It’s the most difficult decision we pet parents will ever make – knowing when it’s time to say goodbye to our beloved friend and family member. Even pet parents who’ve endured this before will tell you it doesn’t get easier. It’s important to realize this is less of a decision and more of a process – and pet euthanasia begins with what your pet is telling you.
Is your pet telling you it’s time?
You know your pet better than anyone and you’re well positioned to understand what’s happening. At Lucky & Lady®, we believe your pet is continually communicating with you in just the same way he’s been for years. According to veterinarians and animal behavioral experts, there are signals of your pet’s pain or difficulty:
- Your pet doesn’t seem happy. He’s likely not eating as much or at all.
- Your dog or cat no longer shows excitement when you arrive.
- Movement is difficult if not impossible and she is relieving herself lying down. Such little movement may result in sores.
- He looks you in the eyes and you feel terrible, helpless – a feeling that tugs at your heart and gives you pause.
- You know your pet shouldn’t be suffering and those special things you’ve been doing – head rubs, kisses and snuggles – those no longer work to add a spring to your pet’s step.
- Your veterinarian no longer recommends surgeries and treatments as an option.
So, if you’re here and you’re crying by now, know this – your pet doesn’t experience time the same way you do. Our four-legged friends have no sense of the future and truly live in the present with a focus on quality of life, according to animal ethicist Bernard E. Rollin, PhD, professor of philosophy and animal sciences at Colorado State University.
Each September, on the second Sunday, we observe National Pet Memorial Day. Perhaps intended to remind us we’re not alone, National Pet Memorial Day provides us time to mourn, reflect upon and celebrate these amazing creatures who’ve brought us so much.
Ways of coping
If you’ve made the decision to bring your beloved pet the peace he so deserves, you must not forget your human needs too. Lucky & Lady’s® founders, having struggled with the loss of their own pets, offer this advice – for you and your pet.
Discuss the implications with everyone in your family. Surely everyone loves your pet and it’s essential to avoid surprises.
Consider in-home euthanasia by a licensed veterinarian. This is especially helpful in affording everyone an opportunity to say goodbye, including other family pets who will become immediately aware of the loss and not left to wonder.
Talk out loud. Don’t hesitate to speak with your friends and family about your loss or the loss that is to soon come. Talking out loud about the death of a pet can be therapeutic.
Memorialize your pet. This may be the most important step toward coping. Maybe you put your pet’s favorite toys and collar in a box. You could write a poem. Maybe, as our founders did, you will create a photo or video memory – something to share and something to keep. VCA Pet Hospitals offer other insightful ways to memorialize your pet and find the strength you need.
Our pets have been talking to us for years. It’s important that we never stop listening.