Preparing for the Loss of Your Pet
a part of life that we'd all like to think we're mentally prepared
for. It's the way of nature, after all: When we adopt our pets, we
know on some level that we'll eventually have to make some difficult
decisions as they get older. We understand that, in most cases, we
will outlive our cats and dogs.
This matter-of-fact logic somehow escapes
us when the time comes to say goodbye to a cherished pet. Our animals
are capable of showing affection, making us laugh, cheering us up
but they are unable to tell us when they are sick or in pain. As our
pets age or become ill, we are often faced with the painful idea of
choosing to end our pets' suffering. The decision to euthanize a pet is
never an easy one feelings of guilt, grief, and anger are quite
common. Often, the grieving process begins before the end of a pet's life.
Coping with a Difficult Decision
During your pet's final weeks or months,
it's important to prepare yourself and your family for the complex
range of emotions that you will feel when let your pet go. Make sure
that you and your family know what to expect, and take a few extra steps
to make the most of your time with your pet:
- Talk to your vet - Your
pet's veterinarian understands how you are feeling, and he or she can
answer all of your questions about your pet's health and well-being. A
good vet should be willing to discuss the emotional aspects of
euthanasia with you and your family.
- Involve your family -
Everyone in the family should be consulted when deciding to euthanize a
pet. Discuss the decision together, and be sure that everyone
understands the reasons behind the decision. If you have young
children, you may not want to discuss euthanizing your family pet; some
younger children may not be ready for such a mature topic. Use your
best judgment based on your child's age and maturity level.
- Keep your emotions under control - Pets
are very sensitive to human emotion. It's natural to feel sad in
your pet's final days, but remember that your pet doesn't know what's
going on. If you are overcome with emotion, your pet may feel afraid,
confused, or stressed out. You'll have time to grieve later. Try to
keep your spirits up around your pet and focus on making him physically
and emotionally comfortable.
- Be realistic - It's
not easy to choose euthanasia for your pet, but it's important that
keep your pet's best interests at heart. If your pet is too sick or in
too much pain to enjoy a good quality of life, euthanasia is usually
the most humane decision you can make.
We all want our pets to live long and
healthy lives; we want them to have the best quality of life possible.
It's not easy to prepare for the loss of a faithful friend, but
knowing what to expect and accepting your feelings can help you and
your pet feel comforted in your remaining days together.