I am having a hard time since my pet died. What are some pet loss and grief resources that can help?
• The Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement offers resources and a nationwide directory of pet loss support providers.
• The Association for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals offers general information about pet loss and grief.
• The Pet Loss Support Page offers a nationwide directory of support groups and counselors.
Above all else, honor your feelings. Do not try to minimize your loss or the feelings you are experiencing as a result. The relationship and love you shared with your pet was very real, and deserves to be remembered through grieving its loss. Do not listen to people who may say, “It was only a dog,” or “You should really move on,” or “Just get another dog/cat/pet”.
Every person is different and so is their grief. Each person will follow a different path toward healing. Although there is no right or wrong amount of time to complete the grieving process, many experts agree that it is not unusual to take at least a year to move through the grieving process.
The duration of the mourning process can also be influenced by the amount of support you receive, if you have suffered other losses within the recent past, and other factors. If you find your grief is persistent and disruptive to the point it impacts your daily functions, please seek counseling.
What you are experiencing is grief, which is a very normal reaction to loss. Your pet brought happiness, love, and companionship to your life. You may have regarded and loved your pet as highly as any other family member. It is very normal and healthy to mourn the loss of a pet. If you would like to learn more about pet loss and grief resources, visit <<
The Rainbow Bridge poem is a popular poem found on the internet. The author is unknown. The poem celebrates the undying love between a loyal pet and its owner.
“The Rainbow Bridge”
There is a bridge connecting Heaven and Earth. It is called the Rainbow Bridge because of its many colors. Just this side of the Rainbow Bridge there is a land of meadows, hills and valleys with
lush green grass.
When a beloved pet dies, the pet goes to this place. There is always food and water and warm spring weather. All the animals who have been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind. They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. Her bright eyes are intent; her eager body begins to quiver. Suddenly she begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, her legs carrying
her faster and faster.
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
Then you cross the Rainbow Bridge together, never again to be separated.
Your pet does not know what is going to happen, so it cannot fear death itself. However, animals do feel more secure in the company of people they know, especially their owners. If you do choose to be present during euthanasia, your presence can do much to help make your pet’s last moments more peaceful.
You are the one who knows best what you are capable of handling. Some owners cannot handle the pain of being present, while others feel that being present is the last and most precious gift they can give to their beloved pet. Follow your heart. You want to make sure you have no regrets later.
Children deserve the truth, but they need to hear it in terms they can understand. Use age-appropriate language. Allow the child to ask questions and explain what will happen in simple terms. Be patient if the child does not understand, becomes upset, or asks the same questions repeatedly.
This is a question that you and your veterinarian should discuss. Your veterinarian will leave the final decision up to you. There are cases where immediate euthanasia may clearly be indicated, for example, if the animal is clearly struggling and in obvious pain, or has been severely injured and medical intervention will not help. In other cases, as in a prolonged illness like cancer, you may be able to have more time with your pet, provided you can maintain some quality of life and keep any pain under control. Quality of life and pain control are the standards on which you should base any decisions concerning euthanasia.
Each situation is unique, and you will need to judge for yourself. Choosing between in-office or in-home euthanasia depends on various factors such as your pet’s ability to handle stress, its physical condition, and the urgency of the situation. In cases where the pet is large, or unable to walk, moving it may be more stressful than having a vet do a home visit. If your pet is in acute distress, or you do not think you have enough time to schedule a home euthanasia visit, then you may need to take it to the clinic.
Euthanasia can be administered at the veterinarian clinic or at home. Some owners may want to have their pet euthanized at home, to minimize the stress on their pet during its final moments. Many veterinarians offer home euthanasia as part of their services.
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