Losing your best friend.
Saying goodbye to something you love often defies words and many a heart has been broken over the loss of a beloved animal companion. But, loss is as much a part of life as life itself and sooner or later, that cherished animal companion will die, either as a result of an accident, or related to illness or age. It is important to give some thought to the process of compassionate passing and euthanasia, so you can make the best choices for your beloved pet when the time comes.
This process begins with your Vet as they have known your family through the good and bad times in your pet’s life, and with their help, you will be guided through the difficult process with compassion. The AWL can also help as we have worked in partnership with South Australian Vets for over 20 years and have cared for thousands of animals in our Shelters.
Questions to consider:
- Does your pet still enjoy an acceptable quality of life?
- Do they still take joy in the things they have always done?
- Does their life still offer them dignity?
- What is the prognosis for your pet in terms of potential outcomes of treatment including medication, tests and/or surgery?
- Would you and your family still be able to meet the needs of your pet if it were unable to be returned to good health? This means emotionally and financially.
- Have they shown you signs that their life has become very painful or difficult?
- When the time of their passing comes, would you wish to be present or would you prefer to say goodbye before?
Euthanasia by definition is the induction of a painless death and literally means ‘gentle death’. In Veterinary practice, it is accomplished by an intravenous injection of a concentrated dose of anaesthetic. The decision to end a life is never easy and it is a personal, loving decision to euthanise a pet whose quality of life has deteriorated to an unacceptable level. It takes courage to assume this last duty and the last responsibility to a pet who has provided unconditional love and companionship.
A Final Resting Place
If the death of your pet is sudden or unexpected, you may be distraught and have difficulty in deciding what to do with your pet’s body. Where possible, discuss this while the pet is alive and reach a shared family decision that you won’t regret later. Your Vet will explain the options available to you. Whether it’s private cremation (where the ashes are returned to you in an urn) or communal cremation (where your pet will be cremated with other pets and the ashes are returned to the earth), be assured that your pet will be treated with care and dignity.
After the Decision
Each of us mourns differently, some more privately than others, and some recover more quickly. Some pet owners find great comfort in acquiring a new pet after the loss of another while others will need to take more time to heal and some may choose not to have another pet. There is no right or wrong way to grieve and no time limits apply so be kind to yourself and your family, talk openly about your feelings of loss with others and do not rush into any decisions until you are feeling better. Your Vet and the AWL team are available to talk through your grief and provide support and guidance.