Angela Allen of Kelowna and her husband, Ian, are grief-stricken over the loss of their kitten, Gus.
Heartbroken, Allen can't turn back the clock and bring Gus back, but she's sharing her painful story in hopes of keeping others from losing their pets the same way.
Still reeling from the event and filled with remorse, Allen says she and her husband, Ian, brought Gus home from the SPCA shortly before Christmas. The eight-week-old black kitten immediately took hold of their hearts and became a much-loved member of the family.
On Monday, Allen was doing housework. One of the tasks that day was to change the bed sheets, which she placed in front of the front-loading washing machine.
She left the door to the washing machine open and tackled other chores. Later, she returned to the washing machine to do the laundry.
"I had multiple things going on and without checking, and being in a hurry, I quickly threw the sheets in (the washing machine)," she said, her voice cracking. "I didn't check."
She then started the machine and went to make supper for her husband, who was coming home from work.
About 25 minutes passed, and Ian asked where Gus was, because the kitten usually was running around the house when he got home.
"At that moment, I had a very sick feeling in my stomach," said Allen. "I don't know why - I intuitively went to the washing machine. I removed a sheet and saw his limp, lifeless leg.
"I was in hysterics."
Allen called her husband, who removed the kitten from the washing machine.
"It was extremely traumatic for us," she said. "We both deeply loved our cat. We feel it was a preventable death."
Allen and her husband are animals lovers who have had many pets over the years, and the shock and sorrow of the accident has affected them both.
Despite feeling ashamed, Allen decided to tell her story.
"I wanted to try and bring awareness to this issue," she said. "It can easily happen."
Allen posted her story on Facebook and quickly heard from many other people who had lost, or nearly lost, a pet in a similar manner.
A quick Internet search shows Allen is not alone, with numerous cases of similar accidents posted by grieving pet owners.
"If we can prevent this from happening again, then Gus will not have died in vain," she said.