From the moment you take your new furry family member home with you, there is one reality that nobody can escape: in the best of circumstances and if everything goes as planned, one day you will say goodbye to your beloved pet.
Preparing for the loss of a pet can help you make difficult choices to care for your pet at the end of his life. Nobody would argue that this is the most difficult part of owning a pet. However, when you enter this last stage of care with a plan in mind, then, at the end of it all you’ll have known that you made the right and most caring decisions for your pet.
The Anticipation of Losing a Loved One
The anticipation of a day you’ve dreaded for a long time is only understood by those who’ve gone through it and can be cripplingly painful. Some say that the anticipation can be worse than the actual passing of the pet. To prepare for this profound loss it is helpful to become as mentally and emotionally prepared as you can be. Nothing will remove the pains and grief coming, but coping with and processing them as they develop can help to take the edge off. Let’s discuss a few things that can help you to prepare for the loss of your pet.
Spending Time with your Pet
Knowing that there is a goodbye ahead, spending time with your pet can be bittersweet. But it is helpful for you to know that in the end you have no regrets about how you spent time together in your pets’ final days. On the contrary, you’ll know that you made the best out of the time that remained. You and your pet will have created new memories, likely good ones to cherish forever. You’ll have a lot of memories of when the pet was healthy or youthful, but the new memories made together now will hit you differently because of the circumstances involved.
Allow Yourself to Grieve over the Loss of Your Pet
Generally speaking, society at large doesn’t treat the passing of a pet the same as it would a human family member. Perhaps this stems from a time when animals were used more for utility rather than family members. Some people don’t feel comfortable about becoming emotional over the coming loss of their pet. As if they’re feeling things that they shouldn’t or are being more emotional about it than they should be. However, it makes sense that a pet that you share such a special bond with would elicit many emotions when you lose them . When it comes to grief, there are no rules.. It’s okay to become emotional. It’s healthy and natural for you to process your emotions rather than trying to hide or dismiss them.
Fellow Pet Owners Understand what You are Going Through
Nobody will understand the pains you’re going through and are going to have to face more than your fellow pet owners. We have experienced our own pet loss ourselves. Other pet owners will give you the most understanding and support through these troubling times. Having someone that you can talk to can be a great help both mentally and emotionally. Alternatively, in the chance that you don’t know anyone who has either lost or owned a pet, someone close to you who knows how much you love your pet would also be a great choice as someone to whom you can turn. If you are looking to connect with other pet owners grieving the loss of their pet, or anticipating the grief of losing a pet, join our Facebook Pet Loss Grief Support Group.
Prioritizing Your Pet’s Comfort
Who doesn’t want to be comfortable anyhow, right? Prioritizing your pet’s comfort helps both of you. Comfortability for your pet is important and desirable under normal circumstances and all the more so when ill or failing. But for you, it’s important for other reasons. Mainly, you know you did your utmost in the twilight of your pets days and moments. Fears of spoiling the pet should be tossed out the window, and extra efforts to appease, treat, or comfort your pet will be beneficial to both you and your pet.
Hard Decisions are Best Made when Calm
When it comes to preparing for the loss of a pet, there are a host of decisions to be made. How would you like to say goodbye? Who would you like to be present when the time comes? What memorial options will you choose?
When making arrangements, you may also think of anyone who would like to visit the pet before final goodbyes. For example, adult children who grew up with them may want to make one last visit. Making these decisions is hard, but it’s usually even more difficult the closer you wait until the actual loss of your pet. Being prepared for the loss of a pet includes taking the steps to make decisions and arrangements earlier on so that you can have things play out in a way that is special and unique to your own desires for your pet. Despite how difficult it can be to think about all of these factors, you may find that the stress of everything lifts with every base you cover, and every step that you take. Not necessarily the heartache of it all, but at least the stress.
When you Need Help Saying Goodbye
Nobody wants to say goodbye to their beloved pet because it is truly a heartbreaking experience. However, when you turn to people who understand every step of the process, including what you’re going through, it can be extremely helpful both mentally and emotionally. This is one of the things that makes Caring Pathways different from other establishments that are in the business of helping out those who are in need during such a tumultuous time. Not only are we accustomed to working with people through each step of the process of saying goodbye to their loved one, but we also offer grief support to those who need it before, during, and after the passing of the pet.
If you would like to learn more about our team, click here. We offer many services including but not limited to in-home pet hospice care, in-home euthanasia, body care, cremation, burial, and memorial keepsakes. Saying goodbye to a pet is one of the toughest decisions you may ever make, but with help from people who are experienced with what you’re going through, this process can be peaceful, leaving you to spend what time remains with your loved one.
This is a topic that nobody ever wants to face. It is better to be prepared and take control of the things that are under your control, while taking the hits that come from the things that are out of your control. Do you have an aging or a terminally ill pet that you feel is nearing the end of its days? If so, remember that the feelings and emotions you’re experiencing are perfectly normal, and you’re not overreacting or experiencing feelings out of turn. Prepare yourself for the unavoidable loss that is on the horizon, and establish practices that will leave you with a beautiful end to your pet’s journey.
Written by: Tina P., Client Care Team Member and Field Service Team Member
Tina was born in Wyoming, but has lived most of her life in beautiful Colorado and unequivocally calls it home. She is happily married to her husband, and blessed with two beautiful daughters. You can find them camping, fishing, dirt biking, and exploring the great outdoors. Their fur babies often tag along: a Mini Aussie Oliver, their Great Pyrenees, Macy, and last but not least, Theodore, an Aussie Heeler mix. Tina Developed a love for animals early on in life, spending hours with her horses and the surrounding wildlife at her grandparents’ ranch in Blue Mesa, Colorado. She attended an ROTC program in Fort Carson, Colorado, and went on to earn her Applied Science degree in nursing. However, life has brought her full-circle back to her love for animals. She is honored to be a part of Caring Pathways, taking the steps necessary to pursue a lifelong career in the veterinary field.