Losing a pet can be one of the most devastating events you ever experience. While some people may not fully understand how a pet is a part of your family, you should never feel ashamed about your emotions. How many times have you heard it’s “just a dog” or “just a cat?” Sometimes, you hear that even from your closest friends and family members.
At Cypress Veterinarian Clinic, we know that’s not the case. We just lost our most precious pet, Rambo fought a 21-month battle after he was diagnosed with bone cancer. He was adopted from animal control on April 9th 2005 as a 8-weeks-old puppy. Rambo, was a very special dog and we loved him greatly, held on long enough to see us after a 10-day trip to India. He passed away next day, peacefully at home, surrounded by close friends and family. Since we have experienced the loss of a pet and have seen others go through it, we thought we would share what we have learned.
The Decision To Put Your Pet To Sleep
A decision to put your animal to sleep is extremely difficult and one of the toughest to make in your life. As a loving pet owner, you only want what’s best for your animal and you want to make it as painless and peaceful as possible. Make sure you listen carefully to your veterinarian and collect all the facts so you can make an informed decision.
The Stages of Grief
The level of grief often depends on how old your pet is and how sudden the death is. For example, if your pet is old and sick then you might be more prepared than if your pet is young and gets sick suddenly. Although, sometimes the bond to an animal can increase if you cared for him or her through a long illness. Grief is a complicated emotion. You’ve might have heard about the seven stages of grief: shock, denial, bargaining, guilt, anger, depression, and acceptance. However, everybody does it a little bit differently; it is a highly individual experience. Some people find it comes in stages, others experience it in waves, and for some others it happens all at once.
Grief is often dependent on what role your animal played in your life. If your pet was your only companion, for example, then the grief can be more acute and coming to terms with your loss can be even harder.
Whatever you feel, you cannot rush your grief. There is validity in the saying ‘time will heal all wounds.’ That’s not to say that it will disappear completely, however, you will begin to feel better in a couple of weeks, months or sometimes even years. Whatever your grieving process is, don’t let anybody try to tell you how to feel or to ‘get over it.”
You might find it helpful to reach out to someone who has lost a pet. Ignoring or repressing your feelings doesn’t help you cope any better. It often helps to talk about it, especially if that person has gone through the same experience. There are support groups you can contact – Facebook groups and other online forums – or you can phone us at the clinic and we will be more than happy to help. Humans created funerals and other rituals to help them deal with loss. You might want to consider something similar for your pet. Creating a scrap book or another memorial can be fun and help you share your love with others.
Don’t Neglect Yourself
You want to make sure you look after yourself, during your grieving. It is a stressful time and you may feel low energy or irritable. Don’t be afraid to ask your boss for some time off work. Explain to him or her how important your pet was to you. Do whatever it takes to make sure you eat and sleep well. Above all remember the fun times and the enjoyment you and your animal shared together. Pets are the most precious things in life and should be treasured above all.
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