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Pogo Rip


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We lost our beloved Pogo - an adorable Maltipoo - last Tuesday. I have 3 girls who loved that dog as a brother. They had so many nicknames for him and even a special "language" they would speak to him. We had lost power due to Hurricane Irene and there was a significant increase in traffic on our street because a major road had been shut down and traffic re-routed. So, that plus my daughter opened the door to speak to a friend and he saw a dog walking by and ran into the street to see the dog and he was hit by a car. He died instantly - I've been told there wasn't a cry or a yelp. I am grateful he didn't suffer.

I am grieving deeply. I am the mom - the one who was to protect him, the one who fed him and walked him every day. He followed me everywhere and at times this drove me crazy- he would wait by the door and no matter how long I was away I'd see that cute little face in the door waiting for me to come home.

I am now dealing with intense anger. At everything but mostly myself. I know I am being judged by my neighbors for not properly training the dog to stop going crazy when the doorbell rang. My girls had asked me the day before he died if we could get an electric fence so he could come into the front yard when we were out there - we did have a leash out there but I'd either put him in the fenced in backyard or we'd walk w/a leash. I walked him every day twice a day and I miss that special time.

I am angry at my daughter for being irresponsible - she hasn't told me the whole truth about the accident but I've heard from others that she let him out the front door while talking to her friend........she told me he darted between her legs. She saw the whole thing happened and has kind of shut down emotionally. I'd never blame her and we've spent hours talking about this being an accident - nobody is at fault, nobody wanted this to happen - but I am angry at her.

Nothing will bring him back. I take solace in the fact that he lived a very happy and loving life in our home. He got so much attention from the girls and from every person he came into contact with. He was just that kind of endearing dog.

I can't talk out loud about these feelings. My husband is the stoic type and doesn't understand my intense grief. He is getting angry at me for not just moving on and upsetting the girls if I cry.

I am so sad. I miss my little guy. I didn't protect him, I didn't train him properly and I have to deal with that for the rest of my life.

thank you for listening/reading.

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My dear Kelly,

My heart goes out to you as I read your tragic story ~ I'm so sorry for the loss of your precious Pogo. It reminds me so much of the time many years ago when my beloved cockapoo Muffin escaped from our backyard because someone (the yard man? one of our teen-aged sons? my husband? ~ I will never know the answer to that question) left the gate open. Chasing yet another rabbit across yet another highway, Muffin was hit by a car. Someone found him in a ditch by the side of the road, checked his collar and tags, and telephoned the tragic news to us. Xrays by the vet confirmed that his back was broken, his spinal cord severed. He couldn't stand; he had no bowel or bladder control; he was moaning in pain. There was no saving him. After making the unbearably painful decision to euthanize him, our entire family gathered in the treatment room, holding him and each other as he was injected. He died quietly in my arms. We wrapped his lifeless body in a blanket and took him home. I held him for hours afterward, rocking him, petting him, memorizing his beautiful face, crying and saying goodbye. At the time, I, too, was very angry: at whomever was responsible for leaving the gate unlatched; at the person whose vehicle hit my dog; at God for letting this happen to my cherished companion; even at my other dog for not being the one who died (I was not as attached to her as I was to Muffin) ~ the list went on and on. Over time I learned that anger is one of the most common reactions in grief, and the other is guilt. I felt plenty of that, too.

Obviously you loved your Pogo beyond words, and did everything you could to take good care of him. There is nothing I can say to lift the burden of guilt you're carrying around with you right now, except to tell you that what you're feeling is normal under the circumstances you describe. I do want to refer you to some resources that I hope will help. Regarding guilt, here are the articles I hope you will read:

Loss and the Burden of Guilt

Am I Crazy to Feel So Sad about This?

Breaking the Power of Guilt

As for the anger you're feeling now, I want to remind you that the feelings we have when we are in crisis are often irrational and unjustified, but they are there nonetheless. We are all human, and we cannot always control how we feel in a given situation. Certainly we can control how we behave, how we act, how we respond to what we are feeling, but oftentimes the feelings we have are just there, whether we want them to be or not – and in and of themselves, they are neither good or bad, right or wrong – they just are. At times like this, I suggest that you judge yourself not on what you are feeling, but on what you do with what you are feeling.

