One morning earlier this year, I kissed my baby boy goodbye as I left for work. I had no idea it would be for the last time.
Petey was our world – and, just so we’re clear, he was our darling dog. My fiancé Christian and I don’t have children, but Petey was just as much part of the family as they would be. It’s so hard to talk about what happened, even now, but I’m doing so in the hope it will stop this happening to anyone else.
I’ll never forget the day it happened – February 19. Christian got home from work first and was surprised when Petey didn’t rush to greet him like he usually did. As he went further into our home, he saw our sweet boy lying lifeless on the floor, a potato chip bag over his head.
We’ll blame ourselves for this forever.
In the US, three to five suffocations are reported each week. Almost half happen when the owner is in the next room
Petey had eaten all the potato chips from the bag and then tried to get the crumbs out too. As he put his head further in, each time he inhaled it brought the bag tighter around his head until he suffocated.
I have no idea why Petey couldn’t get the bag off his head using his paws. He was a really smart dog. But apparently, it’s not an uncommon occurrence. I did some research and found that, in the US, around three to five suffocations are reported each week. Almost half of these happen when the dog’s owner is right in the next room. And it only takes around three minutes for their oxygen levels to drop to fatal levels.
So I was surprised I’d never heard any warnings before, or that there was so little awareness out there. It seems that, as with us, most owners don’t realize it can happen – until it does.
There’s no way I can fully describe the sadness, guilt or emptiness we felt after losing Petey
That’s why I wanted to share our story – to warn every pet owner of the dangers. Potato chip bags, cereal bags, bread wrappers, popcorn bags and dog/cat treat bags are the most common culprits. Please, be careful about leaving these – or any bag – lying out around your home where your pet can find them.
I hope none of you ever experience this heartbreak. There’s just no way I can fully describe the sadness, guilt or emptiness we felt after losing Petey. He made us into a real family and was always there to make us feel better. He made getting up in the mornings easier and greeted us at the end of every long day.
Everyone in the family loved Petey. Each of them had a special bond with him. We’ve all mourned Petey’s loss and I’m grateful they were there to help us through it.
If you’ve never had a deep connection with an animal, I know this story might seem silly. You probably can’t understand how broken we felt to lose our boy. But to us, he wasn’t a ‘pet’. He was our baby and our loyal companion
I still struggle with losing him every single day. I think the hardest part is how mindless it was.
A friend shared a quote with me that said: “Dogs come into our lives to teach us how to love, and they depart from our lives to teach us about loss. And until you have loved a dog this way, part of your soul remains unawakened.” Petey, even though we are heartbroken, we’re thankful you came to awaken our souls completely.
Petey was with us for just a short 1.5 years. I still struggle with losing him every single day. I think the hardest part is just how mindless it was. And even though I know, I know it was a freak accident…it wasn’t our fault…I can’t help but think how if one of us had taken just a couple of seconds to put the chips away, it would never have happened. “If only…” will haunt me forever.
But there is some light in our lives again. Around a month after we lost Petey, Christian and I agreed we just couldn’t cope with the feeling of emptiness and loneliness in our home. We talked it through and agreed we should adopt again.
And so Ziggy came into our lives. Our new boy is completely different to Petey – his personality is all his own. But, at the same time, he reminds us of him in many ways. Ziggy isn’t a replacement for Petey, but he has been instrumental in the healing process. I don’t think I could have gotten through the past few months without him.
Petey, you were my best friend. I will always love you, miss you, and mourn you. I would give anything to do that day all over again so we could have him back. But hearing of how his story has made others from all over the world more cautious about this has helped us to accept that #PeteysPurpose was far greater than we could have ever imagined.