In tribute to my dear friend Karen and business partner Chuck, along with their families, I share this post. Those reading most likely understand the immense sorrow that comes with losing a cherished furry companion, as I do. Sadly, my friends are currently grappling with the loss of their beloved dogs, Mr. McCoy and Uecker (who served as Blue Collar's Mascot). Despite leading long, content, and pampered lives, the pain can seem unbearable at first, yet it does eventually ease.
Deciding to help your pet with their end of life journey is a heart-wrenching decision. Chuck and Karen have been looking after their furry friends as they struggle with pain, discomfort, and loss of doggie ADL's (activities of daily living). Balancing the thoughts of "my pet is in too much pain and suffering, it's time" with "my pet still has a spark in their eyes, it's not time yet" can be very difficult. My advice during these trying times is to embrace the transition (if that's possible). Having time to prepare and adjust is a real blessing. Spending final moments with your pet and cherishing every single second can be helpful in the long run. Ensure that they are comfortable and trust your instincts when it comes to deciding when the time is right.
Losing a pet is like losing a family member. It is a heartbreaking experience and can be difficult to overcome. The companionship shared with a pet is unexplainable, and the bond that forms over the years is so strong that it feels like they’ve been with us for a lifetime. Pets have a unique way of being present in our lives. They bring joy and happiness, never judge us, and stay by our side through thick and thin. And that’s why losing a pet can cause deep and profound sadness. It’s hard to fathom that they will no longer greet us at the door, wag their tail, or take walks with us.
It is natural to feel sorrow, pain, and even guilt when a pet passes away. You may be worried that you didn’t do enough to keep them healthy, or perhaps, you question every little detail of the time you shared together. These thoughts are normal, and the pain of losing a pet can be unbearable at times. But it's important to remind ourselves that we provided him/her with a loving home and all the care they needed while they were with us.
When the grief is intense, it can be helpful to talk about it with someone, whether it’s a friend or family member. I have supported many clients through these losses. It's important to allow ourselves to feel the emotions, but it’s also critical to remember the happy moments we shared with our pets. Spend time reminiscing memories and cherishing the moments which brought us closer to them.
Pet grief is a process, and it cannot be rushed. Everyone heals differently, but it’s essential to find a way to grieve that works for us. It might be organizing a special ceremony to commemorate our pet, creating a memorial in our garden, or simply taking the time to look through old pictures and videos of them. I made a picture book titled, "Adventures with Penny" when we lost our sweet Penny at the end of last year. It took me about a month, but it was helpful to sift through pictures of Penny and our family in different places and at different times. That helped me honor her, appreciate her sassiness, and I believe that activity helped me "process" grief.
We must try our best to remember the happy moments we’ve shared and allow ourselves time to heal from the loss. The memories and lessons taught to us by our furry companions will never fade away.