The scenario’s not uncommon: You left an industrial-sized bar of baking chocolate out on the counter. You fed her the leftovers of that spicy oxtail stew. You were careless with an open bottle of Aleve. Or worse…you ran her over in the driveway.

Yeah, sometimes the guilt can be unbearable. It makes you want to do anything to save the pet you’re at fault for having crippled or poisoned—even if reason tells you there’s nothing more that can be done...and that you really shouldn't beat yourself up about it.

I see it all the time. Heck—I’ve been there. Several years past I was present at a barbecue at which my own dog drowned—as in, irretrievably lost as a result of my own negligence. I know the guilt can seem insurmountable—probably because in many cases it is.

In these instances there often seems nothing that can excuse us for our misdeeds and/or sins of omission.

Ever since I became a member of this club I began to observe clients, friends and family who were responsible for accidents like this. (And they are accidents. After all, no one sits in a La-Z-Boy recliner knowing their ten week-old kitten is stuck in its inner workings.)

Most of us experience such tremendous guilt we know we’ll never completely get over it. Indeed, even the neighbor’s cat I ran over when I was a sixteen year-old, newbie driver figures prominently in my nightmares, á la Stephen King.

So what is a vet to do when faced with owners willing to spend their every last dime on ten days in an ICU on a ventilator after running over their own dog?…when there’s nothing more to be done...

As this week’s case with the horrific driveway moment proves, all you can do is fess up to your own negligence, bring in your staff to tell their own Advil nightmares and crushing scenarios, and hope they can let their pet go…because she deserves the very best…and that doesn’t always include a ventilator.