Six months ago, I euthanized my dog, Ruby.
She was a beautiful black Labrador with dog bone cancer. Her pain was insufferable, yet I agonized over ending her life.
The Vet said it was the kindest thing for a dogs in Ruby’s condition. But I kept asking myself, “Will Ruby ever forgive me?”
For sixteen years, Ruby chased balls with my son, comforted his tears, licked his scraped knees and kept all our family secrets. True to a dog’s nature, Ruby love loved us, unconditionally. Ruby was our four-legged gem.
How could I betray her by euthanising her?
I cried for days after leaving the Vet. We all did. Our hearts felt broken. Guilt kept me awake at night. Doubt tortured me. Could I have done more for my dog Ruby?
One night, my release from guilt came unexpectedly.
In a dream, Ruby bounded up to me, licked my face, chased her tail and barked three times. I felt her dog-like affection wash over me as if I was slipping into a warm bath. Ruby was free of pain and full of energy. In that instant, I forgave myself.
Ruby was okay and happy in pet heaven.
Dealing with guilt
Pets are such an important part of our lives, and it’s no surprise that grief often occurs when they pass away. But sometimes the decision to end a pet’s suffering is unavoidable resulting in feelings of guilt.
Take comfort in the vet’s advice. Family dogs are euthanised for solid medical reasons.
Perhaps remind yourself to love and forgive yourself as your pet would.
If you need further guidance and help reach out to family and friends or a pet grief support group.