Registered: 1495118168 Posts: 13
I am new here and this is a difficult post for me to make...but I have seen so many others on this site being so kind, compassionate and supportive. So I think this could be a safe place for me to talk about what has happened and maybe find some unexpected support and comfort from all the amazing fellow pet lovers on this site. Last week, I lost my sweet Bear in a car accident. As I think many of you will understand, he was so much more to me than my dog. He truly was my best friend, my baby, my angel. My parents have had dogs my whole life, but he was my own. My first and only baby. We truly were two peas in a pod. My sister always said he was the dog version of me...he was everything to me and we truly had a special, one of a kind connection. I loved him with everything I had, even more than I ever thought was possible, and he loved me just the same. He came everywhere with me - to work, to my friends houses, to all the different parks in my town. We explored everywhere and did everything together. And he loved car rides so much, he was so obsessed with sticking his head out the window getting all those sniffs (he was a Springer Spaniel btw). But last week, on May 10, 2017, I had the most horrific day of my life. Bear and I were at work and had to run an errand. Just a normal day in the life of Morgan and Bear, one second my little copilot is sitting in my passenger seat, but the next I am smashing my vehicle into the back of a large tractor. It was a bad crash and there are no words to describe the horror of looking up and seeing what was about to happen a split second before it does. The rest of what happened is such a painful whir, but in the end, I came out of that crash almost entirely unscathed...and my sweet, sweet baby was dead. He did not die in the crash, there he was on the floor of the passenger seat, just looking up at me. Firefighters got him out of my car and into my sister's where we rushed him to the vet. The entire time I only had one focus- I'm going to take care of him. I'm going to take care of you baby, I will fix this. But then the vet came into the room and told me that my Bear suffered a broken neck. He could not move anything below his neck, and he was having trouble breathing. There was nothing we could do...except say goodbye. There are no words, nothing to express the shock and pain of hearing this. All that time, I had never even considered the possibility that he might not make it. Maybe my brain blocked it out because my only focus was taking care of him and getting him better. The vet brought him into the room for me to say goodbye while she euthanized him. I sobbed into him, all I could say was I love you and I'm so so sorry, sorry again and again and again. And then I was back home, no more than 2 hours after the crash, my entire world turned upside down. I am dealing with the pain of his absence, I miss him so so much. My heart aches, my soul is shattered. There are split seconds where I instinctively turn my head to see if he is following me (because he pretty much followed my every step). I think about him all the time. I talk to him sometimes when I'm alone in the car. It is harder than I ever could have imagined. But what makes this even harder, which is the main reason for this post, is the crippling guilt I feel. I am at fault for the accident. I caused it, which means I am the reason he is dead. I feel like I killed my baby, and I truly don't know if I will ever be able to forgive myself. It kills me inside because I failed him. I was the one person who was supposed to take care of and protect him, and I failed him. He was the most pure, innocent soul and there was nothing but good in that little guy. He deserved so much more than that, he was only 5. And he did not deserve to suffer such a horrific death. The vet told me he couldn't feel anything because of the broken neck, but even so, I can't stop thinking about how terrified he must have been - he couldn't move, he was paralyzed, for all that time. And I did this to him. I understand that it was an accident, and accidents happen. But I still can't hide from the fact that even though it was not intentional, I still did it. Me. And even beyond the accident itself, I think, how could I be so ignorant to think that I could take him in the car with me everywhere and this would never happen? He didn't wear a seatbelt, there was nothing there to hold his poor little body back. And there are even doggy seatbelts available, but I never had one for him. So how could I be so stupid??? How could I do this to him? I had his life in my hands and I couldn't keep him safe. I don't know how I will ever be able to let this go. I could go on forever, but thank you for listening to me for this long. I wish everyone here all the best as you deal with your own grief and possibly even guilt. We must remember to keep the memories of our beloved babies alive forever and that they will always live on in our hearts.
