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Are You Punishing Yourself for Your Pet’s Death?

  •    September 12, 2019
  •    Karen Anderson
  • 4034 Views


We are quick to blame ourselves when a pet dies

 

It is not uncommon to blame ourselves for our pet’s death even if they died from natural causes. Grief brings about all kinds of painful thoughts of what we could have done or should have done to prevent their death. Our thoughts surface immediately and point the blame directly at us.

  • – I should have sensed something was wrong
  • – I should have been more diligent with their medicine
  • – I should have taken them to the vet sooner
  • – I could have been a better caretaker

 

When Accidents Happen…

Our ego wants to control that which we have no control over especially when accidents happen. We punish ourselves relentlessly and run the fateful scenario through our minds for days, weeks, or longer. Each time the pain goes deeper like a dagger plunging into your heart.

 

You may experience physical symptoms, insomnia, and depression.

It is a challenging and difficult time that none of us want to endure.

The key to releasing the stabbing pain of guilt is to practice releasing your ego

To understand how to release ego we have to have a clear understanding of what ego is. There are many definitions in the psychological arena and in the spiritual sense but here is an example:

 

Your ego is often defined as whatever comes to your mind when you think of yourself

The psychological definition includes your ideas about yourself, your beliefs, ideologies, social affiliations, desires, fears, and much more.

The spiritual definition includes a veil of thought that separates you from who you really are.

You are more than your body, more than your beliefs, more than your image.

You are a mighty and powerful spiritual being capable of anything you set your intention on accomplishing.

Am I normal to feel this way?

We instinctively search for answers or judge our actions when a pet dies. We are their caretakers and it is our job to make sure they are healthy and safe at all times. When something tragic happens we make ourselves the focus of everything that we feel went wrong. We start the cycle of guilt and we regret everything we did or didn’t do on the day of the incident. Our anger, pain, or blame can also be directed at the veterinarian, our loved ones, or even the pet that died.

Ego takes over our thoughts and we start a cycle of self-punishment

 

  • – We think, “I am guilty so therefore I should suffer…”
  • – Suffering gives us control (ego again)  over a situation we feel is out of control.
  • – We can’t get our pet back but we can continue to punish ourselves.

 

Is your ego in control of your thoughts?

To determine if your ego is in control ask yourself these questions:

 

  • Did you set out that day to harm your pet?
  • Did you intentionally set the stage for events to happen as they did?
  • Did you do everything in your power to end your pet’s life?
  • Did you willingly kill them either by your hand or by some other object?

 

If the answer is no then you are not responsible for their death.

Even if you knew in the back of your mind that you shouldn’t have done what you did that is ego trying to stay in the driver’s seat of your thoughts.

You are a victim of unfortunate circumstances brought about by an unplanned series of events.

You are no more responsible for your pet’s death then you are their birth

You spend your entire life caring for your pet. You have fed, bathed, clipped, medicated, hugged, loved, and snuggled with that pet and done everything in your power to give them a wonderful and loving home.

You are not an evil person deserving of punishment…

 

Ego is driving your guilt so it can stay in control of your life. When you release your ego, you release all the guilt associated with events that are unintentional.

You never intended to harm your pet nor did you wake up that day and decide to unlatch the gate which they escaped from.

You didn’t place them in front of the vehicle that hit them, nor did you place the poison/toxin in their mouth to ingest.

 

 

The more appropriate expression of your feelings may sound like this:

  • – I am angry at myself for leaving the gate unlatched.
  • – I am angry at myself for not taking my pet to the vet sooner.
  • – I am angry at myself for letting my pet off-leash or out of my sight
  • – I am sad and lonely and I miss the life we shared

When you place the blame on yourself you place yourself in a state of eternal punishment and nothing will convince you that you are not guilty.

This endless circle of blame envelopes every thought and paralyzes your happiness.

You continually feel bad about the incident and the circle of devastation continues.

What can I do to release ego and pain?

You can start by saying these three simple words:

“I forgive myself.”

 

Feeling guilty does not serve you or your departed pet.

 

You can change your path of self-punishment

Positive affirmations allow you to shift your perspective and begin the journey into healing.

Say them often and say them out loud.

Be patient. It takes time to work through grief.

Post little notes around your home or in your car.

Only you can change your thoughts and stop punishing yourself…

 

 

 

If you aren’t ready to say these words out loud, ‘I am not guilty for the death of my pet,’ then it may be time to seek professional help from a certified grief counselor.

Be gentle with yourself.

If an accident happened you are a victim of unfortunate circumstances

You suffered a loss

You deserve love

Don’t allow your guilt to extinguish your life – You deserve to live a full and happy life

After conducting thousands of afterlife sessions with departed pets not one time has a pet told me that their human caretaker was responsible for their death. Nor have they said their life was ended too soon. The majority of pets say they were ready to go sooner than later as we tend to keep them here longer for our own sake.

