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Coping with the guilt (car-accident)
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17 September 2016 - 3:35 pm
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Hi. (and sorry if this topic is not in the right forum)

So. I have been a tripawd mom for .. five days now. Our 8 month old (today precisely 8 month old) puppy Baby was in an accident last Friday, -September 9th. She was in surgery Monday, where she had her front right leg amputated. 
We are beginning to get beyond and used to the practical stuff, but emotionally it is hell. 
Baby is doing fine, she is jumping around, hopping gladly and energized, and generally handling it all so extremely well. I am so proud of her. But now we have to deal with the emotional part of it. 

This might end up being a very long post, - I think its the first time I've even tried to formulate what happened. But I am hoping for some input from other tripawd-owners whose dogs have been in accidents. How you coped with it. 

This is what happened: My boyfriend (Henrik) was home alone with her when it happened; I was on my way home (had been out running errands with his mother). We were aware that she is kind of a escapee, and all to intelligent and curious for her own good. Henrik was working from home, inside at his computer, and had not closed both doors from the living room to the garden completely. There are three doors, and she managed to open the first with her paw, and give the last one a push so that it opened. From here she ran into the garden, through a hole in the hedge, into our neighbors garden, and from here out on the street. And this is where/when the accident happened.  Henrik had noticed that she had run out, so he went to the garden and called her. And then he heard it. The car applying the breaks, and the wimping/crying dog. He ran into the house to get shoes and run after her, - but already she came running home. On three legs. With the last one dragging behind her. Bleeding a lot. A few minutes later I came home. - He had called me to tell me to hurry, but I was 2 roads away. I came in, saw the blood on the floor, (it was everywhere!) and I couldn't find them! They were in the garden, he saw with her in her arms. I will never forget the sight. You could see all the way through the bone, and the paw was just hanging there, not even properly attached. 
The driver of the car had just driven of, but a sweet lady on a bike had seen Baby come running and had followed her here. I hate that I don't know exactly what happened. That no one saw exactly where it happened and who did it. Not that I want to blame her/him, I would just like to know. I keep visualizing it - and probably much worse that it was. 
We rushed to the vet, where she was in critical condition for some hours, they weren't sure she would make it due to the big blood loss. She already went into chock. -- and I think, that so did we. 
She survived. And for that I am forever grateful. But we are both left with the worst sense of guilt and a horrible conscience. It was our fault. 
It has really taken its toll on Henrik. Because he was the one who was alone with her. I keep telling it him it could just have easily have happened for me, I am alone with her 9/10 days, and she has escaped like that quite a few times before.
But we were aware that there was a hole in the hedge that she could run through. We have seen it before. And it was on the 'to-do' list of things that needed fixing. Putting some fence in the hedge. It had just been postponed. And herein lies the biggest regret, I think. 
He keeps saying that he was supposed to take care of her. and of me. (And the baby-girl inside me). Lots of parental emotions running though both of us. -She is only 8 months old, she is just a puppy, and our responsibility. And now she will have to live the rest of her life on 3 legs, because of us. Because we failed in protecting her. It breaks my heart. I am very glad that she doesn't seem to be in  much pain any longer, and the loss-of-leg doesn't seem to be limiting her. I know she will live a long and happy life, and I will love her more than I thought possible, -maybe even appreciate her more because of the accident. But we will also be reminded of the incident for the next many many years whenever people will ask what happened. And I am afraid the guilt will always be unbearable. Especially for Henrik.  I am hoping that eventually as she becomes better and better that it will get easier, but .. I am not sure. 

How do one cope with this? Will it get easier? 

I feel like the worst dog-parent ever. And I KNOW it was just an accident. I didn't drive the car. I didn't let her loose without supervision. -She is extremely clever and very good at 'escaping'. She has chewed her way through two dog-leashes, where it could have ended very badly (Even worse). 
But she so did not deserve this. She is the best dog, loving and caring, clever, amusing. Perfect. And its just so unfair. I would have switched places with her if I could - I would rather go through an open fracture like that, - even with the possibility of amputation, -than I would want her to go through it. I can cry just thinking about it. And I flinch every time she whimpers just a little bit. Have become extremely overprotective, mother-hen. 
We spent the entire day today and yesterday putting up a very big wooden fence all the way around the garden, and even extra wirefence/chain-link fence around the hedges as well. I hope this will bring some piece of mind, and maybe help a bit on Henriks bad conciseness. It felt nice to actually do something, take some action. 

Have any of you tripawd owners been in a similar situation, and what did you do to make it easier? I could really use some advice, consolation, or maybe just a 'yes, it will get easier'. 

Michigan
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17 September 2016 - 6:42 pm
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I do have some experience with a dog being hit by a car, and eventually losing that dog because of it.  I rented an apartment in a not-so-great neighborhood.  One of the other renters often left the gate to the yard open & I knew that.  Bozo got out of the yard because I let him out ...I was responsible for him, I knew he would wander - he was 13 years old and not neutered.  But I was also younger, poor, a single-parent, I didn't know then what I know now.  As soon as he got out of the yard I chased after him - but he was running, and my 2 year old son was alone in my apartment, so I couldn't go far.  I was in the alley when he cut through a yard & I saw a car hit him and keep going.  A neighbor saw & watched him while I went back to get someone to watch my son so I could take Bozo to the emergency vet.  But it still, almost 30 years later, makes me angry to think that a car hit a 35 lb dog & never even stopped!  What if that had been a child?  In that neighborhood it very easily could have been.

