Pets bring so much joy into our lives, and we associate them so strongly with positive memories, that it can be devastating to learn that they have a limited time left to live.
Even in the advent of so many developments of veterinary medicine, when chronic illness can be managed and treated, the time comes for all of our beloved furry friends. And when it comes, a lot of people don’t quite know how to deal with it.
So first things first and before we get to the tips proper: It is perfectly reasonable to shed tears for a pet and to feel genuine grief when they are gone, and even when you simply learn that they are ill. There is no “they’re just a pet” here. Your pet has been there through the years and just by being there has made those years better, so it’s OK to mourn them. Furthermore, there are some steps you can take to make the process less devastating.
Give Your Pet a Special Last Day
When you know the time is coming, it is very easy to let your personal grief transmit to your pet. Both cats and dogs can be highly intuitive, and your tone of voice can give them a cue to your emotions. Once they’re gone, you are liable to wish you had had one last perfect day with your pet, so rather than sitting with them and letting the grief pervade the scene, take the time to give them that day. If they’re still up to walking, take them out into the garden and let them enjoy a wander. Feed them whatever they’ve always loved to eat, even if it is a little indulgent. As far as possible, don’t give them any impression that anything’s amiss.
Treat the Day Like Any Other Vet Appointment
If your pet is going to be put to sleep by the vet, then they are likely going to be familiar with the surgery you are taking them to. Get them in the carrier in advance of leaving, and give them a hug. Chances are that the vets will have given you a room to be with your pet for some last moments – so take these to tell your pet how much joy they have brought to every life they have been a part of. And when the vet comes to do what is needed, hold your pet close. They don’t have any concept of mortality, so the last thing they experience will be your love.
Plan How to Remember Them
In time – a surprisingly short time, for most people – you will start to feel less upset when you think about your pet, and will want simply to remember them as they were. Laying them to rest and picking out a pet cemetery gravestone will help to commemorate the life they lived. Beyond that, though, will be the memories you keep of your pet. While the illness and their final days were part of their life, they did not define it, so remember them as they loved to be. They’re not living with pain anymore, and they had many wonderful years thanks to you – that’s what you mean to them, and what you should keep close to your heart.