Our self-punishment is completely unnecessary and only fuels our ego to continue to torture our soul.

 

You are a wonderful, caring, loving pet parent and your pet loves you and knows you would never harm them.

Start your journey into healing now…Say these words, “I forgive myself…and set myself free.”

 

 

 

If you can relate to this topic or have a story you’d like to share please comment below.

I read every post and appreciate the time you take to share your experience with me.

Please SHARE this post with others who are in a cycle of guilt. 

With love and light,

Karen

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Karen Anderson is the CEO and founder of Animal Communication Planet, an intuitive and spiritual growth center, and Boom! Business is Booming, a personal development center for entrepreneurs to launch their dream business.  She is also an award-winning Afterlife Expert and coach with over 23 years of experience helping clients just like you start their Animal Communication journey.  Karen is an award-winning and #1 international bestselling author of ‘The Amazing Afterlife of Animals’ and ‘Hear All Creatures’. Karen offers signature coaching programs and a private Facebook group for women entrepreneurs, BOOM! Business is Booming!. Karen and her husband reside on a 30-acre farm in the Inland Pacific Northwest with the animals they love.
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Comments:46

  1. Thank you for this email, Karen. Even though we’ve reached out to my beloved cat, Shady, and he seems so happy, I still beat myself up about his passing. I could definitely relate to the “what if’s”: I sought too aggressive treatment for him; I had noticed sooner he was off; my anxiety about his sudden illness contributed to his demise and on and on and on. I will take your advice to heart and follow your suggestions so that I can resolve this blame game or at least begin the long road to doing so. Thank you for your advice, Karen, it is invaluable. <3

    1. I’ve done the same thing, Linda. Before I found out how it never crosses our pet’s minds nor do they mention it during a session. They just don’t see it the same way we do. Thank you for sharing and I’m so sorry for your loss. I’m sure Shady knows you love him to the moon and beyond and would have done anything to keep him healthy and here on Earth longer. xoxo

  2. Thank you for this insightful article. I have been beating myself up since June 19, 2018, when, into our 2nd day of vacation our housesitter calls and says something is very wrong with our seemingly very healthy 8-year old golden retriever, Sammie Jo.

    Long story short she died unexpectedly that day.

    I couldn’t catch my breath. My heart physically hurt so much I thought it was going to explode. I was with several other people on a houseboat and tried so hard to suppress how I really felt as I didn’t want to bum everyone else out. Holding back my pain had a really bad effect on me and when I was alone I would sob endlessly.

    When we got home it was worse and I continued like that for over one year. I became depressed. Thought I could work through it but realized that it was bigger than I was. So I sought professional help – first time in my otherwise very happy life – but I guess it helped validate hearing from a trained professional that what I was feeling was not all that uncommon.

    My puppy’s death had become a trigger for me. Having to suppress my emotions like I did helped no one. I’m happy to say I’m doing 50% better, I still have my days, but I am strong and I will beat this eventually … hopefully sooner than later. Thanks for reading!

    1. I’m so sorry Allyson…I can’t imagine how hard it must be for you. A loss can affect us physically as I have also suffered from ‘Broken Heart Syndrome’. I thought I was having a heart attack and it was diagnosed as grief-induced stress from a loss. I have also felt the weight of the world crush me and literally make it hard to breathe, impossible to sleep or concentrate. We torture ourselves needlessly when we suffer a loss. Our pets know inherently that we love them completely and would do anything we could for them. They sense that we are trying to do our best on their behalf. My saving grace was hearing from literally thousands of departed pets (and my own too) that they do not hold us responsible when accidents happen or death occurs. They will often take responsibility for their own actions if it led to their passing. I’m so glad you sought help for your depression. It is very validating to know we are allowed to grieve and that it is normal to feel physically ill from a loss. My very best of healing hugs to you sweet lady.

  3. Thank you, for these words. I know that my dog, Bear, was at his time to cross over the rainbow bridge. I had a hard time thinking if and what I could have done or that I should have seen it coming. Bear left so fast, so I question myself did I miss something? It’s been a couple of months now and I tell myself each day it is a circle of life. But for whatever reason I didn’t accept it. When he passed, I read your book The Amazing Afterlife Of the Animals. the book filled my heart, I know Bear is happy. So now I tell myself every day I was the best Mommy and I loved Bear to the end and forever. Thank you.

