actually stands for Antelope Valley (where I hail from) square dancer.

Yes, Tawny was so young and it was a total shock. When I took her to the vet, I figured she might have a bladder infection which would be totally curable with antibotics. We do not know what caused her kidney failure. It could have been genetic, which is scary cuz we have 2 other dogs from the same parents. But the vet said even if it was genetic, it isn't likely that the other 2 would have that same condition, and we do know that the parents and other known puppies from them are fine. Other possibilities were some kind of poison even though we thought we were so careful with her. But you can't watch them every single moment! Anyway, we decided to spend the money trying to treat her rather than possibly finding out what caused it.

What an adorable dog you had! Yes, I totally agree. If only people could give that kind of unconditionally love. The only person who ever gave that to me was my dad and he has been dead for over a year now.

Anyway I wish us both peace and healing in this grief journey.

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Well, I was close on the name! My sister lives in Apple Valley and works at St. Mary's Hospital. Are you familiar with that area or do I have the wrong state?

Are your other puppies the same age as Tawny? or from a different litter? Let's hope it's not genetic! You know, it was probably just a fluke, and won't happen again, like your Vet said. I certainly hope no one poisoned her! I despise people who are cruel to animals.

Thanks for the nice words about Benny. He was one of a kind. So smart, and loving and playful...he was a good boy and I miss him. My husband buried him in the backyard, in a spot where he could still watch over the house and take care of his "family".

Take care and thanks for being there.


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Hi Kim,

I know exactly where Apple Valley is. It is about 50-60 miles east of where we live. So definitely the right state, although I have to admit I didn't think of Apple Valley-when I used av!

One of the dogs is from the same litter, so they were almost constant companions. But the other dog is younger, still a puppy. But these are such great dogs, that is why we ended up with 3 from the same parents. My DH works with the owner, and that is how we first heard of these dogs. And yes, I just have to hope that even if it was genetic, it was still a fluke. I don't even want to think of the possibility of losing the others too young!

Even in Tawny's too short life, she gave me so much joy, and now Tanner and Sweet Pea continue to do so.

Take care.


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Wow I was wondering where the name came from. To all of you, I am sorry for your losses, I totally understand, I don't know what I would do without my dogs. Since my wife died, my golden retriever sleeps on my bed at night, although she isn't a replacement for Karen, it is a comfort having her in my bed when I go to sleep.


I haven't heard from you in awhile or have somehow missed your posts. How have you and your fur babies been doing? I hope all is going well and you have been in my thoughts and prayers.

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Hi Derek,

I was on a trip last week, but I have been posting and reading before that, and of course, I am back now!

I am doing a bit better, slowly! The pain is still there, and I know that I will always miss my dear Tawny, but it does seem to be a bit more manageable. I realized that part of my pain was worry over her even now, where she was?, if she is lonely without us? Is she healthy and happy now? Unfortunately I am not a spiritual person as you appear to be, but I am replacing my negative thoughts (or trying to) with positive thoughts that she is okay, healthy and happy, that even as young as she was because she was ill, she was ready to go, and even trying to imagine that she is with my parents and all their (and my) animals who have passed away already.

I didn't realize that you had lost your wife. I am so sorry, although I know that those words are so little for such a devastating loss. I am glad that you can be there for you son, although I imagine some days are harder then others. When my parents died, my Tanner and Tawny were there to lick away my tears and cuddle close at night. I am glad that you have a furbaby to do that for you too.

All my furbabies are fine and are helping me to heal slowly.

Bless you for taking the time to come to this forum and respond to others in need.

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