We know how hard it is to say goodbye.
At no point during our relationship with our pet can we anticipate the sadness, confusion, and desperation we feel when it comes time to let them pass. The Welcome Waggin’ team is here to support you and your family during this time of transition. We are able to answer any questions you may have about their quality of life, palliative or hospice care options available, or expectations and anticipation of their death.
Terminal Illness: Support When Learning Your Pet is Terminally Ill
- Work with your veterinary team to understand the nature and progression of your pet’s illness or injury and what support services are available to ensure your pet’s comfort. Such services may involve nutritional care, in-home fluid therapy, and other nursing/mobility aids.
- Consider your pet’s quality of life, and learn how to assess pain and suffering. Ask professionals what guidelines they recommend to help you make these decisions.
- Realistically evaluate the financial cost and time involved in treating or properly caring for your pet and how it may affect other areas of your life, as well as your relationship with your pet.
- Seek a supportive group of friends, family, and professionals to help you in the days and weeks ahead.
- Write down a hospice plan for your pet, be there to share your remaining time together, and take time to care for yourself.
Making Decisions: Support When Making End of Life Decisions
- Obtain guidance regarding your pet’s ongoing physical condition from your veterinary team.
- Learn what options are available for end of life services and think about when, where, and who should be present to say goodbye.
- Understand the process of a natural death or euthanasia and assess your own ability to be a part of either process.
- Be prepared to discuss aftercare options with your veterinary team. Do you prefer to have your pet’s remains returned to you? Will you assist in transporting your pet to a cemetery for burial, or do you prefer your vet or transport service to handle all aspects of after-care following the death of your pet?
- Trust the judgment of your veterinary team, yourself, and your ability to recognize the unique personality traits that make your pet who he or she is. Ultimately, the special bond you share has enabled you to help determine their needs and wants when no words are exchanged. Give them permission to let go and say goodbye.
Coping with Loss: Support When Coping with the Loss of Your Pet
- Allow yourself time to grieve the loss of a beloved family member. Resources are available to you to help you mourn your pet, and allow the healing process to begin.
- Decide if there are rituals you would like to observe in order to honor your pet: continue a special walk, donate to a favorite charity, volunteer at a shelter, or pay special tribute to your pet through a memorial service or blessing.
- Think about how the loss of your pet may affect other family members, including children and animals in the household. Ask for help if you need guidance in supporting others affected by the loss.
- Just as you showed compassion towards your pet, give yourself permission to feel sad, angry, guilty, hurt, and even relief. Surround yourselves with others who understand the magnitude of your loss.
- And remember, all of your actions were done with a loving intention.