    1. I’m so sorry for your loss Lillia. It is devastating when they leave so quickly. We are often left feeling empty and not fit to be a pet parent. It is so important to celebrate the time you shared with Bear and make his life more important than his death. Imagine how much it means to him so see you smiling, happy, and living your life to the fullest. That is exactly what he would want. You are honoring him by stating those positive affirmations of love! Sending love and healing to you

  4. Hi Karen, thank you for this article. It has been exactly 14 months since my sweet Caramel passed away. I relate so much to that topic especially the part where it says « you didn’t put your pet in front of the vehicle » « I would never intentionally hurt my baby » but I can’t forgive myself for not being more careful. I asked her for forgiveness but I can’t forgive myself even though I know she forgave me because she sent some some signs.

    For example, since her death I was grieving so badly that I could only wear dark colors and I could listen to music for at least 4 months. One day, I realized that I was really in a bad shape and decided to make an effort. That day, while driving, radio off, I started talking to her, I told her that I wasn’t well and that I needed to survive, told her how much I loved her and that even if I started to laugh again or to sing again it wouldn’t mean that I had forgotten about her. I told her that I would alway love her.

    So right after my talk with her I turned on the radio and there was a beautiful music, I liked it so much that I wanted to know who the artist was so I activated SoundHound and the name of the song showed up it was “I love you”. I am sure it was her.

    1. I’m so sorry for your loss, Laurence. I know Caramel means everything to you and I can’t imagine how devastated you must be without her. I’m so glad that you found validation within this blog post. Every little bit helps you move closer to healing. It is so hard to forgive ourselves and I hope someday you will find that you can use shift all the energy you focused on grief into powerful, positive, loving thoughts and affirmations. I’m sure Caramel would love that too! The signs she gave you were amazing! I’m sure she is right by your side patiently waiting for you to heal. Keep asking her for signs and remember to thank her when she sends them! Sending healing hugs xoxo

  5. This is a strange place in my head as logic battles with social expectations and emotional control.

    I talk to my boy, Argyle every day and logically know he’s with me every moment, but I can’t allow myself to do that in public. I keep myself distracted and detached most of my days, even when a customer is telling me how the death of his son has affected his life and why this car means so much to him because it was his son’s car…. while my heart is crying out, “I lost my son too!!”

    But one isn’t supposed to compare the loss of an animal to a human, no matter what scientists say. My dad died a few months before Argyle and I try to tell my mom that he’s there with you, just like Argyle is with me, but she shuts my comforting words down with religious righteousness and I am at a loss of what to say.

    I try to avoid places and activities that remind me too much of Argyle unless I’m alone in case I can’t control my tears. But when I am alone, I talk to him and reminisce about our many adventures.

    I swing this wild ride between peace and contentment with feelings of longing and guilt… not of really anything I did, but more how my life has changed without him being the center of my everyday. Did he have to go because he knew my new life couldn’t have both?

    Karen, you make me feel less crazy and your words remind me to try to be patient with this life lesson I’m trying to figure out.

    I am struggling to find words to convey how vital you are…, how grateful I am…. so many swirling thoughts and emotions.

    1. Danielle, I am so very sorry for the loss of your amazing boy, Argyle. He is truly the most amazing boy! I can’t imagine how hard it must be for you and to hear you share the pain, sadness, and utter sense of loss is heartbreaking. They are like children to us. I don’t have any human children so they are children to me. I totally get that. It is a crazy roller coaster ride as we navigate through the feelings of grief. Something will trigger us and it all feels so raw again. Just remember, when you are ready, this is your journey…Argyle will be so happy when you move into healing. That energy serves you both much better than the pain, sorrow, and sadness. Sending big healing hugs xoxo

  6. Thank you for this Karen I can really relate to this.

    I recently lost my dog Benny and questioned myself for not doing enough for him as he had a heart condition. I also lost a dog called Freddie who passed along time ago and blamed myself and husband for not doing enough to save him (he was hit by a car). Time has helped heal and I agree you have to forgive yourself and I know in my heart that my dogs felt truly loved whilst on this earth.

    1. I am so sorry for the loss of your sweet boys, Freddie and Benny. It doesn’t matter how much time goes by. They leave such an imprint upon our hearts and souls. I’m so glad you are able to move into healing and focus on the goodness, the memories, and use that energy in a positive way. Thank you for sharing sweet lady. xoxo

  7. Karen thank you for this article. I read it at 5 am after work and I now know a bit more of what I’ve been going through for almost two years….while reading this article and all of the comments I just cried uncontrollably…. I lost my Sunshine, my center, my life, my love, my light almost 2 years ago. My life and identity revolved around her for so long!!

    She is my everything!! She was by my side day and night through so much of life for so long…..There is not a day that goes bye that I don’t feel guilt and regret. I think about how I should’ve spent more time with her, why didn’t I do this or that and on and on…..just all of the little things. A rip myself up about it every day. I feel that I let her down and that I should have been better.

