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Broken Heart - The Loss Of My Puppy Indy.


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My family has always included a black and white English springer spaniel in the picture. I suppose I should consider myself lucky that they all lived long and happy lives, but our last girl Indy had hers cut entirely way too short. This is the first time I have ever reached out for any online support, but I am feeling really low and depressed, and maybe this will be the first step to coping.

Two years ago I drove eight hours to pick up little Indy at eight weeks old, she was indeed the cutest out of all of her siblings and grew into her spunky and fearless personality. She loved everything from chasing seagulls into the ocean to going for rides in my dads truck, just as long as she was with us, she was happy.

A couple weeks ago, my dad decided to take her with him to go on his vacation for two weeks. He was hesitant at first because he didn't want anything bad happening to her, but being the lazy 22 year old that I am, I wanted to feel guilt free of going to school/doing whatever I wanted without having her locked up in the house the whole time, so I encouraged him to take her.

He would call and tell me what a great time she's having, until three days before he was supposed to come home, there was an accident. I don't know the full details, and part of me really doesn't want to know, but basically my dad accidentally ran her over. They took her to the vet and the vet thought she was going to be fine, but she didn't make it through the night.

My heart is completely broken, and our house is quiet. She brought everyone together to play and have her chase us around. I am so angry at my dad, myself, god or whoever is out there that didn't let this mistake slide and let her be ok. I wish I would have taken her to the beach every nice day we had, I wish I wouldn't of gotten so irritated at her for chewing a hole in every one of my socks, I wish I would have paid more attention to her, I just wish I could go back and do a million things differently. I am just so hurt and angry, it wasn't fair she didn't get that long and happy life. I just hope she knew how much she was loved, and I would let her chew through a million more pairs of my socks if it meant I could have her back.


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Oh Hon, I know how you are feeling, it's how I felt after I lost my granddoggy, Skye. He chewed a hole in my carpet (pretty good sized) that I can't afford to replace...after he died, I cried out, "Come back, Skye! You can chew the rest of the carpet!" It's how we feel after we lose them.

It's normal to feel angry over her life being cut short, esp. at anyone who could have stopped it from happening. I hope you'll be able to forgive your dad in time, I'm sure he's feeling horrible. It's just very sad.

Your puppy is adorable and I can see why you love her so much. (((hugs)))

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I am so very sorry to learn of the tragic accident that took the life of your beloved Indy, and I can only imagine how painful this must be for you and your entire family. Please accept our deepest sympathy for your loss, and know that we are thinking of you.

It's important that you and everyone else in your family understand that the grief you're feeling now is a normal response to the loss of someone you love. How each of you reacts to the loss of your precious Indy depends not only on how she died, but also on how attached you were to her, on your individual relationship with her, and on the role she played in your lives. I'm sure that, each in your own way, you gave your hearts to this puppy completely, just as she gave her heart to each of you. It's only natural that, when you lose the one you love so much, you feel the overwhelming pain of loss. No matter who or what you love, the greater the love, the worse the pain feels when you lose the object of your love. (See my article, Pet Loss: Is It a Different Kind of Grief?)

As you have said, the circumstances of Indy's death have left you feeling angry with your dad for whatever part he played in this horrific accident, and angry with yourself for letting him take Indy with him in the first place. But at a time like this it's important for all of you to remember that you did not deliberately set out to bring any harm to your beloved pup. Like all the rest of us, your dad is human, terrible accidents do happen, and there was nothing intentional about this at all. As I’ve written elsewhere,

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. Nevertheless, 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. Keep in mind that feelings are neither right or wrong, good or bad. They just are. What really matters is what you do with what you're feeling. 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. Anger is sheer, raw energy, but you can find healthy ways to discharge that energy and channel it – through physical exercise, writing and talking, for example.

Feelings aren't always rational or accurate, either. Feeling angry about the circumstances surrounding Indy's death doesn't mean that your dad is, in fact, an uncaring, irresponsible person who intentionally set out to bring harm to your dog. As I'm sure you know, one of the most wonderful things about our animal companions (unlike humans!) is that they love us unconditionally, they are forgiving of all our human faults, and they never, ever hold a grudge against us. If anyone knew how much she was loved by all of you for the time that she was in your life and a member of your family, surely it was your precious Indy.

In the end, there is nothing anyone can say to erase the load of guilt that your dad may be carrying around right now. Guilt is one of the most common reactions in loss – in situations such as this, it is only human nature to feel guilt for what he may have done or failed to do. If after examining all the facts you all decide that you should have done things differently in this case, then the only thing you can do at this point is to learn from your mistakes and promise yourselves that if you are ever presented with the exact same set of circumstances again, you will do things differently next time.

A sudden, unexpected death like this can teach some valuable lessons about how fragile and temporary life is, and that if we have something to say to someone we had better say it now, because we may never get the chance again to say it. Can you let this be one of Indy's legacies to you – one of the precious life lessons your family can take from this tragic loss? Are there any other lessons here that you may need to learn? Take some time to think about and talk with one another about all of this. It is one of the most important tasks in mourning: to find meaning in this loss.

In any event, my dear, there is nothing any of you can do now to go back and change what has already been done. Instead, to cope with the guilt, you might try to find some way to communicate with Indy's spirit and ask for her forgiveness. That may be by meditating, by writing her a letter and saying all you need to say to her, by finding a quiet place and lighting a candle and speaking to her in your mind – whatever way you choose is up to you. The point of all of this is to find some way to forgive your dad and yourself, to apologize and make amends to the one you believe you have harmed, to learn from your mistakes and to move on.

I’m glad you’ve found your way to this warm and caring place. Sometimes sharing our story enables us to unburden ourselves and to obtain the absolution we may need from others. None of us is perfect; we are all human, we've all made mistakes and we've all done things about which we feel guilty.

It's important that you and your family members take the time needed to grieve this loss of Indy, including the processing of and coming to terms with all that anger and guilt you may be feeling over the circumstances of Indy’s accidental death. Grief takes an enormous amount of energy. There is no specific time frame for grief, and this too may differ for each of you. (See my article, How We Mourn: Understanding Our Differences.)

I hope this information helps, my dear. My heart goes out to you and your family at this sad and difficult time.

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As an animal lover, I want to express my sympathy to you and your family for the loss of your precious Indy.

There isn’t anything I would add to what Marty and Kay have already said to you.

I am still mourning the loss of my energetic, loving Schipperke/Poodle who had seizures and died from a weak heart. It leaves a hole in my heart and by reading what others have had to say, I gain understanding.


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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest Lindseyseven

I'm so sorry for your tremendous loss! We just lost our dog and my heart feels empty. They truly are family and it's devastating when then pass. Your dog is still by your side in spirit! I hand painted a picture of my dog at his favorite beach and even incorporated shells from that beach in the picture. It helps to see him everyday! So sorry for your loss.

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  • 1 month later...

I can really relate to this post. I know you must be feeling tremendous pain & questioning everything. We just lost our 2 yr old doodle yesterday & I have no peace about it. When they die so suddenly like that and so young, it feels impossible to accept. The only thing I can offer to reassure you is that the times you had & the life you provided filled Indys short life with joy & purpose. You were lucky to have each other. Prayers for peace & healing for you and your family.

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