Registered: 1494178254 Posts: 50
Please don't beat yourself up over this! Most of the people I see driving with their dogs, myself included, don't use doggy seatbelts. I usually held my little dog on my lap while my brother's lab was in the back. My brother's dog did fall off the seat once and twisted his leg when we had to slam on the breaks during an evacuation. We felt terrible that he injured himself but we couldn't change what had happened. And even now we still don't have a seatbelt for him since we rarely take him in the car anymore due to his old age. My point is, most people don't expect something to happen and are unprepared when something eventually does. My family was certainly unprepared when my brother's dog got injured in the car. That doesn't make what happened any less of an accident in my situation or in yours. You are not at fault here. You shouldn't blame yourself for what happened because Bear wouldn't want you to. Dogs don't hold grudges. They will always forgive us and love us no matter how many mistakes we make. Bear loved you. Don't let negative emotions taint the love you and him shared.
Anyway... I'm sorry for your loss, but know that you are not alone. While the circumstances are different, I lost my best friend of 15 years to lymphoma two weeks ago. The emptiness I still feel inside is indescribable. The world seems less bright without her in it. I sometimes wonder if maybe I could have extended her life by getting a second opinion from a different vet but in my heart I know that's just wishful thinking. Her time with me was up. I know your pain all too well. My heart goes out to you.
Registered: 1494870263 Posts: 22
I'm sorry for you loss. Tomorrow, it will be one week since we lost our sweet boy. I am still looking around half expecting him to be there and half agonizing over the fact that he isn't there. He was my baby.
One thing that has helped me is to think about what a wonderful life I gave him. He was only 8, but I know he had more love and affection and adventure in those years than many dogs have in 12 or 15. He knew he was loved and I knew I was loved.
Registered: 1458615463 Posts: 45
I'm so so sorry for your loss and I felt the pain you are going through reading your heartbreaking words. You have suffered a great loss with losing your Bear and you need to allow yourself time in the next few days, weeks & months to mourn and try and process your loss and and grief. I related so much with what you are going through because I lost my dog Billy just over a year ago due to a car accident and your words are so similar to how I was feeling at the time & still do to a large degree.
Like you I felt a huge sense of letting my boy down but please I know it's hard but Bear wouldn't blame you for what happened and he knew you loved him with all your heart. I wish I could tell you it will get easier in time but it doesn't it will just somehow be easier to live with the loss. I went into a deep sense of shock when I lost Billy and I'm sure you are feeling that now with Bear, it's the loss of unconditional love that is so hard to live with and accept.
Something that helped a great deal in the early stages was coming on this site and reading how others dealt with loss & also I received some lovely, supportive and caring messages from people which was a comfort in the most lonely times of the day and night when the grief was so immense it almost felt like I had died inside. Your grief at losing Bear is going to feel like you are living in a dream you can't wake up from and also like someone has reached inside of you and ripped out your heart but all that is normal I promise you. The love it sounds like you & Bear shared was very special and it will take a great deal of time I'm sorry to say to adjust to your new normal.
All I can advise you at this point is what helped me and I would say this site was my first support system followed by the Samaritans who were amazing 24hrs a day when I was overcome with grief. I'm not sure what country you are in but I'm sure there is a 24hr anonymous helpline in your country. I found talking to trained people who didn't know me a great help as friends & family can come across as not understanding all the time or would say something that was not intended to hurt but did regardless such as getting another dog!! That really hurt as my Billy like your Bear is irreplaceable. Something that really helped was a website called gonetoosoon where you can create a online memorial and people can add gifts, candles & lovely messages. Like this site I have found it an amazing way to feel understood. Our stories are so similar apart from the actual accident so it might be worth looking at my old posts and looking at the advice given to me as it was amazing at the time.
Something you said in your post which really resonated with me was the sense of letting Bear down, I understand that emotion and it is something that I struggle with still but please let me tell you Bear knew you loved him & I know would say thank you if he could for making him feel loved in his life and always looking after him. The love you both shared will never go away and you will always have your happy memories with you inside. I wish I could help you and somehow ease your pain but unfortunately you will need to go through this grief which is yours uniquely. Please think at the end Bear had his special human with him and he knew you were there for him in his last moments. That is very special and I hope you remind yourself lots that you gave Bear an amazing life. Please feel free to message me whenever you like and I will always try and get back to you quickly. Try and eat something nutritious and take care of yourself these next weeks, you have been through one of the most traumatic things a person can go through.