    I hope that she felt loved. I would have done anything in my power to make her better, to heal her. I constantly feel that the vet missed something, I missed something. She was at the vet’s twice in one week before she passed and there was nothing to be found that was wrong. It happened so quickly, it went from 0 to 100 miles two minutes. I feel her with me always….❤️❤️❤️

    1. Tina, I am so sorry for the loss of your Sunshine. There are few words to ease your pain. Sometimes we don’t know where to start because all we feel is sadness, guilt, and pain. Tears are cleansing and I recommend letting your emotions go where they need to go. That nagging feeling that something was overlooked is likely connected to the ego side of the brain. Try not to fuel it. I’m sure she knows you love her more than life itself and she is likely right there with you as I type this. Just imagine her with you, gently nudging you, letting you know she is alive and well in spirit and feeling very loved by you.

      This is your journey so take each step when you are ready. Be gentle and kind to yourself. You have lost the love of your life and you are entitled to feel all the emotions that are surfacing. Deep grief is a reflection of deep love so when you are ready to shift into a healing space, Sunshine will be so happy and ready to see you smile again. Sending love and healing xoxo

  8. I rather unexpectantly lost my boy Copper from illness. He was a rescue off the streets and I think we adopted each other. I don’t know anything about his life before us, but I suspect it wasn’t good. Copper had several surgeries for illness but he was so strong and just pulled through each day so strongly. So when he got sick, I just thought it was his medicine or he was being stubborn. It’s unbearable not having him with me. We went to the vet just to get checked out but he did not return with me. I feel so guilty and I wanted to bring him home. I have your book and it has helped so much. I have also joined a pet grieving group but my heart aches so much each day. It will be 4 months soon. I also feel like he is mad at me!! I know he is sending me signs but I just wish I knew for sure that’s he’s ok. He was such a sweet soul. I miss us.

    1. I am so sorry for the loss of Copper. I am so glad that my book has helped make your journey a little easier. He will never be mad at you for he knows that you love him and did all you could. Those thoughts are generated from the ego side of the brain to maintain control over painful and difficult situations. Be gentle and kind to yourself and know you are and always will be the most important person in the world to him.

  9. Thank you for this very timely email, Karen. I lost my Sundance about 5 weeks ago. I keep wondering if I missed something (he had bone cancer) and then chastising myself for potentially putting him down too soon. He was in a lot of pain – and my friend Ron Sohler saw a red dog meet him when he crossed the rainbow bridge. That red dog (Ron never met him) was Dusty. Ron said the two were running together and that’s what Sundance liked to do – run. Sundance has “appeared” by my bed at night a few times. And he may have thrown a tennis ball at me. I miss him terribly – it’s so different without him. But I’m so grateful for him. He brought me so much love and happiness. We (Bandit and I) are trying to find a new normal. Bandit grew up with Sundance and they are literally brothers from another mother – just so different. Sundance was the alpha – probably over me too. Bandit is coming into his own gradually. It’s just super quiet here. Your email was really helpful – thank you!

    1. I am so sorry for your loss, Mary. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for you not only losing Sundance but questioning your decision. From my own experience, it feels like we ended their lives too soon and should have sought other options or waited longer. The crazy part is if we kept them here longer then we would feel like we kept them alive too long! We just can’t win with our own conscience!

      I loved reading about Dusty and how Ron saw them running together. I am not surprised as Ron is very talented even though he says he isn’t.

      I’m so glad this article has helped you feel a little more at ease and hopefully, you and Bandit will find your ‘new normal’ soon.

  10. Hi Karen,

    Thank you so much for this article. Reading this has really helped me. We recently lost our beautiful girl, Dorothy. She was a foster care rescue – she had been ill for a long time and was struggling with a large tumor on her mammary gland. We made the decision to have her put to sleep as she was in pain and had stopped eating. But the day she died she had temporarily been more upbeat than normal and I cannot get the feeling out of my head that I failed her. That we made the decision too soon. That she doesn’t know how much I loved her and that I let her down.

    I know now reading this that I have to forgive myself.

    All of the veterinary professionals told me I was doing the right thing, so she wasn’t in pain anymore. Had we waited her death could have been much more painful and traumatic for her I just miss her more than I can put into words. I’d give absolutely anything to give her one last cuddle and tell her I love her.

    Thank you for this article. It means more to me than you’ll ever know.

    Rhiannon

    1. I am so sorry for the loss of your beloved girl, Dorothy.

      You made an impossible decision but one I’m sure was made with love and the best of intentions. Dorothy knows this and I’m sure she is very grateful that you helped her make her transition calmly and smoothly.

