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Pet loss is incredibly hard to go through, and no one should have to do it alone. That's why we reached out to our Facebook fans for their best advice on coping with the passing of a pet or caring for a pet who is terminally ill. We hope that their touching experiences and heartfelt thoughts on grieving, memories and finding support can help others in their hour of need.
“I tend to grieve in my own way. For me, when a
pet has died, I feel it deeply and intensely. I go into full mourning, and I let
myself cry as often as I need to. I have found that reminiscing by talking
about them, thinking about them and looking at old photos of them comforts
me.” — Julianne Beam
“Just keep telling yourself that this horrible,
gut-wrenching pain will fade a little bit with time. You will love and miss
them always, and if you feel like crying, cry. Unfortunately, it's part and
parcel of being an animal lover.” — Isabelle Peens
“The simple acknowledgement of the loss, pain
and grieving process is tantamount.” — Venice Rescue 2012
“Grieving the loss of your pet is a process, if
they die on their own or you have to make the hardest decision to euthanize
them. Letting them go is the last kind thing you can do for them, although they
take a huge part of your heart when they go. Remember the heart they filled
while they were with you.” — Simeone Moss
“Take time for self-care and don't be afraid to
cry. Releasing your emotions and accepting them and letting them run their
course is healthy and necessary.” — Kelly Jackson
“It also helps when I am able to be with my pet
during their final moments, to be able to actually say goodbye to them and then
give them a proper burial in a special place that I can visit as I desire. My
other animals are always of great comfort during the hardest of times as well.
I've put pets to 'sleep' at the vet's when I've had to (I won't let a terminal
animal live in extreme pain), and each time I have stood right there, loving
and petting my animal as they take their last breath. It's harder when it has
to be done that way, but I find that no matter what the case, I am able to
grieve easier when I can be with them in their last moments.” — Julianne Beam
“What helped me the most was a knowledgeable and
caring vet who was readily available. What also helped me was simply thinking
about what was best for the cat, instead of what was best for me. Euthanasia
can be a very difficult decision to make, since it casts you in the role of God to some extent. Rather than seeing the situation as ‘killing my pet’ or ‘taking
her life,’ I reframed the decision as ‘alleviating suffering and granting final
peace’ — much easier to deal with. The vet handled the procedure at home, which
was much less stressful than that final trip to the vet, and she did it so
gently, while talking calmly to the pet, that I couldn't help but think that
this was just meant to be and the best possible way to die.” — Donna Reittinger
“I take in hospice cats from the shelter where I
volunteer. It's important to me to give a home to them, so that they won't spend
their last months in a shelter. I'm able to do this, because I never dwell on
where we're headed. Instead, I concentrate on making THIS day the very best I
can for the cat. Lots of snuggling, spoiling and gentleness. And when release
comes, I am there to hold them and send them on their way. Finally, I always
imagine them over the Bridge, happy as only cats can be.” — Barbara Delassus
say, try to be there for them when they need you. Hold them close in their last
moments and think about their comfort and not your breaking heart.” — Marilyn
“Love them, every second. The last few days
before we helped our Jax go were the worst, but a month prior, we took him on
his last big adventure: a 400-mile day trip around Michigan. And he had the best
day. I am so glad we took the time out and just did it before it was too late.
It's almost a month since he passed, and we miss him every second.” — Heather
“If you have the choice, you don't want your
last memory of them to be that they are so bad they can no longer walk or enjoy
the things they have. They should be able to exit with the grace of a high
note. Sit and enjoy a special meal with you. Sit for a bit, loving on them and
talking about all of their funny antics, their favorite pastimes; remind them
how much they are loved. It's definitely OK to cry, but let some of the tears
be happy tears thinking of all of the wonderful memories you have. Also make a
scrapbook or a collage of photos that means a lot to you. Keep a picture out
that you can glance at when they pop into your head.” — Angela Oliver Burke
“I put together a photo album of our dog, Brynn,
who passed away at age 4 due to lymphoma. We had 12 days with her from
diagnosis until she passed away peacefully in our home, surrounded by all those
who loved her. I love having the album, in which I wrote all
the funny things she would do and memories together, to look back on now.” — Cassandra Kirkpatrick
“Every time I lose an animal now, I make a
custom photo album on one of the digital photo sites. A bound photographic
memoir. It helps me work through my grief, and I can grab it whenever I want and
remember my loved one.” — Becky Shulda
Like this article? Have a point of view to share? Let us know!
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