Registered: 1491950348 Posts: 119
Please don't blame yourself. You obviously loved your little buddy and I'm sure he knew it and loved you too.
Registered: 1495118168 Posts: 13
Thank you all so, so much for your kind, sincere and supportive words. You are all such beautiful and compassionate souls to take the time out of your day to respond to my post and try to help me work through this. I have always thought that pet lovers are the best kind of people and this site has certainly confirmed that.
Wander, thank you for sharing your own experience with me. I know that I am not the only one who drove around with my dog unrestrained, but it is so hard not to hate myself now for turning a blind eye to the risks. So thank you for reminding me that I am not alone. And thank you also for reminding me that Bear would not want me to feel guilty...he would never blame me for it, he would love me all the same. True, unconditional love. I am so sorry to hear of your loss and the heart ache you are experiencing. She and you were best friends for 15 years so I can't imagine how hard it was to let go. I hope you can find light and joy in life again someday soon. BoxerMom, I am so sorry for the loss of your baby. 8 years old is far too soon... I can relate to what you said about looking around and expecting him to be there. It is like for that quick moment, you forget, but then the next moment you remember and the blow of pain and sorrow hits all over again. But thank you so much for bringing up focusing on the great life we did give our babies. As guilty as I feel for what happened, I can't deny that I gave my baby boy a wonderful, happy life full of adventures and love. We were only given 2 years together, but in that time I did everything I could to make that little guy the happiest dog he could be (because he SO deserved it!) And that helps me feel good about myself for a change. ILoveYouBitty, thank you for reminding me that he did know I loved him...even in those horrible final moments, I hope and (deep down) I believe that he still knew I loved him, and did not intentionally hurt him, and that he still loved me too just as he did before. Mark, I cannot thank you enough for your message. Everything you said really resounded with me; you touched on so many things that I have been feeling and needed to hear, so thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am so sorry to hear you lost your Billy in a car accident as well. It is so tragic and shocking and there truly are no words for the horror and pain of getting your baby ripped from you in that way. Car accidents are terrifying - they could happen anywhere, at any instant, so of course our little dogs are always at risk when they ride with us. I am so sorry you had to experience this, because I know how hard it is...but I am so glad you decided to write to me, because it somehow helps me feel a little less alone in this. It really is the main reason I posted...I have an amazing support system but nobody truly understands what I am going through. They say things like they are so thankful I am ok, and I get why they might feel that way, but I'm not there yet. How could I be thankful to be ok when the price I paid was Bear's life? I know this isn't the "right" way to think, but I think you understand what I mean, and that really, really helps. I'm sorry to hear you are still feeling some of these feelings a year later, but I think I will be there with you. I honestly don't think I will ever fully let go of the guilt, but rather it will just be something that I learn to live with and maybe someday can make peace with it - which is what I hope for you. I am so thankful that I stumbled across this site - it truly is a beautiful place. Even though we are all strangers, we have something in common and can relate to each other on an entirely different level. While it is sad to see so many in such pain, it is also comforting to not feel alone. To feel like somebody actually understands. You hit the nail on the head when you said it feels like a dream that I can't wake up from, and that I will need time to adjust to my new normal, and that my grief is uniquely mine. Also, thank you for sharing that other site with me. I really appreciate you offering to share your story and share the advice given to you at the time. I will hold on to those happy memories as tight as I can, and never forget the love Bear and I shared. I really was his special human, just like he was my special doggo. Thank you again Mark, your words mean more than I can express.
Registered: 1490711741 Posts: 154
Darling, it was an accident. You said it yourself. An ACCIDENT. Bad things happen! You did nothing intentional to hurt your baby!! Please do not beat yourself up over this! My heart breaks at the thought of you torturing yourself over this.
