In the veterinary field, we not only experience and share in the loss of our client’s pets, but also in the loss of our own. We are fortunate to work with a team of like-minded individuals who feel as we do and understand the emotions that come with making the decision that euthanization is the best, and kindest, option for our companions.
The term euthanasia comes from the Greek language, and it means good or fortunate death. It is also the most difficult decision a pet parent will face. It is difficult to accept that your companion, who showed you unconditional love, will no longer be by your side. And while it can be painful to make that decision, it is the last act of love you can provide them if they no longer have a good quality of life.
When we experience the loss of a person, there are established social rituals to deal with the grief that follows their loss. There may be a viewing or memorial service, to remember and discuss how much they will be missed, with others who feel the same. There may be a funeral, to bid them farewell to their time on earth. And if you outwardly express your sorrow and pain, it will be understood.
Many people believe that others will not understand if the same sorrow and pain are expressed or shared over the loss of a pet. They may also believe that “it’s silly” to mourn the loss of an animal. The senses of frustration, loss, and guilt for making that final decision can be buried inside as if they’re not worthy of being displayed.
A recent study published in the veterinary publication DVM360 states that, in a survey conducted by the North Carolina State University’s Department of Clinical Sciences, nearly 75% of pet owners who had euthanized their dog or cat mourned privately.
In some cases, mourning privately may involve internalizing the grieving process, which can lead to poor physical health, depression, and increased stress. We’ve had enough stress this year – the pandemic, financial concerns, restricted travel and socialization, and it was an election year! What are some options that will help us reduce stress and accept the loss of our furry friend?
It is important to realize that it is truly acceptable, and normal, to mourn the loss of a pet. The fact that they were not human does not diminish the love, comfort, and companionship the two of you shared. Just as you did in making the decision as to your pet’s quality of life, perhaps it would help to embrace your feelings, and consider ways to address those feelings in an appropriate manner that will help you come to terms with your loss.
As stated earlier, we who are in the veterinary field are surrounded by like-minded individuals when it comes to the value of animal companionship. We are able to share our grief and loss with others, without the fear of being judged. Perhaps there are people in your life, those who have met your dog or cat, that are missing them also? Family or friends, who realize how much your pet meant to you, and would be more than willing to discuss your grief with you? The simple acts of sharing, and of talking about your feelings and emotions, can help in working through, understanding, and accepting them.
Some of us have found solace by volunteering at a local animal shelter. The ability to help other animals, that have no families of their own (yet), can be very rewarding. The love you shared by caring for your pet needs an outlet – maybe an animal shelter is an appropriate place to help other animals while, at the same time, helping yourself?
Speaking of shelters – many people do adopt another pet. There is no reason to feel guilty by doing so or to feel that you are not honoring the memory of your previous dog or cat. Bringing another animal into your life is not replacing the one that has left – it is gifting a dog or cat with a family of their own.
There will be times, perhaps many years from now, when you’ll suddenly remember something your pet did that made you think they were human, or caused you to laugh out loud, or warmed your heart. There may be a twinge of sadness related to the memory – but it will be outweighed by the happiness you experienced by having them be a part of your life.
We offer both preventative care services (much like your visits to the dentist), along with dental x-rays and tooth extractions. Good oral hygiene is the best thing that you can do to ensure a longer life, with less health concerns, for your pet. Call us to schedule a dental exam or service.x
Laboratory services are a vital part of the diagnostic process when it comes to veterinarian care. This is because in many cases it is not possible to be able to give a firm diagnosis without undertaking additional tests to confirm the root of the problem. If you have any questions or concerns your vet will be happy to speak to you.x
This is the most effective way to assist in having your companion returned if they go missing. The microchip (about the size of a grain of rice) is placed under the skin between the shoulder blades. When scanned, it provides information that assists in reuniting you with your furry friend!x
Congratulations on the newest member of your household - we can’t wait to meet them! Call us today to schedule an initial visit – our team will conduct a thorough physical exam, in addition to discussing nutrition, training, and medical care. We’ll be more than happy to answer any other questions you may have, as wellx