Sunday, October 16, 2016

I Think You Should Know

If you’ve read my blog much before, you know that I generally try to follow a sad post with a happier one. It seems more balanced that way, and honestly, it usually makes me feel a little better.

That was my plan after my post about grandfather dying. I was going to write a post about how we had become a foster home for a boxer rescue. First, I was too busy with everything that being a foster home involves, then we were in a car accident. We’re fine, and now the car is too. Finally.

We fostered one dog briefly, who turned out to be less than friendly toward cats. Then we fostered another dog. She seemed great with cats, and she got along well with Duke. We were planning to adopt her, but we didn’t want to stop fostering. There are so many animals out there who need a safe place to go. We decided we’d keep fostering, with the knowledge that we absolutely couldn’t adopt another dog.

A few people said we must be crazy for doing that, but I have a habit of not listening. Because I’m just that stupid sometimes. 

So we fostered a mom and two puppies. We were told we wouldn’t have the puppies long. They were pure bread boxers, and those tend to be adopted fast. The mom we knew might take longer, but we were okay with that. We’re not really puppy people, and were more excited about the mom than the puppies. Puppies are cute, but they’re a lot of work.

We picked up the mom and the two puppies on a Friday evening. We stayed home pretty much all weekend taking care of puppies and getting everyone settled in. Everyone got along; there were no issues between the dogs, and the mom seemed good with the cats. Everything seemed to be going well. A smarter person might have taken a step back and realized that things rarely work out so well so fast. But not me.

Nick was off that Monday, and spent the day at home with the pets. He noticed that one of the puppies wasn’t eating. She also had diarrhea that seemed to get worse throughout the day. Nick offered her food, and kept trying to get her to eat. By the time I got home from work, we realized that she needed to go to the vet. We got in touch with the rescue, and they sent us to the emergency vet.

We took both puppies to the vet. We left the other pets, including the mom, at home. I didn’t crate or separate anyone. I took it for granted that things had been good, and would stay good.

We were at the vet for a long time. They were busy. There were lots of emergencies coming in. They were also afraid of Parvo in the sick puppy, so they kept us basically quarantined. Fortunately, it wasn’t Parvo, just a raging case of worms. They put both puppies on two different de-wormers, checked the sick puppy’s blood sugar, gave her fluids, and determined that as long as we could get her to eat when we got home, everything should be fine.

We arrived home feeling pretty good about everything. It seemed like both puppies were going to be fine. We were probably in for a long night, but that wasn’t the end of the world.

When we walked in the door, we found Milo laying next to the back door. He was bloody, and stiff. Any rational person would have realized he was dead, but I’m just really stupid sometimes, and couldn’t/wouldn’t admit it. We picked him up and rushed back to the vet.

The vet confirmed what Nick knew and I didn’t want to acknowledge. Milo was dead. He asked us if Milo was an outdoor cat; thinking that he might have been hit by a car. He wasn’t. He was strictly indoor. We asked about the possibility that it was the dogs. The vet was very kind, but confirmed that it was very likely the dogs. He said there was the possibility that it was some kind of freak accident, or medical issue, but the dogs were a very real possibility. He suggested a necropsy to determine what happened. We decided to do it.

We really needed to know what had happened, especially since we have the four other cats. Nick grabbed the possibility of a freak accident or medical issue like a lifeline. I wanted him to be right, but I knew he wasn’t. Sometimes you just know when you’ve done something unforgivably stupid.

The next day we took Milo to the state lab. They called later that evening, and said that the full report wouldn’t be ready for a while, but that Milo had been killed by dogs.

We had been keeping the two new dogs (the mom and the one we had been planning to adopt) separated from the cats. We had found scratches all over one of them and fur the color of Milo’s in the other one’s mouth. The results from the lab were just confirmation of what we already knew.

We made the decision not to go through with adopting the one dog, and not to continue fostering. I had been in touch with the rescue since right after it happened, and told them if the lab confirmed our suspicions, they would need to make other arrangements for the dogs. I don’t think they were very happy about it, but I really don’t care. Neither one of us wanted much to do with either of those dogs, and we had the other cats to think about. Both dogs and the puppies went to other foster homes.

