In the past, I wrote two articles on pet loss. I hope they could have helped, but upon returning to this site I realized I should write a longer, better article. So here you are now, reading the third and final of my articles on the subject of pet loss. This time, I'll be informing you of everything you could know about this sad subject.
One of the hardest things to deal with when you lose a pet is the impact it has on you. You may be so saddened that you don't wish to attend work. This is actually fine. The loss of a pet could take your mind off what you may need to be concentrating on. It's absolutely fine to grieve for a deceased pet. The impact can be large, and very hard to deal with. Crying, as I have stated in a previous article, is fine. It can take a very, very long time to stop yourself from grieving, and even then your pet is never really off your mind.
It's important to get help or speak your feelings when the impact has hit you. A great place to speak with others is a pet loss message board. There you can get the sympathy or advice you seek. Pet loss support websites are abundant.
The Rainbow Bridge
The Rainbow Bridge is possibly one of the most beautiful and touching stories to exist. It is said to be a place where deceased animals stay, completely healthy, on a meadow paradise. They wait for you until you pass on, and then you and your pet cross the Rainbow Bridge, into heaven, together. The poem goes as follows:
Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge. When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable. All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together."
I consider this poem important to remember after your pet is deceased.
Sometimes, pets get sick or old and must be euthanized. An extreme feeling of guilt may occur. But, "euthanasia" is from a Greek word meaning "good death." Do not feel that you were killing your friend, you were seriously, truly helping them. Imagine if you were ill or frail, and in pain. A quick and painless death was really just putting your pet out of his or her misery. I know how guilt can feel, though. I remember putting my cat to sleep, and right before he died, his eyes got very big. It was almost like he understood what was happening to him. Don't let something like this get to you! I know that if I hadn't brought my cat to the vet he'd be miserable, or have passed on in a more painful way.
What You'll Feel
You will feel different emotions over losing your friend. Guilt is a major one, but I've listed more here.
Denial: It's very, very hard to believe you've lost a pet. It can be normal to think it never happened, to expect your cat to meow for food or your dog to bark, ready for a walk, each day when they have passed on. You may slightly believe it hasn't happened and that there must be a way out.
Anger: You may experience anger if your pet died of, say, an illness. You could be mad at that illness, or anything that happened to your pet to kill him or her. If your pet was hit by a car, you will probably be angry at the driver.
Regret: If your pet dies, you might regret something. Did somebody tell you something looked wrong with your cat, but you didn't take him or her for a check up? Did you regret ever letting your pet outside if they were hit by a car? Regret is a horrible feeling, but you can't blame yourself. Death is a necessary, but sad, end. Sometimes you can't help it.
Depression: After a pet loss you may feel like you've lost your energy. You could feel as if everything you're living for is gone. It's a horrible, hopeless feeling that's hard to avoid when a tragedy like losing a pet happens. It's hard to prevent, too. A great way to make yourself feel a bit better is to remember the great times you had with your pet. Don't just be mourning your friend's death. Celebrate his or her life. They surely left paw prints on your heart.
Euthanasia is a tough, tough decision. If your pet is visibly suffering and nothing can be done to help, the sad truth is, it's time. Some vets will come to your home to euthanize your pet, do so in your car, etc. A place your friend is more comfortable in might just be better than a vet's office. I recommend staying during the euthanasia. Imagine if you were your pet. Wouldn't you rather die by your best friend's side than alone in an office with no one but an unfamiliar vet? Don't feel guilty if you choose not to stay! It is a very hard thing to watch, so exiting the room is an obvious thing some people would choose to do. Seeing your pet pass on may make it so you do not experience denial, mentioned further above.