      I want to acknowledge something you mentioned. You said she was more upbeat than normal on the day she died. This is something that I refer to as a ‘healing crisis’. A healing crisis is when a pet is gravely ill, lethargic, in pain or discomfort then suddenly just before they pass they bounce back, act young again, and seem to magically recover from whatever was ailing them. Typically, they aren’t here very long after a healing crisis but it can make us question our decision to euthanize.

      When a healing crisis occurs it is a natural and normal event. It doesn’t happen all the time but when it does it is just as you described it. What happens is Mother Nature sends them a blast of ‘life-force’ energy as they sense the end of life is near. Remember, in nature, there is a very strong survival instinct that all animals have. This can wreak havoc with us as we are trying to determine when is the best time to euthanize. This ‘healing crisis’ will cause us to doubt our decision as we think that somehow they will recover from their illness or health issues.

      The healing crisis does not last long, maybe just a few hours or days. Then we are right back in crisis mode trying to help our pets when they are in a downward spiral.

      In my opinion, based on what animals tell me, it is much easier for pets to make their transition to the Other Side when all involved are balanced and emotionally calm. If we wait until they are crashing, spiraling downward, is not the ideal time to euthanize. It is much easier on the pet if we help them leave peacefully and in a relaxed environment.

      I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive yourself. It sounds like you made all the right decisions on Dorothy’s behalf and they were all made with love.

      Remember to make her life more important than her death and know she is right there by your side as there is nowhere else she would rather be.

  11. OMG – I am so happy I ended up here reading your blog post Karen. My Tiny girl died on Sunday and I have been doing the what if’s to myself like crazy. It all happened so fast, and now that I know what she was suffering from there were several decisions I made about her care that were incorrect. I miss my girl so badly it takes my breath throughout the day. I’m going to reread this post many times so I can release the ego and get to the celebration of her life and our time together. She was the cutest little monster in the world and I want to hold her preciousness close to me. I love you Tiny girl!

    1. Dina, I am so sorry for the loss of your Tiny girl. My heart breaks for you. She will be so happy that you are celebrating her life and making that more important than her passing.

      It must be so difficult for you to face each new day without her there but her energy will always be near.

      Say her name often and say it out loud!

      Sending love and healing xoxo

  12. I just put my baby boy Rocky down 10 days ago. Apparently he had Respiratory Heart Failure and I somewhat knew but thought he had Cushions Disease because of his enlarged belly. What kills me is he has signs and would cough and it progressively got worse but not enough to where I was concerned.

    One day, I gave him a treat and meant to only give him part of it. When I looked over, he had eaten the entire stick and knew he would throw up that night. I was awoken at 4:00 am on Monday morning to him throwing up. This time it was different. His breathing wasn’t consistent and it sounded like he was struggling. I monitored him for an hour before I realized he needed to go to Emergency. They rushed him to the back room where they put him in on oxygen. I was faced with a decision to TRY to hospitalize him for days and see if it helps or put him down. I decided to allow him to not suffer anymore. However, I’m feeling the guilt of, was he even that bad? Is he mad at me? Did I spend enough time with him before I said goodbye?

    Your book is inspiring and I will continue to read it over and over again and look for more signs from my baby. I know he’s still with me, just want to hold him once more.

    1. I am so sorry for your loss Michelle. Losing Rocky must be devastating for you and I can’t image how difficult this has been for you.

      They take a piece of our hearts with them when they go but only because one day, a long time from now when we are reunited with them, our hearts will once again be whole.

      You made the most difficult decision a pet parent must make. Rocky knows it was one made from love and help him on his next adventure.

      Sending love and healing hugs to you both xoxo

  13. My name is Don Naffziger and I’m 60 years old and when I was in my late teens I had a Russian Blue Cat and her name was Quantity. I was living temporarily with my mother in her apartment. One morning I took Quantity down stairs and I was looking in my car trunk for something and I looked up to where my baby was and she had wandered into the street so I headed straight toward her to get her because that was a busy street and when I was almost to her a car ran over her and it seemed that the person driving the car did it on purpose and they didn’t even slow down or stop. Meanwhile I watched her flop around a few times before she died. It was the most horrible thing. I have never forgiven myself for that and have begged her to please forgive me and of course I don’t know if she has. I took her to my grandmother’s home and buried her in her backyard and said a prayer for her. I have never had another pet of my own since. Only in the last couple of years my mother had a cat Grazee I’ve told you about. I watched your recent afterlife replay and I like how you said that our pets and even people from our past are all connected so I hope she is here with my Angel Cat Grazee and all my childhood pets. It’s just been a year now since my Grazee passed away.
    It’s so hard for me to let go of the pain and the image of her when she was run over.

