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When Death is Close

created at: 2010/09/23

Our pets have always had our needs first and foremost; they love to please us, to be our best and most loyal friends. When it comes time for a pet to die, they need us to reassure them that it is okay for them to go, that we want what’s best for them. If you can, speak directly to them, as you have done in their lives, about all they have given. Say thank-you, reaffirm that its time for them to leave this life, and that we will be okay without them (even if we don’t feel that is entirely true)

We do not need to  ‘put on a brave face’- more so to, have the courage to put into words, actions, tears or simply hugs that we are now here for them and will help them as best we can with the difficulty of parting from us. If you are caring for your pet at home, make sure they are in a calm and familiar place. That they are close enough to their family to feel secure but also in a place that is made for them -a bit apart from the pack. Animals in the wild often go away to die, and dying is a uniquely personal experience- this is also true for our pets. Give them that space if you can. Our pets, always highly attuned to our moods become even more sensitive as they are dying, so soft lighting, avoiding loud jarring noises will help them, and you, stay calm. If you are planning to care for your pet at home until it dies, or until it is time to euthanize your pet, make it as sacred, as special and as inclusive for all members of the family, whilst remembering that you are supporting a process of completion and the beginnings of letting them go. So be attentive to the cues your pet giving you. If we can meet our needs, as owners, you will know when you pet is ready. If you feel confused or unsure about letting your pet continue to live or don’t know how to make the decision to euthanize them, re-visit the responses you wrote to your pets death, and see if you are both in accord with these. Consult with your vet; family and friends who may be able support you in making the best decision for your pet.

Author Victoria Spence