Your veterinarian is usually the best judge. Even though they may sometimes appear to not understand your feelings, you can be absolutely sure that they will not advise euthanization if there is any alternative.
However, you must be the final judge. Many people want to keep a terminally ill pet, long after all hope of good health or normal activity is gone. Many find comfort in providing constant care and medication as long as possible. If the pet is clearly in constant pain, undergoing difficult and stressful treatments, unresponsive to affection and even seemingly unaware of its surroundings, a caring pet owner will make the decision to end this companions suffering.
Evaluate your pets health honestly and unselfishly with your veterinarian. Nothing can make this decision an easy one, but it is the final act of love that you can make for your pet.
Many pet owners feel that this is the ultimate gesture of love and comfort that you can perform for your pet. The last touch they feel is mine, the last voice they hear is mine, wrote Pat of Pennsylvania. Some pet owners have felt relief and comfort by staying. They were able to see for themselves that it passed gently and peacefully and that it was truly gone. For many, not witnessing the death and perhaps not viewing the body afterwards, made it difficult for them to accept in their hearts that the pet was really dead, and more difficult to deal with the grief later.
On the other hand, this is a traumatic ordeal and you must ask yourself honestly whether you are emotionally prepared to handle it. If you feel that the answer is no, you may wish to stay away. If your emotions are not in control, you are more likely to upset your pet than comfort it. These emotions are natural, and must be considered before you make the decision. Discuss your feelings and values with your veterinarian. If you feel strongly about staying and your vet is unwilling to permit it, you may wish to have the euthanasia done elsewhere.
Some pet owners prefer to have their pets euthanized at home, and some veterinarians are willing to provide this service. Others have come our to their pet owner’s car to administer the injection. Again, discuss these options with your veterinarian.
Once your pet has been put to sleep (or passed away of natural causes), you face the question of how to handle its remains. When you are upset and grieving, it may seem easiest to leave the pet at the clinic, and allow the vet to dispose of it. Some have done this and have been satisfied; however, many have regrets because they never know how the disposal was made.
Home burial is a common choice. It is economical, and you may like the feeling that your pet is near you in the surroundings it loved. However, city regulations usually prohibit pet burials and this is not a good choice if you rent, or move frequently.
To many, a pet cemetary provides a sense of permanence and security, and offers a satisfying formality and dignity to pet burial. Owners appreciate the serene surroundings and care of the grave site. Cemetary costs vary depending on which of the wide range of services you select.
Cremation is an inexpensive option that allows you to handle your pets remains as you wish; bury them (even in the city), scatter them, leave them in the columbium, or keep them in a decorative urn.
It’s so hard to accept this and other people do not seem to understand.
Intense grief over the loss of a pet is completely normal and natural. Every pet owner who considers a pet a beloved friend and companion, a true family member, goes through exactly what you are going through now. You are not being overly sentimental, or weak, or foolish to grieve.
You have spent 10 or 15 years or even longer with this pet. During that time, the pet was a constant part of your life, always ready to give you love, comfort, and companionship. Pets provide unconditional , non-judgmental love. So don’t be surprised if you feel devastated by the ending of such a powerful relationship, however long or brief. Other people who don’t understand the pet/owner relationship may not understand your pain. That doesn’t matter. All that matters is what you feel. Those feelings are valid and can be extremely painful. You are not alone, though; hundreds of thousands of people have felt what you feel, and go through these feelings over and over again as they build new loving relationships with new pets.
The most important step that you can take is to be honest with yourself about what you are feeling. Don’t deny that you are feeling pain, or that you feel guilty or angry. Only by looking at these feelings and coming to terms with them can you begin to work through them.
Yes! Someone you love has died, and you are going to feel alone, bereaved.
Certainly! Acknowledge those feelings first then begin to ask whether the facts justify them.
Locking away grief doesn’t make it go away. Instead, express it. Cry, scream, pound the floor, take it out, do whatever helps you most. Some people seek to avoid grief by trying not to think about the departed pet, but reminisce about the good times that caused you to sorrow. This will help you understand what the pet meant to you and what its loss means to you. Pet owners have found it is helpful to express their memories and feelings in poems, stories, or letters. Other coping techniques include rearranging your schedule to fill in the times you would have spent with you pet; removing the pets things from sight (though some find keeping things is important too); preparing some sort of physical memorial such as a photo collage; and talking to people about your loss.
Many people who say I’ll never go through this again – or I’ll never become so attached to another pet are forgetting all of the years of pleasure and companionship their animal provided that caused this temporary grief over their loss. And indeed it need be only temporary because much of the love you feel for that animal can be replaced with another pet.
Just as you react to the loss of a family member, your other pets are bound to notice the absence of their companion and friend. Pets observe every change in the household; the absence of a family member, the rearrangement of furniture, a new object. Certainly they’re going to realize that someone is missing! Pets often form strong attachments to one another, so you may find that the survivor of a bonded pair grieves very strongly for its companion. Cats grieve for missing dogs, dogs grieve for missing cats.
You may need to give the surviving pet a great deal of extra attention and love to help them through this period. You may also find, however, that this helps you through your own sorrow more quickly than you ever expected.
It is not a good idea to get a look alike pet. Comparisons become all the more likely when an animal looks exactly like the one that is gone. Often, getting a look alike pet is a sign that you haven’t accepted the loss of your companion and are trying to replace it. A new pet should never be a replacement; it should be acquired for its own sake, to be loved and accepted for its own qualities. Select an animal that you can build another long-lasting loving relationship with – because this is what getting a new pet is all about.