In memory of our beloved friend and family member gizmo...
The death of a pet can be so heartbreaking. People love their pets. More often than you might think, we celebrate their birthdays, confide in them, and love them, so it is normal when your pet passes away to feel sad and overwhelmed.
I knew my 14 year old Pekingese dog Gizmo's health was declining. Aside from being old, he had gone blind, and so I took him everywhere I went. When he started to get to the point that he was not eating properly, wetting on the floor, and wanting to sleep all the time I wondered what I should do. Finally, it came down to the point where decisions had to be made. I had never been in this place before so I didn't even know where to begin. I called my vet and told him the symptoms that Gizmo was having. He had me bring Gizmo in for an examination and it was confirmed that it was time to have Gizmo put to sleep because he was not going to get any better, or I could take him home to pass away. I knew Gizmo was in pain so I knew the least selfish thing that I could do for my fur friend was to let him go.
But what then? After your pet passes away, what are you suppose to do? Thankfully, there are more and more options for people to honor their pets passing, and although it's not something that we would like to think about or discuss, there are times when real decisions have to be made. So, I have listed a few things to consider, not only for your pets passing, but also for the human friends, and their pet friends left behind to cope with the loss as well.
What to do after my pet passses away.
1) You can count on your vet to dispose of your pet if you have your animal euthanized or if your pet dies at the vets office.
2) If you are considering pet cremation, talk to your vet, he will know who to call to have your pet cremated. He will also ask you if you want your pets remains to take home or if you want them to dispose of the ashes.
3) If you prefer to bring your pet back home just let the vet know, and chances are they will work out the details.
Just remember, if you bury anything larger than a guinea pig, find out your legal restrictions by calling your county or city. Most large cities ban this practice because they're worried about run off water pollution however, in rural areas and small towns animal burial is usually permitted, but always call to ask first.
Those left behind
Children- Don't try to protect your child by saying something like the pet ran away, because the child will be expecting the pet to return and feel betrayed when they discover the truth that the pet is not coming back home. It's always a good idea to have a talk with them if they are old enough to understand and realize the pet is gone.
Seniors- Often times seniors have trouble coping with the loss of their pets. For some seniors the only thing they have left is to care for their pets. When they lose their pet, it reminds them of their own mortality and could set off sadness and depression of not having them any longer. So it is always a good idea to talk to them and understand their feelings and needs.
Other Animals- You may notice that if you have other pets in your home they will also feel a sense of loss. Surviving pets may not eat and may sleep a lot. They have a sad look about them and aren't as energetic as they were before. They too know something is wrong when their friend is not around. Just give them plenty of love and affection to help them get through this as well.
People keep asking me after losing my dog a couple of months ago if I am ready to get another pet. I have to say no. Not right now as I am still missing my friend that I spent all those years with. Rushing into getting another pet isn't the right thing to do. It would not be fair to your new pet because each pet has its own personality and you can't just replace your loss with a new one. I've decided to give myself some time to grieve, and after a while has passed I am sure I'll consider adding another pet to our family.
In closing- I still miss my little buddy. Gizmo barely fit in the palm of my hand when I got him at 6 weeks old. We shared many life stories together and I will always remember him as my best friend. If you are wondering, I had gizmo cremated and brought him back home with me. As hard as it was I know in my heart of hearts it was the right thing to do. Its obviously not the same as having him alive and ready for our next life story together but, I know he is not hurting and suffering any longer and that is where I draw my peace from.