Individuals who suffer from the loss of pets go through identical emotional pains as those who suffer the lack of a human loved one. But unlike those who suffer the loss of a person, sometimes people who suffer a reduction of pets are ridiculed by men and women in their own lives. A co-worker may state, “It was just a dog” A spouse could state, “She lived a fantastic life.” Even though a buddy may encourage one to go get another dog right away.
Only other pet lovers really understand the pain associated with the reduction of pets.
Whether your dog is at the end of life or dies unexpectedly, mourning is not any simpler either way. Let yourself go through the stages of grief at your own pace so that you may heal emotionally. For more insights in handling pet’s loss, this website might help you, just check them out here at this waxhaw vet.
When my 14-year-old golden retriever, Jake, couldn’t longer stand up by himself or, once up couldn’t squat to go to the bathroom, I knew it was time to end his suffering. He was also starting to have problems with memory loss. But, I might see that he didn’t understand where his food or water bowl was or which door to go outside. As difficult as it was, I made an appointment with the vet a few times later on and spent 48 hours entirely spoiling him. I slept on the floor together at night. I fed him spaghetti and pizza (his favorites!) I took two days off work to be together with him.
When we went into the vet she laid a blanket down for him to lay on. However, with his paws, he pushed it aside to lay on the cold tile flooring. I laid on the floor with his arm over his chest as the vet administered the meds that would finish Jake’s life – and his suffering. I sobbed. Even when he was gone, I put with him and cried.
That was over two decades back and even as I recount that, tears are welling up in my eyes.
The five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance) were identified and articulated in 1969 by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross in her book, On Death and Dying. In the days after Jake was euthanized, I do not recall ever being in denial. It’s not denial as if thinking the dead person is gone but denial as if your feelings of sadness. When I went back to work and somebody might say, “How are you?” I’d burst into tears and say, “Just dreadful. I had to put my dog down earlier this week.”
I didn’t feel the next stage, anger, possibly. The life expectancy of a golden retriever is 10-12 decades. I was lucky to have Jake more than average. And because I had him so long, bargaining was not a part of my grieving procedure. But I can see how people who suffer a reduction of pets can easily do this. It is that negotiation with a greater being. “Only let him pull through this and I’ll make a monthly donation to the local animal shelter.” Or, “His 15th birthday is only four months away. Let him live until then and I’ll…” fill in the blank.
No, I skipped over measures three and two and landed head-first in Phase Four: depression. I was so very sad. I was very lonely. I had heard the saying”heavy heart” before but I didn’t understand until afterward, it is more than the expression; it is a physical sense. My heart actually felt heavy. The home was quiet when I got home from work. My well-meaning friends kept saying I should find another puppy. However, no dog can replace Jake.
It required quite a while before I could walk in the house, not expect him to be lying on his bed in the middle of the household room. My acceptance (the fifth stage of grieving) started when I received his ashes in a wooden box, wrapped in a blue velvet bag, a plaque with his name and dog print, and a certification that said, “I’ll be waiting for you at the end of the rainbow bridge” But this was only the beginning of this point. I placed his ashes on the bookshelf in his favorite room – the living area. I handed them every morning once I went to work. Occasionally I’d touch the velvet bag and say, “Bye friend” Other times I would just say goodbye to him.
Like those days when I would say good-bye became less frequent, I knew I had been on the road to recovery. And six months after I was ready for another dog.
Some men and women who suffer a loss of pets get the same breed as the dog who passed away. I simply couldn’t do this. In fact, I moved to about the other end of the strain spectrum. I got an Olde English Bulldog puppy. Where Jake was she was rebellious. Where Jake was furry, she was stubbly. Where Jake was royal, her beauty was”she is so ugly she’s adorable.” When she was a little puppy I used to look at the blue-eyed bag on the bookshelf from the family area and say, “Jake – I wish you were here to teach her the ropes”
Now two years old, I love Jes just as I loved Jake.
If it’s time to bid farewell to your very best furry friend, permit yourself to pass through the five stages of grief. No timeline fits everyone. Only you will know when you are ready to advance to the next stage. Whatever you do, do not allow everyone to marginalize the pain that you feel when you endure the loss of pets.