Jump to content
Grief Healing Discussion Groups

My Carelessness Killed Him


Recommended Posts

I lost my Sheltie of 18 years on Saturday. Like I have done 3-6+ times a day for the last 18 months (I recently moved to this new house), I let him out unattended, even though I live about 30 feet from a highway. He was old, moved slow, and had never gone down the driveway (toward the highway). He hardly ever went 10 feet from the door. I left him unattended because I wanted him to be outside for as long as he liked, not just for a few minutes at a time. He would scratch at the door when he wanted back in. However, a couple days ago, my boyfriend told me he had let out my dog and later found him near the mailboxes, RIGHT next to the highway. We agreed we would watch him from that point forward. We would never let him be out alone. But I was so stupid. Saturday morning, I let him out as usual. I intended to keep an eye on him from inside…but I forgot about him. I forgot about my precious dog.

My dog got hit three houses down the road, much further from the house than he had EVER gone before. He must have walked along the grass lawn first, then wandered into traffic. It would have taken him a while, because he didn't move very fast. If I had remembered him just 5 minutes sooner, I could have saved him. As it was, I was running up to the highway looking for him when he was hit. I can't imagine why he went off like that, or where he thought we was going. I hate myself for what I did to him. I am so sorry and so ashamed. In his prime, he would have never gone into the road, but he had grown confused in old age, and I knew it. He had been going downhill over the last year, and I had been mentally trying to prepare for putting him down, but I never imagined it would be like this. I took him to the vet on Saturday immediately after he was hit, and they advised euthanasia, which I agreed to. It was definitely the right thing to do, considering his injuries. But letting him wander alone outside…the mailbox incident was a warning that I didn't deserve, but even that didn't make a difference. I am so devastated. How can I live with myself, knowing what I did to this sweet old dog who I loved SO much? I always considered myself a great owner to this dog, and he helped me through so many rough points in my life. My family members always said he was living for so long because we loved each other so much. I was maybe 9 years old when I got him, and we went through so much together. He was a big part of my identity, and I was so proud of our connection.

My dear Sheltie deserved so much better than this. Now life is going on as usual all around me, and I just can’t take it. I did something so horrible, and there will never be anything I can do to make amends. I am grieving so much just having lost him, but I know that eventually that grief will fade. He was very old, and we had shared so many great times. And his best years were definitely behind him. But, beyond my grief at his loss, I don't know how I'll be able to bear this guilt for the rest of my life. I had plans to get another dog in the future, after my current dog had passed away, but now it hurts to even think about. Why would a careless owner like me deserve to have another dog?

He would be alive RIGHT NOW, today, if I had been a better owner and caretaker to him. I am so, so sorry... I hate myself so much for this, for taking the life of one of the best things that ever happened to me. I loved him with my whole heart. He needed me to protect him, and I wasn't there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My dear friend, your story is heartbreaking, and I am so sorry this happened to your beloved Sheltie.

I know there is nothing I can say to erase the overwhelming guilt you're feeling now, and I won't begin to try.

I do, however, want to point you to a thread that appeared in this forum a couple of years ago, as I think it contains some posts that you will find helpful: Massive Guilt Over Dog's Death The individual circumstances may differ from your own, but I hope you will take some comfort from the responses you will read there.

I also hope you will follow the links you'll find in the message I posted there:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am so sorry for your loss. When we lose our precious pet it is so devastating to us! You had 18 years with your sweet dog, and you wouldn't likely have had more, I have never had a dog last that long, but I realize that is of little consolation to you right now.

I wish we could all be perfect, with our children, with our pets, but unfortunately, sometimes we make mistakes. I hope eventually you will allot yourself the same understanding and forgiveness you would extend to others. Your sweet sheltie would be the first to forgive you and not hold anything against you. Would you feel any better if it'd happened another way? Probably not. Self reproach won't take away your missing him or change anything ultimately, but I know it's easy to say that and hard to change it. My heart goes out to you, as a fellow pet lover. I wish you the best.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thank you MartyT for the links, and thank you KayC for your kind words. My loved ones keep saying, "Don't blame yourself," but that just isn't helpful. Your words meant so much more. I am to blame, I did do this. But it was a mistake, too. Of course. I never meant for this to happen. I loved my Sheltie more than words - I never thought I was being neglectful, or I would have done better. If I ever get another dog, some day, I will make different decisions. I will do better, and I hope that will allow some small amount of good to come from my precious dog's death. He died on a sunny autumn day at least - the weather just did an about turn, and he would have been shivering like mad from the cold and snow. I hate that this happened to him, but I'm glad his last few days were warm and sunny. Thanks again for your responses - they meant so much to me.

RIP Zack. I am so sorry. I will always love you.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That is all we can do when we feel we've made a bad decision, use it to fuel change and learn from it. Lord knows I've made some bad choices that are irreversible, but all I can do is learn and not repeat it, and warn others so they don't make the same mistake. It is good that you can see a bright side, that it was a nice day so he wasn't cold. He also had you with him and I'm sure that was a comfort. He is safe now and awaits the day he can have that glad reunion with you.

Have you ever heard of the rainbow bridge? I'll look for the link and post it here.


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...