    1. Hi Don, thank you for this note and yes, I remember you sharing with Grazee’s story me. Even after many years, the pain is still just under the surface. While the pain is immeasurable, so too are the memories. I have no doubt Grazee is there with you even as we speak as there is nowhere else she would rather be.

  14. I recently lost my boy dog, Barrow. I am overly cautious when driving in the yard but somehow after 13 years I didn’t see him and ran over him with the truck. His nickname is Mr. Happy cuz he was always in a good mood and never growled or barked at anyone. Unfortunately, this just makes the guilt even worse. Besides the guilt the event just keeps playing over and over in my head; the sounds and sensations, he was such a sweet dog. That seems to be the hardest part. I can virtually hear him saying, “it’s not your fault papa, stop feeling guilty”.

    When I sense this it does make me feel a little better, so one step at a time one day at a time. I guess you just have to work at it to finally push through to the other side. I have a dear friend and dog lover who knew Barrow since he was a pup, and she said something that really helped, she said: ” When I die I want to come back as one of your pets”. I know things will get better but until then it sure as hell hurts.

    1. John, I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your boy, Barrow. I cannot imagine how devastated you must be. It is hard enough to lose them unexpectedly let alone have an accident like this happen. Please accept my heartfelt sympathies for your loss. It must be a difficult road for you and I will hold a sacred space for you and Barrow in my heart. I’m sure he is right there by your side as there is nowhere else he would rather be. If you have read my book, The Amazing Afterlife of Animals, you know that they never hold us responsible even when accidents happen. While the pain is immeasurable so are the memories. Sending love and healing.

  15. When my Shih Tzu, Molly passed of cancer last Sept. I felt so guilty because I thought maybe if I had gotten an x-ray for her sooner than I did that I could have possibly saved or at least lengthened her life. I’ve been very depressed since she passed as we were together for 11 yrs and went everywhere together. Reading your email on not blaming myself or feel responsible for the passing of my pet has really made me look at it from a different perspective. The positive affirmations are great as well. Thank you Karen for helping me through my grief with your book as well as your emails.

    1. My heart breaks for you Kristine, and I am so sorry for the loss of Molly. Letting go of the blame and self-punishment is a huge step in your healing journey and I am so happy that you have a new perspective on what happened. While your pain may be immeasurable, so are the memories of your sweet girl. May you continue to fill the cracks of your broken heart with loving thoughts of Molly.

  16. I have played the blame anger game now for a couple of weeks since my girl passed. It wasn’t that I didn’t know something was wrong, it was that I thought it had been getting better. The vet even made it sound like she was better and then suddenly she backslides and her lungs filled before anything could be done.

    I don’t blame myself for that. I do blame myself for taking her home to be euthanized at home, not knowing COVID would not allow that anymore.

    I was told to give her strong meds instead and she would pass peacefully.

    That’s where my blame game comes in.

    I knew pretty quickly she wouldn’t let go if she was home, but I delayed in taking her back to the emergency room vet to let her go because I wanted her to go at home. Instead, my selfishness resulted in her near asphyxiation before we got back to the vet as I realized she would never let go at home around all of us who love her. I feel pain thinking I drew out her suffering. The anger comes in with her life before me. It was a bad life and with me she only got a wonderful, everything I could give, do for her only for 20 months. I feel like she was done an injustice. She finally found home and her body failed her.

    I’m struggling to let that go. I alternate between acceptance and guilt and anger. I desperately want to let go of it.

    1. I am so sorry, Katie. No matter what we do as their parent and caretaker it always seems like we should have done more or done a better job. It is so hard not to feel guilty about how things ended for her. It is normal to blame yourself. I have done so many times in the past.

      What brings me through it is that no matter what I think, they see it or experience it at a different level.

      You wanted her to be home with you and on the highest level, she knows this. I’m sure if asked she would not hold you responsible nor would she blame you for the way things ended. Most pets will share that their body failed them, not their humans.

      Grief and all the emotions that go with it are painful and it takes time to move through all the layers.

      Be kind and gentle with yourself. I’m sure she is watching over you and hoping you move into healing as soon as possible.

  17. OUr baby, Tia, our cav. female had been diagnosed with a heart murmur at age 4, we did 2 ultrasounds every yr. and we saw a cardiologist vet and she was on so many meds by age 9, I would have done anything to prolong her life, I loved her so much, she was in congestive heart failure, and her trachea was compressed from her enlarged heart, a few months before she passed. and, then, she was diagnosed with diabetes 5 days before she passed, I had to learn how to give her insulin injections twice a day, 5 days later, she developed ketoacidosis, in urgent care, the doc that called us, said your dog is very ill, she needs to be moved to a hospital, but, she may not live during the drive there,….as soon as she was off the oxygen, she turned blue, they said, (her palate, etc.)

