Pal - Sweet Happy Boy 1.5 years old Lost in a Tragic Back Yard Accident

by Monica O'Keefe
(Atlanta, Georgia)

Six days ago, I was sitting in my back yard with my two dogs, Pal the Whippet mix, with a delightful personality. He brought light and laughter to any semi dog person he ever meet. He would make friends at the dog park with every dog. He sleep next to me. He was a funny, fun and loving boy. We got him for his nature. Adopted him a six months because he was the only dog that our then 5 year old lab/chow mix seemed to tolerate at the pet store on adoption day. Toleration led to fondness and watching them play was a daily source of entertainment and laughter.

I wish now I was a more cautious / aware person. He died in front of me in my fenced in back yard. Pal, the Whippet was playing with Bella the lab/chow mix. We had left one of those chain collars on him, not the kind with spikes. Bella's mouth slipped under and in their play they twisted. At first I thought oh no they are attaching each other. I ran over screaming and continued screaming for many minutes to come. I pulled on Bella to separate them. Then I realized what had happened. I tried to get the chain off her mouth. It would not budge. I tired to pick her up (80 lbs) and try to turn her. I realized I could not. I keep screaming, thinking my husband would hear and help. The two of them were both pulling on each other trying to get loose. I saw Pal stop pulling so hard and realized I had to do more. I ran inside and yelled to my husband. I could not explain, I just yelled emergency, the dogs are stuck in the backyard, as I ran to the garage to find wire cutters. We got the cutters under the chain, but they did not cut the chain. (The chain was small). I than ran in again to look for another pair and found them in a different spot. My husband had been using them earlier and they were on the kitchen counter. When I got out my husband said it was to late. I did not want to quit however. That pair cut the chain. We tried mouth to mouth and CPR. Still not wanting to give up, we rushed him to an animal hospital.

We screamed and cried for the first few days. We would not sleep in our bed. We slept little, and sometimes I would wake up horrified. Sometimes, I would remember him looking at me as I was trying to free him, and I would just feel horrified. At times I have felt so guilty about now being aware of how dangerous that chain collar could be. Sometimes, I felt so horrible that I did not act quicker, find the good pair of wire cutters faster. I even feel bad I did not call out to Jesus sooner.

I am a believer, and now my God is good. I have always believed, God was protecting me and my family. I still believe he is good, I can never believe different, but this is a challenge emotionally to my faith.

I have tired to go back to work. I have vacation, but there seems to be so much to get done. It is hard to concentrate at work, and I have quit the day earlier than usual. One day I worked from home and was productive Today, I came home to work and I just could not.

The grief is tiring in addition to the sleep I missed over the weekend. I am not breaking down now, but I do feel depressed and concentration is missing. Work has been supportive, but I am concerned about how long this will take and how much my performance might be effected. It is easy to make mistakes, when your in a fog.

Unfortunately, we are between churches right now and have been shopping for a new one. This makes it more difficult right now, as I don't have much community at the time. We don't have allot of close friends, but some and have received some support. But it does make me realize how much more I need community.

My dog Bella is fine. Her lips where swollen for a few days. We did decide to get a new dog. A 8-week old puppy. A boy who is a rescue. A mix of some kind of hound and terrier. His markings reminded me of my Pal. He is sweet and spunky, like my Pal. He keeps us busy. We are being very protective of him and will not allow him alone. Bella and Jackson are beginning to bond some. Little Jackson does indeed make us laugh. I do not expect him to be Pal, but I am happy he has some similarity.

I miss my Pal dearly.


Comments for Pal - Sweet Happy Boy 1.5 years old Lost in a Tragic Back Yard Accident

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Feb 14, 2017
I totally understand not being able to save your pet
by: Vickie Gibson

On October 22, 2016 we lost our Lady-Girl from a tragedy. She was 8 yrs old. Lady had been ill for 2 months and we spent back and forth with her to the vet. She would be on antibiotics and soon she finished with them she would be back to a high fever and couldn't walk on her back legs. On the morning of October 22, 2016 I gave Lady her antibiotic as usual a little peanut butter on a small piec of bread. The other dogs got peanut butter too. Lady started choking on it and I screamed for my husband. I tried rubbing her throat and he tried CPR too. We got out my sisters portable oyygen tank. I had tried too place her upside down to get her to cough it up. Her body became limp . I let her down for more oygen. My husband said shes gone. I said no shes not still giving her oxygen. I would not except she was gone. When I realized she was gone I got up screaming NO NO NO. I felt guilty because I gave her the medicine and shod of gotten a baster to put water down her throat to loosen it. That I didn't think of it till it was too late. I still cry it hurts really bad and its hard getting that scene out of my head. I believe she is in heaven too. Our loved pets are creaters of God. Noahs Ark had pets and I'm sure God doesn't say our pets cant be there. He is a loving God and knows how much they mean to us. A good book is "Cold noses at the pearl gates" by Gary Kurtz he has another book "Waggin tales in heaven" they give you assurance that our pets are in heaven waiting for us. Find those book on ebay or Amazon. You will like them. In sorrow with you, Vickie

