Saying goodbye to your beloved pet can be one of the most difficult times a pet lover will experience. People who do not own a pet, do not understand the bond pet owners have with their best four-legged friends. Many people will grieve and mourn for many months, even years. As pet owners know, your animals are there for you no matter the circumstance. Unconditional love is often used to describe the way pets commit to their owners.
So, how does one deal with the loss of a pet or even worse, having to decide to have your pet put down to minimize its’ suffering? Some people may have a dog in their life for as long as 15 years or longer. Cats can last into their twenties, so saying a final goodbye is something owners tend to avoid. If you love your pet, you will do almost anything to prevent them from dying. Unfortunately, we all die one day, but pets have an option that is not available to humans in most states; euthanasia. The process of letting the dog or cat cross over the Rainbow Bridge in peace and with minimal pain or anxiety. Here are some tips that may help ease your pain when losing a pet.
- Waiting too long can be painful to you and your pet. In our hearts, we know our pet is coming to the end of its’ time with us. They will have some really bad days and you must prepare yourself to take them in and have them put down. But then, they will have a really good day and you think, okay, I’ll wait. There is nothing wrong with waiting, but there will come a time when waiting is no longer an option. You will know when that time has come.
- Don’t drop and run. Many people cannot bear to watch their beloved pet crossover. They will bring their pet to their veterinarian or to Halifax Humane Society, and then leave after saying goodbye before the procedure. You should stay and comfort your pet. This is a very scary time for them and leaving at their time of need because you can’t handle it isn’t fair to your pet. They need you to place your hands on them and comfort them as they begin their journey. You will be crying the entire time but leaving your pet alone is very scary for them. I imagine they might say, “Where’s mom? Where’s dad? I’m scared.” Don’t leave them when they need you most.
- DO NOT DUMP YOUR PET IN A FOREST OR A FARM! Some people can’t handle the passing of their pet so much so, that they will avoid the veterinarian altogether and abandon the animal in a rural area. This is so wrong. For some reason these owners convince themselves that their pet is still alive and free in the forest having a great time, which is ridiculous. Or, the owner cannot afford to have their pet put down by their veterinarian and they dump the pet to avoid the expense. HHS offers low cost euthanasia services for owners so there really is no excuse to properly care for your pet with the last and most important stage of their life; their passing.
- How to cope with the loss. There are different viewpoints on this process which vary from person to person. Some will grieve so much that they will never have pet again. Some will wait several years, while others will go out to the shelters and rescues and find another pet within just weeks or even days. Some people cannot commit to another pet right away but miss the company of being around a dog or a cat. These people can volunteer at HHS or a rescue to socialize with the dogs and cats. The animals love the attention and you will feel much better as well. Just be forewarned, you might just find your next best buddy in the process and ready or not, they will become part of your family and the cycle begins again.
Your pets are your family. Treat them as such. You can never replace the cat you had in your life for twenty years, but you can love them to the very end giving them the dignity and respect they deserve. When it is time for a new family member, remember to adopt, don’t shop.