Probably one of the most stressful and heart wrenching experiences for many animal lovers is dealing with the death and dying process of their animal friend. Sometimes this occurs quickly due to a sudden illness or accident. At other times it is a slow process that involves a continual decline in health.
There are many questions that can arise:
These are not easy questions to answer, and only you can decide. What I can share with you is that your pet is able to answer most of these questions. I have learned over the years not to judge the decisions that people make in this situation.
If there are young children in the family it is important to consider what they are able to understand. Children can take on a belief that they were somehow responsible for the animal’s decline or death. They can even do this when their parents divorce or separate. How we explain this to a child generally involves our personal belief system, and what the child is capable of understanding.
When I was researching the resources section of this book I discovered in-depth information concerning children and the loss of a pet. Some of the resources have discussions on heaven, and whether or not animals have souls. All of the sites recommend that children be involved in the decisions that we make regarding our dear animal companions. This of course depends on their age and their ability to understand.
The www.HelpGuide.org website is actually devoted to the mental, emotional and social health of adults. There is an excellent section on "Coping with Losing a Pet" with wonderful information on how to assist children with this process.
Both www.RainbowBridge.com and www.PetLoss.com have on-line grief support communities. There are numerous ways to assist and help with our grief, including articles that can be read, chat rooms and grief support.
Recently I learned from a client that Hospice of the Valley in Arizona offers grief support at no charge. They offer in-person and virtual including pet loss. For information you would need to check your area and visit their website.
Several years ago my dear cat Bo, short for Bojo, became quickly and obviously very ill. This beloved companion was nicknamed the Buddha by a friend because of his calm and soulful demeanor. One Sunday evening he walked into the kitchen, and I watched his back legs collapse from underneath him. I sat on the floor sobbing (balling my eyes out), because I immediately knew something was terribly wrong.
The next day we went to the vet, and the news was dire. Bo allowed himself to suddenly show me, as I looked into his soulful eyes, how much pain and discomfort he was in. I then called a highly recommended vet for home euthanasia. I suggested we do it in two days. If Bo appeared to be somewhat comfortable then we, and this included his dear kitty friend Sunshine, could all have two more days together.
However, by that evening I knew we could not wait an extra day. I called the vet, and there was an opening for noon the next day. That, my dear readers, was one of the longest nights of my life.
“An animal’s eyes have the power to speak a great language.”
Love & Miracles,
& SRT Practitioner