...It reminded me of the guilt I still carry with one of our dogs we had when I was in 5th grade. Her name was Fica- she was a poodle terrier mix and looked like a medium sized Irish wolf hound. We had adopted her and had her only about a year. This was back in the day where kids roamed free my best friend, sister, myself and Fica my dog would ride our bikes around the neighborhood. Fica was often off leash. She would always ride by my side and not wander...
...Even though I was just a kid I still feel very guilty going on that busy road without a leash and calling her without looking back. I still can cry a river over her even so many years later.
I can see how this memory would upset you even now but as you say, you were a child. You would've been about ten, I think. Fica clearly loved you and your tears honour her memory. I hope the guilt you feel has grown gentler with time.
For myself, I wish I'd known about pain management with my first dog, my beagle boy. I thought he was slowing down from age. I took him in regularly to my vet for checkups but somehow, I ended up losing him suddenly due to multiple organ failure (he was 12). I took him in because he was a bit off with eating and casually mentioned something else which sent my vet into alert. I knew then something big was wrong. When he phoned with the test results, I cried and cried. I asked for one more day with him. My vet clearly didn't think that was a good idea but said yes. Knowing what I know now, I shouldn't have taken the risk of putting my dog in pain but back then I just couldn't face the reality right away.
I did manage to think ahead to discuss and pay for the procedure in advance. That was when they suggested pain medication. When I gave him the first dose, he turned into a puppy, so playful and energetic. We had a fabulous, heartbreaking day together. It could've been a rally but it still hurts my heart to think pain must've contributed to him slowing down. How long was he in pain? Days? Months? Longer? I don't know.
I'm far more proactive with my dogs now because of him.