Wednesday, July 15, 2020

What the death of Piper taught me about collars

It was a late night on July 12, 2020. Me and my Mom were talking in her room, my sisters were doing whatever they do in their rooms, and my two dogs, Moe and Piper, were playing with each other in the backyard.

Like any ordinary owner, we had collars on both of them. They had our phone numbers on them in case one or both of them escaped and someone found them.

What we didn't know was how dangerous these common accessories are.

As we were doing our thing, my sister came upstairs and informed us that the dogs were making an odd and scary noise. Obviously this was concerning. What was going on? Did another animal jump into our yard? Was someone trying to break into our house?

We went outside and saw, in horror, Moe on top of Piper. At first, we thought he was playing way too hard and hurting Piper. We tried to get him away from her, and realized that Moe's tooth was stuck on Piper's collar.

We didn't know what to do. Moe was scared, Piper was on the floor, Mom ran to the neighbors to get help, and Angel tried to get Moe off to no avail. I ultimately ended up on the floor with them, trying to get Moe to calm down, and trying to figure out how to get them unstuck.

Ultimately, the solution was getting the collars off of them, which our neighbor, who was a bit more level-headed then our panicked selves could figure out. By the time that was done, it was over. Moe ran into the house in fear, and Piper was on the floor, motionless. Gone.

At first, I couldn't believe it. We only had her for a few months. How is Moe going to react to his best friend being gone? How is my little sister going to react to one of the dogs being gone? She already experienced the loss of Bessie, even though she doesn't really comprehend the concept of death yet. What are we going to tell Dad and Julian?

What are we going to tell Piper's previous owners?

I'm still having a hard time accepting that this happened. This feeling of sadness is different than what I experienced before. Last time, it was easier to move forward, knowing that Bessie lived a full and happy life. This time, this sadness is paired with guilt.

Even though Piper's previous owners forgave us, and harbors no hard feelings towards us, I still feel like we betrayed their trust. I'm still kicking myself for not realizing we should take the collars off in the first place, even knowing that Piper's neck was likely already broken when we found them.

I know I shouldn't blame myself. But I can't help it. I want her back.

After that, I went to Google to see if this is something other people have experienced. Of course, there is a term for what happened. Piper was a victim of "Collar Strangulation", a threat I had no idea existed, and something I deeply wish someone told me about before. We purchased a break-away collar for Moe, and once we're ready to get him a new pal, they will get one as well. I refuse to ever lose another dog this way ever again.

Rest in Peace, Piper. I wish you could have lived your full life.


  1. I am so very sorry for your loss! I have never heard of this either and nobody should have to go through something like this! Very well written and very emotional. Thank you for sharing.

    Carolyn P

  2. Im so very sorry I never thought about that happening.

  3. I’m so so sorry for your loss!!
    Praying for you & your family!! It is
    So difficult to lose a fur kids!!

  4. I've never heard of such a thing for a dog I knew it was a thing for cats and always use Breakaway collars on my cat so sorry to hear of the loss of your doggy.