Our other cats are pretty much back to normal. It took them a while. Milo was the dominant cat, and they just seemed lost without him to lead the way and boss them around. Our vet recommended a few things; new toys, treats, Feliway diffusers, etc. that seemed to help them cope.

We’re taking a break from fostering. I honestly don’t know if we’ll ever bring a new dog into our home again. We have our two dogs, and for now that’s enough. We also have the four cats. I feel like I need to somehow make it up to them, but I don’t know how to do that. Most people seem to think we’ll go back to fostering after some time for grieving and healing, but I don’t know. I don’t trust my judgment anymore. And how do you forgive yourself for getting your cat killed? I don’t know what the right penance is for that. Any ideas?

I’m sorry for two sad posts in a row, but I thought you should know. Our families obviously know. As do our vets’ offices. Fortunately, we can keep going to our usual vets. I wasn’t sure if they’d let us after what I did, but they seem to believe it was just a tragic accident, and said we’ll always be allowed to go there. I’ve tried to tell everyone who has a choice in being around me, so they can decide whether they want to or not. So now I’m telling all of you, in case you want to unfollow me, or don’t want me commenting on your blogs anymore. Just let me know, and I will respect that choice.


  1. Very sad and I'm sure traumatic for you.

  2. Oh my gosh, Danielle. I am so sorry. How traumatic for you, your hubby, and your household. I am so sorry about the passing of Milo. I totally support your decision not to foster. You all need time for healing and it could take the rest of your life. You have done wonderful things to help rescue animals. It is time for you to step back and work your way through this tragedy. Don't beat yourself up too bad about it. You are my friend. I plan to continue visiting your blog as often as you post, and your are always welcome to sit at my bench. Hugs to you and Nick.


  3. The first thing you're going to have to do is to forgive yourself. You did nothing wrong. You know what they say: hindsight is 20/20.

  4. Oh Danielle, I don't even have the words to express how terribly sorry I am. This is so NOT your fault. You were just trying to help those dogs, and you had no reason to suspect that something tragic would happen.

    I totally agree that you need to forgive yourself, and I can't imagine that anyone would judge you for such a horrible accident... and it was just that, and accident.

    You know, the past few years have been really hard for me in the kitty department. Losing 6 cats over the course of about 2 years was almost more than I could handle. And its just a fact that we're limited beings with limited time, energy and attention to dole out to all of our fur babies.

    I have spent a lot of time beating myself up because I didn't take Princess in to have her teeth done earlier - because by the time we got out of crisis with Sputnik and Smoky, and I had some mental energy to devote to her teeth, her kidneys had deteriorated to the point that a dental was no longer a viable option for her. Ultimately, her untreated dental situation degenerated into oral cancer and that was her end.

    Of course, she did have high blood pressure that wasn't diagnosed until well into her kidney disease, so it's possible that if I had taken her in for a dental sooner, she would have died during the procedure - we just can't know.

    My point is that you can't be so hard on yourself, and you have to realize that many of these things are simply out of our control.

    Please take the time to grieve, and to be kind to yourself. You have done so much good for so many animals, and I'm quite sure that even Milo wouldn't blame you for what happened.


  5. Oh man, that's horrific, Danielle, and we are so sorry it happened. We are so sad to hear about Milo, but please be kind to yourself. This was a terrible accident, and you need to forgive yourself, as difficult as that is. Take all the time you need, okay? Hugs to you and Mick.

  6. Aw hun. That is NOT your fault. I know it feels like it. I know first hand it feels like it. And I own an animal rescue and have for over a decade. We've lost kitties to this. I wish it had been just one but we've had three incidents over the years with different dogs between my house and my mother's house. Dogs that had ALWAYS been around cats. That had grown up with cats and never had any trouble and often loved snuggling with them. We also had a foster home go through this with their foster kitty being killed by a dog they knew. It was horrible. But it was an accident and not something we blamed them for.

    You do what you can to keep everyone safe but honestly it's just not something most people think about when everyone has gotten along together well in the past or seems to.

    I know it hurts and it'll take a long time to get through the grief and guilt. But please be kind to yourselves. Both you and the hubby. I'm very sorry you and your little ones have gone through this. If you ever need to talk or vent feel free to message me via the blog or facebook or where ever.


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