Jul 15, 2016
"I believe we will see our pets"
by: Nadine

Monica, I like your comment. I also am a believer in Jesus and the Bible. I also would like to think animals go to heaven. Have you ever wondered what was God's real purpose in creating all the different animal species? Some are wild and some are tame. And some are rodents and insects but they all have a purpose here on earth because God doesn't make mistakes. Anyway, I love the Rainbow Bridge idea. When I get to heaven I hope to see my cats who have died come running to greet me. Of course the Lord and the saints and love ones will be my first line of order :) Keep the faith and you will be fine.

Jul 08, 2016
I believe we will see our pets
by: Anonymous

I believe that those who accept Jesus as Lord and hold that relationship with him are definitely going to heaven. If you are a Christian, then you might have heard that animals do not. The reason we need Jesus is because we need to choose God and choose truth. Animals can not do that. I have heard leaders say that animals don't go to heaven because they don't have a soul. But frankly, I don't think they know and I don't think there is proof of that. What I do know is God is good. He is life. Animals don't get to choose. Therefore, I don't think they are under the same rules. I know God cares for all his creation. His love has no bounds other than accepting Jesus when it comes to matters of eternity. Again, since they don't have that choice it just makes sense with who God is and logic, that they will be there.

Honestly, when I talk to God about it, I feel him saying "Don't worry. He is right here. He is happy and does not want you to worry". I also thought about his pain, which I am sure he experienced. Even with that I heard God say, this is just perspective. He is happy. It is the same as a woman giving birth. I know the woman experiences pain, I imagine the child does. But the bible says and us mothers know it is true, that the pain disappears instantly when we see our babies. I feel God said that death is like that with his believers and our pets. He still has them and is holding them. It is just a momentary thing. I do still miss him. It is 3 weeks now. Life is better, but not normal. I can focus. But sometimes I still cry over missing him. Thank you. God thank you for your blessings of our animals and thank you for holding them. I believe I will see my Pal again.


Jul 05, 2016
by: Anonymous

Oh, Monica,
I'm sad that you went through all this and lost Pal. My littlev tila is chihuahua, jack russell, and whippet. We rescued each other.

Just thinking about her mortality starts me sobbing. She's only 6! When I feel this , I consider spirituality. I hope I will see her on the other side, however, whenever we are parted here.

Holding you and Pal in my heart....


Jul 03, 2016
by: Monica

Thank you for the comments. I am doing better. Better at work and functioning. But my zest for life is gone. I am sure it will return in time and with God's grace.

Jun 28, 2016
So sorry
by: Anonymous

That certainly is a tragic story. We are tested all the time. I am glad you are finding joy with your new puppy, that helps.

Just know that none of this was your fault!! Guilt is stifling and hinders the healing process. Easier said than done...I know. I too struggle with guilt. All the sorrow will lessen with time.

Enjoy that new pup and know that God is good. He will provide!


Jun 28, 2016
So sorry for your loss
by: Kathy

You went through a horrible trauma trying to save your dog and feeling so helpless! So sorry you went through that. Thoughts and prayers for healing so that ,eventually, you only remember good, happy things in relation to your dog!

Jun 27, 2016
by: Nadine

Monica, I'm so sorry you lost your dear Pal. Our pets aren't just animals to us, they are family. I know how you feel. I couldn't believe how upset and depressed I got after I lost one of my cats, Ashley. She disappeared 3 years ago. She was an outside cat. She would sneak outside every chance she got and she liked to wander even though she was spayed. We fear she got attacked by coyotes in some nearby fields. I wore myself out looking for her daily. One day I broke down at work and started crying. We have lost a couple of other cats since then but that didn't affect me as much. I loved Ashley so much. All I can say is God puts that love in our hearts for a reason. Don't feel bad about it and don't feel guilty. Accidents happen every day. It is our faith that sees us through the hard times. It will take some time but you will heal.

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