For many people the death of a pet is no less devastating than the death of a relative.
A loyal companion is just as much a member of the family and the grief can be all-too-consuming.
Redditor ThrowRAdoglost and his younger sister—both teenagers—tragically lost their beloved dog, but he seemed to have a more difficult time coping than her.
Consumed with rage and resentment over how their dog died, the Original Poster (OP) turned to Reddit’s Relationship Advice column seeking guidance on how to handle his feelings.
The title of the OP’s post read:
“My (17 M[ale]) parents (46 M and 42 F[emale]) are responsible for the death of my sister (14 F) and I’s dog, and I don’t know how to reconcile my anger with them and understanding how awful they feel.”
Readers initially misinterpreted the OP’s title, thinking that his sister had died. But that was not the case.
To clarify, he meant to convey that his parents were responsible for the death of the dog that belonged to him and his sister.
The OP wrote:
“Less than a week ago, my mother found my dog in her car after my family had been doing cleaning in the shed for almost the entire day.”
“We later realized that my parents had driven from the shed to our house for lunch, and forgotten him in their car after deciding to walk back to the shed. When we found him he had been in the car for close to seven hours, and was very much dead.”
“My father and I dug him a grave shortly after finding him, and laid our dog to rest.”
“I live out in the country, so my dog was often at the neighbor’s house playing with their dog or getting fed treats. My family is kind of used to him being gone and having to go and pick him up from the neighbor’s house, so his absence wasn’t immediately alarming.”
“I realize in hindsight that he liked to be around us when we were outside, and we should have looked for him when he wasn’t.”
“It’s hard for me to articulate how I feel about all of this. I’m enraged at my parents’ negligence, utterly destroyed knowing I’ll never be able to be with my dog again, and feeling extremely guilty that I didn’t do anything to save him.”
“I know how my parents feel about this. My dad is filled with shame, my mother can’t stop crying, and my little sister, who was definitely the closest to our dog, seems to be handling it the best out of all of us.”
“I’m feeling extremely split between anguish and rage, and I’m really lost on how to feel about all of this. I’m a little desperate for advice or any guidance on how to handle this.”
Redditors expressed their sympathies and encouraged the OP to work through all of his emotions as he experiences them.
“You can feel both anguish and rage, compassion and guilt.”
“There is no one emotion that covers all the nuances of this situation.”
“Do not try to suppress one emotion over another.”
“Let them come. Feel them. And work through them.” – Silvergirl7
“The idea being that by working through all the different emotions you feel and allowing them space, that they will eventually be reconciled, or find an equilibrium at least.”
“At that point things will feel very different from now and your ideas of how you get along with your family will be very different.”
“Maybe this is your first loss, you are young and I hope it is. Everyone says it gets better and I imagine it’s really hard to believe that now (I didn’t believe it either), but it does. Not necessarily everyday, but eventually things feel less raw.”
“From one dog person to another, I’m very very sorry for your loss.” – radicalartwitch
This Redditor reminded him that the loss of an animal is just as devastating as the death of a person.
“This is great advice, only thing I’d add is to research the stages of grief and be mindful of them when you’re feelings come bubbling up, as they inevitably will (not just now but in the days, weeks, months, and years to come).”
“While some may write it off as ‘just an animal’ those people are wrong, your dog was part of your family and part of your life that you are grieving the loss of… being angry is natural, but with time and recognizing when your emotions are controlled by your grief rather than your empathy is what will help you in your relationship with your parents.”
“I’m sorry for your loss, OP.” – Sketchelder
While it may be difficult at this time, this Redditor encouraged the OP to eventually forgive his parents for their tragic mistake.
“I hurt for you. My dad was extremely close to his dog and he accidentally ran over him. It devastated him. He cried for days.”
“My mom had a little dog and after she passed away, my dad took to her and wouldn’t let any of us kids take her. He made her a bed on his so she could sleep with him.”
“2 years later, because she was so small, she had fallen in between the mattress and foot rail wrapped in sheet. My dad couldn’t find her.”
“He got my brother to help look for her and they found her dead, smothered. She had fallen in between.”
“Again, he was devastated. My dad was 84 with beginning stages of dementia and cancer.”
“You have to forgive him. It was an accident. It hurts I know. Grieve as long as you need to.”
“If you had been the one that left your parents dog in the car, how would they treat you? Forgiveness right?”
“Please, it’s the most human thing to do.” – thesoupydoo
“I’m sorry. This is awful. You need to just let yourself grieve.”
“It’s ok to be mad at your parents. You just need to let yourself feel what you feel.”
“You should try to show kindness to your parents as best as you can even while you are angry. And try to be there for your sister.” – WorshipGlorificus
“They messed up and feel terrible about it. Forgive them dude. Hug it out with them and mourn the loss of your furry friend together.”
“Sorry for your loss.” – Scryedx3
Finding peace takes time.
“This is where the saying “Time heals all wounds” comes from but it’s only true if we allow ourselves to progress through our emotions.”
“There is no ‘how to feel.’ You feel what you feel and that’s okay. The rage will pass, the anguish will pass so maybe pick up a project to pass the time.” – Funny2Mii
While there is no handbook on how to grieve, most of the Redditors shared their heartfelt messages and encouraged the OP to eventually find a way to forgiveness.