Throughout the years, I have owned many dogs yet, It is only very recently that I realized how much of a role a pet has played in my life. I cannot recall ever crying over my dogs as they passed away. Most died with out me around and also suddenly, and so I think that had something to do with me being able to control my emotions when they finally crossed over. Recently though, reality hit me when my latest dog was given a terminal diagnosis. I’ve oddly been dealing with it very different than the rest of the pets I have ever owned. Why have I been so emotional lately though? I believe it’s because she has been right at my side through most of the toughest times of my life – the death of a child, illnesses of my own, court dealings and also various changes in my life – and so I hold a perhaps larger connection and love for her that I had not had with any of the others.
Many of us see our pets just as our children. And so it hurts just as much to see them in pain, to know that they are dying, and that there is nothing that you can do or say to change what’s going to eventually happen. No one wants to hear that they will soon have to have their loved pet euthanized, or that they will die fairly soon. But when that time comes, there are a few tips you can utilize to prepare for the situation a bit better. These tips have helped me thus far.
- Spend your time loving on your pet. Try to take advantage of whatever time you have left. Take photos or make a video together, treat your pet to something special – a visit to the park, a snack or awesome rub downs. Set aside some quality time with them doing whatever they appreciate most. Show them that you love and care for them.
- Get your mind prepared for the future. It will be hard to accept that your “furbaby” will soon be gone. Everyone grieves differently. Allow your emotions to run it’s course and surrounding yourself around others that will be understanding of your pain and support you throughout the process is important, healing and helpful.
- Start arrangements. Do you know what you want to do with your pet after they pass on? There may be many options – such as burial at home or in a pet cemetery, cremation, or disposal by your veterinary office. The sooner you know what you want to do, the smoother the process will become when the time arrives.
- Have children? Talk to them too. You will not be the only one dealing with the loss of your pet. Explain to them what to expect, and how you will get through it together.
- Consider collecting mementos. This may include a lock of fur, a paw-print, preparing a scrapbook or photo or video album.
- Talk to your vet. Have them explain to you what to expect, what signs to watch out for, the process of euthanization, and what will happen soon after. Reach out to the office for any concerns you may have to make your pet’s transition a peaceful one and as painless as possible.
- Realize when to “let go.” Don’t allow your loved one to suffer just because you don’t want to have to deal with life without them. Make sure you have your pet’s best interests first in all that you choose to do, and do not be selfish with your own wants for them to exist with greatly diminished or no quality of life.
- Have faith. Whatever your religion or beliefs about the afterlife are, lean towards them for added comfort and understanding. When health issues become too much for your pet to bare, they will eventually pass on and no longer having pain or suffering just may be the best thing for them.
Have you had to deal with a expected loss of a pet? How did you get through the process? Share your stories with me in the comment section. Thanks for reading!