You can't go back and change what happened, you can only go forward from here.  You have fixed the holes in the yard.  Maybe also change the latch on the doors so it's not so easy for Baby to get them open?  She will get through this, and she will be fine.  She's not going to harbor any anger towards you - she won't hold a grudge, so maybe if she can forgive you, you should forgive yourselves.

Donna

Donna, Glenn & Murphy  http://murphyh......pawds.com/

Murphy had his right front leg amputated due to histiocytic sarcoma at 7 years old.  He survived 4 years, 2 months & 1 week, only to be taken by hemangiosarcoma at 11 1/2 years 6/12/17  

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18 September 2016 - 10:17 am
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Yep, you're in the right Forum topic. And YES it will get easier. For starters:

Baby is doing fine, she is jumping around, hopping gladly and energized, and generally handling it all so extremely well. I am so proud of her. But now we have to deal with the emotional part of it. 

It's always worse for the people, the dogs, cats, goats ;), they all move on and continue loving life. Humans, well, they're the ones who keep psychotherapists in business 😉

You are human. And we error. All. The. Time. Sometimes the lessons are easy, sometimes they're hard. But if you can take this horrible accident and turn it into something great, you have learned the lesson and are a more evolved human. And Babydog will love you even more for it.

In the meantime, you must remember, she doesn't hate you for it, she isn't looking back. Every time you start to feel terrible, flinch or cry, know that she is here now, she survived and she's going to be O.K. When you start to feel sad, "change the channel" in your mind, and think about how grateful you are that she's here with you, and that you're together now. What a lucky dog, and a lucky human!

It takes time, it's not easy but you can do it. Keep practicing and hang out here, we'll help.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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18 September 2016 - 1:27 pm
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First yes it will get easier!  Second be kind to yourselves.  It was purely and simply an accident.  You don't plan for an accident, they just happen.  Forgive yourselves.  Be happy Baby is alive and will recover.  Third do all the things that are in your power to help Baby now and ongoing.  Remember traction is important so give Baby non slip areas on slippery floors by putting down runners or yoga mats so as she learns to navigate on 3 she doesn't fall.  Do some core excercises with her when she's more recovered to build her core strength so she's one strong girl.  You can do a search on this site for core exercises and find many fun exercises for both you and her to make her strong.  As you are finding out the first two weeks are really hard but it will get a little easier each day.  Your biggest problem may well be keeping her from doing too much too soon as she gets better each day.  Fourth congratulations on your arrival soon to come!  May you be blessed with a healthy baby girl who will grow up with your "other" Baby as her protector for many years!  Hugs to you and Henrik and of course beautiful Baby!

Linda, Riley & Spirits Mighty Max & Ollie

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5 January 2017 - 4:22 pm
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Thank you so much for this post. My fiancée and I are currently tackling this issue with our 36 lb rescue named Royal. For us we have to still talk through it and comfort each other. Be open with each other. It's the only way we've gotten through this mess with our fur baby. It's been almost two months since the accident and although they were confident at first it was healing an x Ray at a different angle showed it wasn't. We feel responsible because he's our baby and it's our job to keep him safe. Accidents happen, but it doesn't really make it any easier. Support one another and be there for each other. It's all you can do sometimes.

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17 February 2017 - 9:12 pm
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I appreciate the honesty in these posts about dogs having been hit by cars. When I was a young boy on the east coast, our beagle ran out into the road and was hit by a truck which never stopped. The dog survived. About 10 years ago, an intruder got into our back yard, unlatched the gate, and our two dogs got out. One dog was subsequently hit by a car, sustaining dental and jaw injuries. So, I understand your self-blame, your anger at others, etc. Fast forward to September, 2014--two years before Baby was hit--when a female pit bull ran onto a freeway in the San Francisco Bay area and was hit by three different cars. Two great Samaritans stopped, rescued the pit bull and took her to a nearby vet hospital. Because of the severe damage to the right front leg, the vet recommended euthanasia. The two folks didn't agree and drove the pit bull 5+ hours north [on a busy Labor Day weekend] to Miranda's, a no-kill rescue facility in our rural county. A local vet amputated the pit bull's damaged leg and the dog recuperated at Miranda's. Three months later we saw an online video of the pit bull--wagging her tail and happily hopping around on three legs. We went to meet her twice @ Miranda's, and adopted her. Prior to adopting her, we had no experience with either pit bulls or tripawds. Now it's two years later,and most of the time she doesn't seem to care she only has a 3-cylinder motor. Clearly she exhibits "it's better to hop on 3 legs than to limp on 4." She loves going for walks around the neighborhood, running in our backyard [6-foot fence] or at the beach, hopping on the couch, etc.  It's been a blessing, and inspirational, to observe how this tail-wagging, face-licking 3-legged dog enjoys life. Accidents happen, dogs are injured. I hope that you have arrived at self-forgiveness and acceptance. I think taking care of and loving, these tripawds is a positive, life-changing opportunity.

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