Are you re-thinking, over and over again, whether you chose the right time to euthanize your dog? Do you worry that you didn’t try hard enough to find the best possible care for her? Are you blaming yourself for the mistakes you think you made? Perhaps you should have fed her a different diet? Perhaps you should have taken her to the vet sooner? Maybe it was the time you yelled in anger that made her sick, or the time you left her at the kennel where she barked all night. You are not alone. All of us who have deeply loved our dogs experience such doubt and guilt….and, of course, deep sorrow.
Try to focus on all the positive aspects of your relationship with your dog, and give yourself credit for all the good things you did for her. Try to understand that doubting yourself and blaming yourself are normal and natural, but are not rational or realistic. It is 100% certain that you did the very best you could for your dog.
Don’t be reluctant to seek comfort and support in dealing with the grief and guilt you are experiencing. There are many resources you can use. Here are some suggestions:
Pet Loss Hotlines:
Pet loss hotlines tend to come and go, but those listed below have been consistent over time.
Pet Loss Support Hotline, University of California at Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine
The phone number is toll free, 800-565-1526. This program, operated by trained veterinary students, offers compassion and resources to help support owners grieving the loss of a beloved pet. In the process, veterinary students are taught communication skills and compassion that will be invaluable when they enter the profession.
At the Colorado State website you’ll find listings of local resources.
Do an internet search for books on pet loss. You’ll find quite a number of them, and one may strike just the right approach to help get you through a very difficult time.