    We had to make the decision to let her go, the vet was adamant we had an appt. 8 days after the diabetes diagnosis to have her at our vets, for 8 hours, so, they could monitor her blood sugar spikes……..I should have insisted that that should have happened sooner, maybe, then, she wouldn’t have developed the ketoacidosis.

    Tia and I had a really close relationship, she would put her paw up around my neck, on one side, like she was giving me a hug when I petter her or snuggled her
    It’s 3 months today, some days I think it’s better, but then again, it’s not…………I cry every day, whether I want to or not….she never ate on her own, I fed her off a spoon, she was like that ever since we got her at the age of 4 months……..

    1. Dee, I am so sorry for the loss of your angel, Tia. My heart breaks for you. I hope you have read my book, The Amazing Afterlife of Animals. It will help you through this difficult time. It sounds like you did your very best to care for her and she knows that. Animals don’t hold us responsible when their body fails them. They understand it is their time to go. They just want us to love them as if they are still here. It takes time to heal. Be patient and kind to yourself and know that she is always near as there is nowhere else she would rather be. Sending love and healing to you.

  18. I was so happy to hear from you, and thank you so much for your kind answer and your wisdom, I have just finished reading your book, and have ordered your other book, and I look forward to reading it and gaining understanding.

    1. Thanks so much, Dee! I’m so glad you enjoyed my book. I’ll never get tired of hearing that! And thanks for ordering my other book too!

  19. Thanks for this article. I needed it.

    We lost our cat on June 24th this year. We just moved to a different location because we travel with work and he kept running out. My kids and I went to our rental and did some last-minute packing and he got outside when my husband was working on our door. He never came back in. When my husband got home from work that evening George was dead. He had been licking his side so much that he coughed up hairballs. I can’t help but blame myself. Had I not went to pack I could have found him when he ran out.

    Did he suffer?

    Did he try and get back in the house if something was attacking him and no one was here to save him.

    My mind is flooded.

    I feel as we let him down. I still don’t know what happened to my baby boy.

    1. I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your sweet angel, George. I can’t imagine how devastated you must be. It is so hard to lose a member of the family. It may feel like you did everything wrong when something like this happens. Second-guessing every action, every decision, every moment thinking that if only you had done something differently this may not have happened. It is impossible to not feel responsible in some way for his passing. What I have learned is quite the opposite is true. I wrote about it in my book, The Amazing Afterlife of Animals. I hope you have a copy. If not, go to the home page and opt-in for discounts.

      We are no more responsible for their passing than we are their birth. We are part of their lives to experience love at the highest level. Part of that love is the loss. For the purpose of our souls’ growth, we expand our hearts with grief and pain. I’m sure George selected you to be his parents because you are the very best mom and dad. Sending healing and love to all.

  20. I left am empty cereal box next to my trashcan on the floor. When I returned 45 min later I found my baby girl Lexi with the liner over her head. She suffocated. I am in a very dark place and cannot get past the guilt. I saw your chat session from May, Karen. You mentioned being with your pet when they transision. How important it is for them. What about when something sudden. Unexpected. Tragic accident happens. How do I cope with not being their in addition to the guilt that caused it to happen? Oh please help me. I am so lost in grief. And guilt.

