When considering euthanasia for your pet…
- Know that this is one of the most difficult decisions that you will make in your life. Period.
- There will almost always be guilt. Make peace with that. It starts out with questions like “Am I making this decision too soon?” and “Am I playing God? Then morphs into “Did I wait too long?” and “Why did I let my pet suffer?”
- There is no perfect time. We are human and we do the best we can. Take some comfort in knowing that you are making this decision out of love and have your pet’s best interest in mind.
- Take some time to just sit and be quiet with your pet. Try to get a sense of how they are currently experiencing their life.
- Ask for help. Talk to friends and family that have been through this. Talk to your veterinarian. Consider calling a practice that specializes in end of life care for help and advice.
- Consider in-home euthanasia. I have owned two “brick and mortar” veterinary practices and over the last 20 years I did everything I could to make the euthanasia experience as comfortable as possible for families and their pets. Nothing compares to euthanasia in the home. For your pet, home is sanctuary. It is where they feel safest and most comfortable.
- Expect a rally. After a euthanasia appointment is made, many pets will experience a short rally, a period of time where they seem to feel better than they have in quite awhile. Personally, I think they are sensing the peace that we experience after finally making the decision. Most of us don’t realize that we have been asking the same question every day, sometimes for months…is this the day? Should I pick up the phone and call someone? These rallies are generally short lived, rarely lasting more than a day or two.
- Children can handle this. The death of a beloved pet is often a child’s first experience with grief. Be honest and open, respect their wishes, but don’t put them in a decision making role. Also, remember that you are their role model for grieving. Don’t be afraid to cry in front of them and share your sadness and stories.