Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Losing a Pet and Coping with Your Bereavement

Having to put your pet to sleep for whatever the reason may be, is never easy.  It doesn’t matter how long or how many pets you’ve had, it only gets tougher.  Once the bond has been created between you and your pet, it is very painful when it breaks.  Pets come and go in our lives.  Each one brings its own specific needs, unique personality, sense of humor and playfulness but the one constant that we humans can depend on is their unwavering, unconditional love for their master.  It’s amazing how we forget that our pets age faster than we do.  If I could change anything, it would be an animal’s lifespan.

From birds, to cats, to dogs and bunnies, you can diligently bring your animal to the vet’s for its regular annual check-up and shots and in between if there are issues and feel assured your pet is in good health, but there are never any short or long term guarantees.  It’s all part of being a pet owner.  That’s why it’s important to enjoy your pet companion(s) as much as possible, treat them with dignity and respect and more importantly ensure you give them a full, caring life and a comfortable place to live so they too can enjoy their time spent with you.

Aside from letting your pet pass naturally at home, euthanasia is the only recourse one has when a sudden terminal illness is discovered or an unfortunate accident occurs or just plain old age takes its toll.  The grieving process can be a long and arduous one.  Pockets of grief can hit you several years after your loss and at the most unexpected times, like when you see others out with their pets, or catch a commercial on TV or read a touching pet story.  A muddy paw print left at the front door, a milk bone buried in the back yard, an old toy mouse hidden behind the washer, a leash and collar hanging up on your coat rack, all these things suddenly “pop up out of nowhere” after the fact and stop you in your tracks.

Some of us prefer to bury our pet in our yard or on our country property.  There is also the option of pet cremation and from my experience, provides a level of comfort and closure while helping to move the grieving process along.  Those of us who choose cremation can have their pet’s ashes placed in a decorative urn to keep with them closeby while others prefer a simple box so they can scatter the ashes in their pet’s favorite park or lake or simply on their property.  Yet some will have their pets cremated in a communal cremation where the ashes are scattered by the company in a forest in the countryside. 

Here are a couple of links to “When Your Pet Dies”, a paperback which I have had in my home for many years.  This book has been a saving grace in helping me overcome my grief and understanding why it’s so difficult to come to terms with the loss of my beloved pets throughout the years.

Adopting or purchasing a new pet can fill the emptiness, help to heal the hurt and distract you from your grief.  I’ve found this works the best.  If you decide to go this route, here’s a great link to Tamar Geller’s wonderful book “The Loved Dog- The Playful, Non-Agressive Way to Teach Your Dog Good Behavior.”    

And last but not least, to these pets who enriched my life and brought me many years of joy and happiness, rest in peace at the Rainbow Bridge, guys!
“TheRainbowBridge – Anonymous” http://www.petloss.com/rainbowbridge.htm