Gentle Care Animal Hospital

Gentle Care Animal Hospital

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Dealing with Losing a Pet

Nobody wants to go through it, but at some point in our lives it is inevitable. Pets are now a part of many families and are loved like a child. Many memories are created and when your pet passes it is a very emotional time.

As your pet ages or has an ailment, there are many decisions and veterinary visits to make. At Gentle Care Animal Hospital, we are here every step of the way.

No matter how old or sick your pet is, there are a few important things to remember when making the decision for humane euthanasia. You have many memories of your pet and he has been there for you during all the ups and downs. Now it is your turn to be there for him. Always keep in mind your pet's quality of life. Is he still able to do all of the things that he loves? Make sure that you are holding on to your pet for your pet and not for yourself.

Although it is a very difficult decision to make it may be the best gift that you can give your pet. Once ready to make the decision to "put your pet to sleep", we can help you through the process. To prepare, I recommend that you spend the last day doing all of the things that your pet loves like taking a walk, going to the park, a long car ride, favorite treats, belly scratches and maybe some special food that he only got on special occasions. Make sure that you make the last memories good ones.

Call us to make an appointment. We are always able to accommodate you and your schedule. Think about what you would like to do with your pet's remains ahead of time. You can elect to take your pet home, communal cremation, or individual cremation. With communal cremation you will not get your pet's ashes returned. If you chose individual cremation, your pet's ashes will be returned to you within a couple of days. You can also get a clay foot print made. There are even some companies that can make that footprint into a necklace charm. It is a good way to always have your pet close to your heart.

At the office a trained veterinary technician will place an intravenous catheter in your pet and this will help the process go smoother. Your pet will receive an injection of a combination sedative, muscle relaxer and pain reliever and simply fall asleep. It is painless and quick. Some pet parents do not want to be present for the final process and that is completely okay. It is up to you.

Now that you are home and grieving, what can you do to keep your pet's memory alive? Personally I created a slide show of pictures of my cat. It helped me remember how happy, loving and sweet he was and allowed me to create a life story for him. Although it did not make me miss him less it allowed me to move on and let him rest. Other people have created a collage of their pet or spread his/her ashes at their pet's favorite places. I believe that you can find the best way for you to remember your pet. You can take the clay footprint that you had made and create an ornament or wall hanging. It is okay and very natural to grieve because your pet was a huge part of your life and family.

Although you aren't thinking about it right away, the question may come as to when to get another pet. The thing to remember is that you will never replace your previous pet but can get another that will likely be very different and that you can create new memories with. Some people need months and even years to be able get a new pet. Others need a new pet right away. For me, it was less than two months after I had lost my cat Buzz. I was still sleeping with his picture at night when my cat Tye found me. I was working at a veterinary clinic in Pennsylvania when I walked in to find a cute little orange kitten staring at me. I instantly got a feeling that I would be taking him home. He was found outside a school, covered in fleas and very cold. I didn't think I was ready for him but I went home that night and thought about Buzz. The next morning when I went into work to take care of the kitten he licked and then head butted my chin. It was then that I knew I would be taking him home because Buzz did that to me every morning! Your sign or story will likely be very different from mine but a new pet will be there for you to love and spoil will find you even if you didn't think you were ready!
For more information or to speak with a pet grief counselor please refer to North Carolina State Veterinary Teach Hopsital pet grief website. On this page you will find comforting books and other resources.

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