Grief alone is hard enough to deal with; pour a heaping helping of this guilt on top of it and it will be insurmountable. You did nothing intentional! It was an accident! Bad things happen every day to everyone, all over the world. We have don't nothing to cause it, we have done nothing to bring it upon ourselves. They just...happen. I am so VERY SORRY for the terrible and horrific loss you have had to endure. I will not deny that what happened was awful. It was. It is. I am so sorry. But you cannot destroy yourself with this grief. Please come back to the board and talk with us about this. Please, do not beat yourself up about this and do not blame yourself. Please, I beg of you.
Registered: 1495118168 Posts: 13
Nefret999, thank you for your message. I know in my head that it was an accident and blaming myself does not do any good, it's just so hard to get my heart to follow. Bear was everything to me, I would have done absolutely anything for him. I was going to give him such a happy, long and full life. It is so crushing that instead, he died so horribly at my hands.
I’ve been doing all right coping with the grief. As I’m sure most of you understand though, it is so hard and I feel so alone. The pain is with me all the time. There is no true joy in life right now, only small moments of happiness sprinkled in the pit of sorrow. It’s been almost 3 weeks now, so life has continued on around me. Bear’s death is just a part of the past for everyone else – except me. It is as real and painful as ever for me. But it’s gotten to that point where I feel the need to hide my pain because I don’t want to make others uncomfortable. Life is busy and I’m distracted often. Which is good, but at the same time I sometimes feel like I’m not giving Bear’s absence and his death the attention it deserves. I’m out and about, being social and trying to live life with a smile on my face, but inside all I want to do is go home, pull out my photo album of Bear, and cry. I still desperately want to spend all of my time devoted to Bear, even though he is no longer here.
I had a particularly upsetting experience over the weekend. I was talking with an old family friend who happens to be very religious. He told me that I should be thankful to be alive – that God kept me here for a reason. That maybe Bear’s death was to serve as a message to me, because maybe I’ll do something great someday, like save a human’s life. Bear was just a dog after all. Just a dog, he told me multiple times. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Now I did not have a religious upbringing, but I consider myself a very open-minded person. If anything, Bear’s death made me interested in turning to religion more than ever because just the thought of the possibility that we could be together again makes me happier than anything else possibly could. But this conversation really upset me… Bear did NOT die for a reason, he was NOT some sort of sacrifice to keep me alive or for the greater good. He was NOT supposed to die, and he sure as hell was NOT just a dog. Bear died because of a horrible and tragic accident that I caused. He was far more than a dog, he was my best friend, my baby, my angel. My EVERYTHING. It’s so hard to sit there and listen to these people say these things, and ask me when I’m going to get another dog, because how could they even think these things, let alone say them to me??? Because they truly just do not get it. For them, maybe their dogs really are just dogs. Maybe running out and replacing their dog right away does the trick for them, but not for me. Bear was so much more than that.
Registered: 1494178254 Posts: 50
Ever since my Flower passed, I've been waiting for someone to tell me that she was "just a dog" and I should replace her. Thankfully that hasn't happened... yet. But I understand how you feel. Flower wasn't "just a dog" to me. She was my best friend. We grew up together as sisters. I considered her part of the family just like my human mother and brother. I know it's hard to hear someone say such a thing about your beloved pet, but honestly... I feel sorry for these people. Sorry that they have never known the deep bond between animal and human. My dog was a better friend to me than most of my human friends, so these people are missing out on what could be the best friendship they may ever have. And I get what you're saying about religion. I'm not religious myself but the chance to see Flower again is comforting.
I'm really sorry about your Bear and I'm sorry that you had to hear someone devaluing him. Bear was not "just a dog" to you, the one who loved him. Just because our pets can't speak and are not of the same species doesn't mean that they are less precious to us. There were times when I forgot that Flower wasn't human and I'm sure many others have felt the same way. Even if nobody else understands your pain, the people on this site will. Stay strong.
Registered: 1458615463 Posts: 45
Reading your last post I thought I would quickly mail you. I'm sorry you had to hear those horrible words "just a dog" Bear wasn't just a dog he was your security, your love and your home. I too was told those words and it feels awful. People who say it or who ask when your getting another dog aren't being intentionally hurtful they just haven't had the pleasure that we have of having unconditional love.