  21. 1 week ago, my cat Paca gave her first birth to 2 little kittens. She gave birth into big chunk of charcoal. 1 kitten almost died because she was stuck into charcoal. I saved them fastly, 3 days later 1 kitten disappeared. I never saw it again. 1 was left. My cat Paca couldnt properly fed the last kitten, other bigger kittens from another cat, which are 1 month old, they were drinking milk from cat Paca. I tried to fed newborn kitten, but she didn’t want it. I didn’t know how to deal with newborn kittens. Cat Paca, her mother, didnt feed little kitten properly because of other bigger kittens. I constantly moved little kitten to mother, and take away bigger ones, so she can be fed. 2 days later, I came to visit them in basement. I tried to feed newborn kitten again, but she still didn’t want it. Milk was on her mouth a little bit. 30 minutes later I came back to visit them, when I stepped into basement, I was paralyzed, bigger kitten started to eat newborn kitten. I quickly rushed, and separated them. Muscle on newborn kittens jaw was a little bit eaten. I immediately start beating myself up because of it. Did I cause this? I took a bike and drove towards vet with bloody newborn kitten. My mind was self attacking me because of this. It took me 40 minutes with bike to come to vet. I came to vet, but they were closed. I saw vets phone number on door. But I forgot my phone. I thinked about leaving the injured kitten in front of his door in box. And I will fastly go home, call him to come to treat her. But that was a mistake. When I came back home, I immediately grabbed the phone and called him. He said to me, that I shouldnt done that because cat could get cold and die. I searched on the internet, and I saw that I made a mistake. Newborn kittens rely on mother when it comes to temperature of the body. Vet came to vet station and took her. He said when she found the kitten, it looked like shes dead. But he saved her. I was happy. He fed her and warmed her up. He told me to come immidiately tomorrow morning to pick her up. I came with my bike again, so happy. He said she was healthy. And I should fastly find her mother, and hide them from other cats. I took the little kitten which was in the box, I opened up, she was alive, walking with little bit injury on her jaw. I was happy. While I was walking towards my home I was thinking in my head, how are we going to become best friends, and we will play together, will be together wherever we go. I came home. I opened the box and I was looking at her so happy. 1 hour later I took a look again, and she wasn’t moving. I thought she was sleeping. I pet her, and called her. No signs. I was so scared. I immediately wanted to give her help. I tried CPR for 5 minutes. I couldn’t believe that she died. I refused to believe it for 3 hours straight. I tried to wake her up. Until I realized It was over. I cant stop crying. Im beating myself up. I feel so sad. I cant stop thinking about how she cried when I was driving it to pet. The thought how I said to her that we will be best friends when she becomes healthy again, is getting me sadder and sadder. Was It my fault? What if I didn’t leave her at the vet station for 2 hours outside until vet picked her up. What If I caused it because the bigger kitten smelled the milk on her mouth, and tries to ear her. Does she blame me for hers death? I tried my best. Im feeling very sad and depressed. Is it possible to move on? How to move on? Im trying to move on, but my mind says that I shouldnt because maybe Im responsible for this. I love my newborn kitten out of everything in this World. I want to let her know that, and I tried everything to help her. I know that I couldve done better, but I didnt. I tried to bury her, for 1 hour, but I couldnt let her go, I couldnt stop looking at her, kissing her, and calling her to wake up. In the end with very hard decision I burried her. How to move on, please help me? Is this my fault? Does she blame me? I wish I could go to past and save her. Thanks everyone for reading this, please help me.

    1. I am so sorry for your loss. It breaks my heart to hear this. Please get a copy of my book, The Amazing Afterlife of Animals. It will help you understand the animal’s perspective and their experience is much different than ours. Sending love and healing.

  22. Hi Karen. This is Carrie again from the comment just above. I told you how my Lexi crossed over. The tragic accident. I have been able to say the words that I forgive myself and set myself free. It took a bit to be able to do that. I’m still struggling. I had a dream about Lexi. It was not a good dream. I dreamt that she fell from like an elevator shaft or something similar and the fall was long and she hit hard. All she did in the dream is lay where she fell. She listened to me when I said “Lexi, stay where you are. Dont get up”. I knew she was hurt bad so I didn’t want her to injure herself more by tryimg to get up and walk. She stayed there while I fumbled with an old rotary phone trying to call a vet and a family member that is a vet tech. I remember geting so upset because I was wasting all of this time not knowing how badly she was hurt. I felt so much anxiety about trying to call for help but not getting anywhere. At one point, Lexi was getting up. I made her stay again. I again began to try to call for help, but for some reason,my call was not getting through. Then I woke up. I remember a sick smell throughout the dream. Just like a rotten smell. The dream really bothers me still. I want to have vivid dreams of her visiting me. Not something like this. Can you help me understand this?

    1. I’m so sorry you had such a disturbing dream. There are so many things this could mean and I have to leave the interpretations up to you. A dream analyst I am not but I do know that our subconscious mind does all kinds of crazy things that do not necessarily make sense. My suggestion is to put a note under your pillow and ask Lexi to come to you as a beautiful spirit angel in your dreams. Invite only her. Hopefully, that will be a better experience for you.

  23. Needed to hear this very insightful.

    I do not blame myself in any way my girl’s time was near and I did absolutely everything I could for her.

    I have difficulty connecting with my guides or anything else. I believe that is my ego.

    I miss my Boo so much I literally hurts.

    I believe The Amazing Afterlife of Animals was sent to me for this reason and has been so enlightening.

    Thank you, Karen, for what you do❣️

    1. Jinger,
      My heart goes out to you during this difficult time. It is likely that you are just not quite ready yet to meet your guides. It will happen exactly when it is supposed to happen and not a moment sooner. I learned a long time ago things don’t go according to our plan and what we want. The Universe and our guides know what is best and that is the time it happens. Let them know you would like to meet them when you are ready and ask for signs. Keep reaching out to them, those invisible beings that support you each day. Meditation, automatic writing, and just continuing down your spiritual path will allow you to ‘meet’ them when the time is right. Sending love and blessings

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