Anger is a powerful emotion that can be frightening, but feeling angry doesn't necessarily imply that you will lose control or take your anger out unfairly on others. But before you can get through it, let go of the intense emotions attached to it and move on, your anger must be admitted, felt and expressed, if only to yourself. When you simply acknowledge feelings of anger to yourself or to a trusted other without actually doing anything about them, no harm is done, to you or to anyone else. On the other hand, if you suppress that anger and hold on to it, eventually you may explode, turn it inward and get depressed, or aim it at innocent others. Better to find ways to discharge the energy of your anger through physical exercise, writing and talking.

In hopes that it will help, I'm pasting into this message the following article:


Anger usually makes you think of hard times and hurtful things. You may think of anger as bad, but it's really a very helpful and useful feeling. Anger acts as an internal thermometer or a gauge that tells you when something in your life is off balance. When things don't turn out the way you think they should, your natural response is to get angry. When you get angry, your feelings are telling you that something in your life needs attention.

I think getting mad comes when you get something you don't want or you don't get something you really do want. When somebody you care about dies, you hurt, you feel pain, you miss them, and there is nothing you can do to bring them back. Part of this frustration comes out as anger.

• You may be angry at your loved one for dying.

• You may be angry at the doctors.

• You may be angry at God for allowing this to happen.

• You may be mad at family members who grieve differently.

• You may be mad at friends who don't understand.

• You may be angry at yourself for not feeling better more quickly, and/or for things you did or said or didn't say.

Anger makes energy. That can be good or bad. If you use anger to hurt yourself or others, your anger becomes a negative. For example, if you intentionally hurt someone's feelings out of anger, then chances are they will feel bad and so will you. It may make you feel better for a few minutes, but this feeling usually doesn't last.

Angry energy also can have good effects. Anger can push you to change things. You may say "Enough of this!" and find ways to move or better ways of coping. You can let your anger out in healthy ways, like writing, drawing, exercise, talking, screaming, punching a pillow, or even crying. Be creative!

Anger that is not expressed builds up inside. If your anger builds up, it can come out in spurts, like

• Messing up a class because you feel mad at a teacher.

• Exploding and hitting someone.

• Yelling at someone you don't even know.

Anger is like cement – if it sits inside of you, it can harden and become hard to break. That can make you bitter, or you can become so angry and frustrated that you no longer care. Don't let that happen to you!

When you feel angry, try:

• running

• hitting your bed with a tennis racket or a towel

• turning up your stereo and yelling really loud

• talking to someone who cares about you

• Use your anger instead of letting your anger use you.

[source: "When Death Walks In," in HopeLine Newsletter, February 2005, www.hopeforbereaved.com, hope@dreamscape.com]

You might also consider looking to other resources to help you through this sad and difficult time, Kelly. Your local library, veterinarian, pet groomer or pet supply store may know what, if any, pet loss support services are available in your community. If you cannot find any pet loss services in your city or town, see Moira Allen's Pet Loss Support Page for a state-by-state listing of pet loss counselors and support groups. There are also pet loss telephone helplines such as those listed on the Helplines ~ Message Boards ~ Chats page of my Grief Healing Web site. Internet chat rooms and discussion forums such as this one serve the same purpose.

I also suggest that you spend some time reading some of the articles I've posted on my own Grief Healing Web site, because the more you understand about the normal grief process, the less "crazy" you will feel, the more you will know what to expect and the better able you will be to handle your own reactions to Pogo's death. (See my site's Pet Loss Articles page.) See also my Comfort for Grieving Animal Lovers page, which contains dozens of beautiful, uplifting writings by many other noted authors and poets. You might also go to your library or local bookstore (or to Amazon.com) to find and read the accounts of others who have been through similar experiences. (See the Books about Pet Loss section of my Articles ~ Columns ~ Books page for those I've read and personally recommend.) Such accounts will reassure you that you are normal, will give you some idea of what's ahead and what you can expect in grief, and can give you hope that you can survive this loss.

No one can take away the pain of losing your beloved Pogo, Kelly, but you need not bear the burden of it all by yourself. You are not alone.

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