Dealing with Pet Loss
It’s always a time for many decisions and questions: » In some situations, there is the question of euthanasia – when is the right time?
» How will I take care of my pet’s remains?
» How will I memorialize my loved one?
» How will I talk to my children about what is going on? We’ll try to help you with some basic information, because we know that the anticipation of a death and the burden of grief can be hard.
DO I HAVE TO MAKE A DECISION TO EUTHANIZE?
Death usually comes with great difficulty after a lengthy illness, often with pain and debilitation. Each illness is different as it progresses, and your pet may experience an array of signs such as weight loss, difficulty breathing, nausea, pain, mobility problems, bleeding, and many others. A “natural death” is often cruel and painful to your pet. The decision to euthanize relieves your pet of the final suffering that accompanies many diseases. Once the reality of the impending death is accepted, the decision to euthanize can be your final gift to your beloved family member.
WHAT IS EUTHANASIA?
It is a deliberate decision to end a life in order to relieve suffering. We usually give an initial sedative injection to allow our patient to slowly relax and to relieve any anxiety they may have. In a few minutes, the final injection of a rapidly acting drug that quickly and painlessly stops the heart is given.
WHAT HAPPENS TO MY PET’S REMAINS?
In our area, you have several choices regarding the disposal of your pet’s remains:
- Burial at Home – if you would like to take your pet home and bury them, please do so. Pay careful attention to preparing the gravesite for your beloved pet.
- Hospital Disposal – you can leave your pet with us, and we will take care of them for you.
- Individual Cremation – you can have your pet individually cremated and their ashes returned to you in an appropriate container.
WHY AM I SO SAD?
Grief can be overwhelming. It may help to know that we all travel the same path when we have lost anything very precious to us. The most common emotions most of us experience are:
» Shock and denial – disbelief that the loss is real
» Anger – directed at yourself, your friends, your family, or at the world in general
» Bargaining – what can I do that will bring them back?
» Depression – sadness, loss of appetite, many tears
» Acceptance – moving forward with the happy memories of your pet
Losing a loved one is a painful experience, and the loss of a pet is no exception. Pets hold a very special place in our lives and hearts. They provide an unconditional love that gives us the comfort and companionship we need. Pets share a large part of our daily lives, and we may not fully realize this until they are no longer with us.
Their routines are interwoven into our daily schedules, and when they are gone it leaves a void in our lives. At first the grief is very strong, but as time goes on, the grief will diminish and the good memories will become stronger. Give yourself time to process the grief, and understand that your feelings are real and valid. Even if someone else doesn’t understand your feelings, it’s OK. Only you can understand the intensity of the bond you had with your pet. Our doctors and staff understand, and we will always be available to help you through this process.
You’re not alone in your grief. We hope you find the links below of some additional comfort:Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement