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Living Together
Saying Goodbye

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Although there is much joy in having a pet, there is also heartbreak at the end of their life. Most people struggle with the thought of losing their beloved pet, and having to say goodbye can be one of the most difficult decisions you will have to face. We all hope our aged pets will pass peacefully in their sleep, but often we have to make the painful decision to assist them in their final journey. Whatever the case may be, dealing with the loss can be exceedingly difficult.

Choosing euthanasia

Many pet owners fear choosing euthanasia for their pet because they see it as giving up on them or lacking the ability to provide for them. In reality, deciding to euthanize a suffering pet is one of the most humane choices you can make. Oftentimes, we selfishly try to keep our pets with us as long as possible, causing our pet ongoing pain and suffering. If your pet would benefit from an eternal sleep, we will walk you through the procedure and answer any questions you might have. We offer you the opportunity to stay with your pet to give them comfort as we sedate them, and give them the final injection in the most dignified manner possible.

Dealing with the loss

After we lose a beloved pet, it is always difficult adjusting to life without them. Most pet owners suffer one or multiple stages of grief in various sequences: 

  1. Denial – wondering how you will survive without your pet. Often ask yourself “why” questions, such as “why me?” or “why now?”. 
  2. Anger – often anger is directed at people around you and is your only way to outwardly express your feelings. 
  3. Bargaining – asking yourself “what if” questions about alternative decisions you could have made or things you could have done differently. 
  4. Depression – a feeling of emptiness without your pet or feeling that life isn’t as happy anymore.
  5. Acceptance – the acknowledgement that your new reality exists, and the finality that your pet is gone.

Moving forward

Pet owners cope in various ways, and there are numerous services that help make the loss of a pet more bearable. There are pet crematories (we use Hamilton Pet Meadows), that offer a wide variety of urns, remembrances, and even jewelry to help preserve your pet. There are pet loss hotlines, and grief support groups. Finding an outlet that allows you to manage your loss is very important.

Getting a new pet

In their process of healing, many pet owners decide to get a new pet, hoping it may help to heal their grief. In some cases, allowing yourself to go through the stages of grief before considering a new animal may be best.  Pet owners who do not let themselves heal before getting a new pet may be more likely to place the pet in a shelter at a later date. Consider purchasing a new pet before you lose your elderly pet; this may cause your older pet to hang on longer, and prevents you from having to get acquainted with a new pet while still mourning the loss of another. 

The following guidelines are intended to help you choose your new pet: 

  • Look for a pet that is different from your last pet, either in breed, species, or personality. 
  • Take time to think about what kind of pet you want and what sort of pet fits in with your lifestyle.
  • Try to avoid comparing your new pet to the pet you lost.....it will be hard for your new pet to live up to those expectations! Allow yourself time to get to know your new pet's personality.
  • Do not give your new pet the same name or a nickname of your pet that has passed.

If you are having trouble grieving the loss of your pet or have questions about choosing euthanasia, please contact our office for assistance or further resources.