Most people struggle with the thought of losing their beloved pet, and having to say goodbye can be one of the most difficult things you will have to face. Some pets will pass in their sleep, while others may require the painful decision to put them down. Whatever the case may be, dealing with the loss is exceedingly difficult.
Many pet owners fear choosing euthanasia for their pet because they see it as giving up on them or lacking the ability to provide for them. In reality, deciding to euthanize a suffering pet is one of the most humane choices you can make. Oftentimes, we selfishly try to keep our pets with us as long as possible, causing our pet pain and misery. If your pet would benefit from an eternal sleep, the veterinarian can walk you through the procedure and answer any questions you might have. Some veterinary offices will even allow you to stand by your pet as they introduce the final injection.
Dealing with the loss
After we lose a beloved pet, it is always difficult adjusting to life without them. Most pet owners suffer one or multiple stages of grief in various sequences:
- Denial – wondering how you will survive without your pet. Often ask yourself “why” questions, such as “why me?” or “why now?”.
- Anger – usually anger is directed at people around you and is your only way to outwardly express your feelings.
- Bargaining – asking yourself “what if” questions about alternative decisions you could have made or things you could have done differently.
- Depression – a feeling of emptiness without your pet or feeling that life isn’t as happy as it used to be.
- Acceptance – the acknowledgement that your new reality exists, though not stating it is acceptable. Finally understanding that your pet is gone.
Pet owners cope in various ways, and there are numerous services that help make the loss of a pet easier. There are pet crematories that can help preserve your pet, pet loss hotlines, and even support groups. Finding an outlet that allows you to manage your loss is very important.
Getting a new pet
In their process of healing, some pet owners decide to get a new pet, thinking it may help heal their grief. In reality, a new pet should not be introduced until a pet owner is ready to move on. Allow yourself to go through the stages of grief before considering a new animal. Pet owners who do not let themselves heal before getting a new pet are more likely to place the pet in a shelter at a later date. The following guidelines are intended to help you choose your new pet:
- Avoid comparing your new pet to the pet you lost. They will never be the same and you are only adding grief and stress for your new pet.
- Consider purchasing a new pet before you lose your elderly pet; this may cause your older pet to hang on longer and prevents you from having to get acquainted with a new pet while still mourning the loss of another.
- Do not give your new pet the same name or a nickname of your pet that has passed.
- Do not purchase a pet as a replacement for your pet that has passed away.
- Look for a pet that is different from your last pet, either in breed, species, or personality.
- Take time to think about what kind of pet you want and what sort of pet fits in with your lifestyle.
If you are having trouble grieving the loss of your pet or have questions about choosing euthanasia, feel free to contact our office at your convenience.