I know how you feel by saying you cannot believe that what happened to Bear was meant to be for a reason, I too was told this with my Billy and it made me furious to hear it. I don't believe things are destiny either I just think horrible things happen to good people sometimes and it sucks. Bear spent 5yrs with you where he had a life filled with love and adventure so please try to forgive yourself, I promise you Bear wouldn't blame you, he loved you and would want you to forgive yourself. I always say about Billy he had an amazing life but a horrible death. I know it's hard not to keep going over that last awful day but try and think of all the car rides you shared in those 5yrs, all the adventures you shared together. It sounds to me from reading your posts that you gave Bear more in 5yrs than a lot of dogs receive in a lifetime and he would thank you for all that love he received.
Forgiveness comes in time Morgan I promise but it's a process that is different for everyone.
Take care X
Registered: 1403126300 Posts: 377
Your story brought tears to my eyes :'( I'm so sorry you had to lose your buddy in these such horrible way. I have to agree with everyone else please don't be hard on yourself because like you are saying it was only an accident. You didn't mean to cause these horrible thing to happened to your buddy. sometimes things just arise when we least expect them in the most horrible ways we could even imagine. Base on your words I'm able to feel that you have a loving heart and you had everything to give to your baby. I know your baby is not blaming you for what had happened he knew that you gave him everything such as love, protection, and a loving home. It broke my heart so much to read that your poor little baby had a broken neck and couldn't move nothing from he's whole body.. You did a good thing by rushing him to a vet and trying to save he's life that means you were a loving parent and cared for him. Unfortunately their was nothing you could of done to help your baby out if he was already in pain I'm so sorry I never have experience something like putting one of my babies down that must feel awful.. It hurts me to read that many fur-babies are not making it and have to be put down I wish their was something I could do in order to prevent this from happening.. I have no words and all I could tell you in your case is that you are not alone you have us. everyone in here is very kind and supportive and is always able to lend you and ear including myself.. We also have a chat-room here where you are able to talk with other people whenever we need it. One thing that help me with my grief was calling grief counselors over the phone and talking with them help me a lot. Every person that talked with me was able to offer me there most sincere sympathy and they sent me cards, information on how to cope with the loss of my beloved baby... As the time went by I started to feel a bit better and I was able to continue with my life, but that doesn't mean I was forgetting about my baby because I still remember her all the time and it makes me cry a lot when I just think on the horrible way I lost her. I never had experience a pet loss before and ever since I rescued my baby kitten continues pet losses I been experience and it just hurts me. Right now I just lost 2 of my baby puppies and it makes me sad and everything is coming back all over again.. I'm sorry if I was not much of a help to you but I just hope that you are able to remember all the wonderful memories you had with your Bear and someday whenever you are ready they are able to turn into happy memories that you are going to treasure forever in your heart. Much love and peace to you in these terrible moment you are going through take care.
Registered: 1497671799 Posts: 2
I am so so so soooooooo sorry for ur loss..he knew how much u loved him...at least u were with him when he passed...mine ran away n the neighbor found her after she passed...my heart truly breaks for u
Registered: 1495118168 Posts: 13
Thank you all so much for your kind and supportive words. I can't express how much it means to me to not feel quite so alone on this website... the grief is such an isolating feeling. I don't really talk about it with anyone in my life anymore, because I feel like they think I should be over it. It's been 6 weeks today, so of course "life goes on." And I am going on, because that's what we have to do, but nobody understands or even knows what I am still going through every single day. Not a day has passed yet that I haven't cried for him. It hasn't gotten better with time, if anything it's only gotten worse. I feel so alone, like nobody does or even could understand what I am going through. My heart aches, sometimes I feel like I can literally feel the pain in my heart. I used to feel so, so guilty for what happened to Bear. And I still do - I'm the one who crashed the car, which is why he died. So of course I am guilty of his death. But I've stopped obsessing about it so much...the guilt has been replaced with only the feeling of missing him. That's all I really feel now, the sorrow and how deeply I miss him. Everything about him. I miss him. I could say it over and over and over again and it would never be enough. I miss him so unbelievably much.
Life is dark without him. I still go to work, and hang out with my friends, boyfriend and family. But I'm just going through the motions. I used to be a very active person, because I would take Bear EVERYWHERE. It was our thing. We would explore every park and trail in our area and just walk and walk and enjoy the outdoors. Now, I can't even bring myself to do that. Anytime I'm at a park, or walking on a trail, I have to hold back tears because all I can think about is how much he should be there. Bear SHOULD be here. He should be, but he isn't, and I hate it. I have every minute of it. So I don't walk anymore. I don't really want to do much of anything anymore...sometimes I just don't feel like I have the energy to put on a smile all night and be social, so I stay home instead. It's summertime now, and normal me would be taking advantage of the beautiful weather, making the most of life. But now, I just don't have the heart to do it. And I know that I'm not taking care of myself.. I am way less active than I used to be, because that used to be OUR thing. And I can't bring myself to do it without him. It feels so wrong. And I know this, I know all I need to do is force myself to do these things, but I can't. I don't want to. I just don't even care. And I haven't admitted this to anyone in my life, because I know they would try to push me. And I don't even want that right now. Super twisted, I know. I've never been like this before...and I just don't see how I will ever be myself again. Bear Bear - my best friend, my baby, my angel. I miss you with every fiber of my being, with every moment that passes. I love you today, tomorrow and forever.
Registered: 1495118168 Posts: 13
I found myself on this Sunday morning back on this website after years of being away. I don't have much to say, not anything that I haven't already said over and over. But I wanted to post even just for my own record, as I believe I will come back to this page from time to time for many years to come. I find it interesting how many times in my posts on this page in the weeks and months following Bear's death, that I mention that I don't know how I will ever be myself again. How I don't think I will ever be the same. It is interesting to me how even then, blinded and debilitated by grief, I knew. I knew, inside me, the gravity of that experience. It changed me, forever, and I knew it from the very moment the vet told me there was no hope for him. I'll never be able to truly put it into the right words, but I just felt inside of me that this was something that I would not survive. At least, not the person I was.
I lost Bear when I was 23, and I am now about to turn 26. I have yet to "come back" from this. I have struggled with anxiety and depression since, which is something I never had to experience before. I used to be a genuinely, truly to the core, happy person. I was an optimist, people from all different parts of me life called me "sunshine" - it was just who I am. I was young, happy, excited about life. And I lost all of that. I try, I have tried so hard, to be that person again. But I just can't. It is one of the most hopeless, defeating feelings, but I just. can't. I am not that person anymore. I feel years and years and years older, weighed down by so much pain, guilt, grief, sadness.... I lost my youth, I lost my natural joy in life, and now everything is just... hard. And I feel so tired. Nobody in my life understands this. I tried therapy and she didn't understand either. I don't expect anybody to understand, because nobody can ever truly understand the depth of my connection with Bear. It is just something I have accepted, and it is something I don't talk about anymore. Which is what I think ultimately brought my back here on this sunny Sunday morning.
Registered: 1583705300 Posts: 4
I'm so sorry. I can't know the depth of your loss and pain, as it is as individual as a fingerprint. I can say that I am one of those people who never really gets over the loss of a soul-pet.
Since my husband passed 2 years ago, I have learned a lot more about grief than anyone ever wants to know. One thing we widows talk about and agree on is that you will never be the same person you were before the loss. Why can't that also be true when a soul-pet dies? We talk about a "new normal" because nothing will ever be normal like it was before the loss. So I would say to you, don't try to be the person you were before. You are forever changed. You were changed when your beloved Bear came into your life. You are changed because he is gone. I hope you can move forward to a new normal with less sadness. We never "get over" the loss. We do our best to get through it. Hopefully on the other side we find some happiness, if we give it a place to live in our lives. I've been absent from here for a few years also. Maybe I'm here on this (dreary) Sunday for a reason. Sending hugs.