Aging Together with Love: Supporting Your Pet and Embracing the Heartfelt Farewell by Sue London
Your Journey to a Fulfilling Life
Recall that magical day when you first met your pet, […]
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Recall that magical day when you first met your pet, a moment filled with overwhelming love that sparked a lasting bond. Whether it marked the start of your pet parenthood journey or healed a heartache from the past, that connection ignited a flame of love that still shines bright.
Though we yearn for our furry friends to stay forever, their time on Earth is fleeting. With each passing day, you notice their gentle aging, and the awareness of their limited time together tugs at your heart. The looming goodbye feels heavy, and navigating this inevitable loss can be daunting.
Yet, remember that you’re not alone in this emotional journey. The love you share forms an unbreakable bond. Every tail wag, every purr, every embrace weaves a tapestry of love that will endure.
While their physical presence might be brief, the love they bring lasts a lifetime. The memories, joy, and wisdom they impart continue shaping you. So as time passes, know you’re not alone. Treasure each moment, celebrate the love you share, and hold onto the knowledge that your pet wishes for your happiness. They’ll forever be part of your heart, guiding you with the love they’ve left behind.
Just five days ago, I found myself saying a heartfelt goodbye to my dear companion, Gus – a loving and loyal 17-year-old King Cavalier Spaniel. Gus graced my life with warmth and unwavering affection, making our parting truly bittersweet. As I pour my feelings into these words, my intention is to extend a gentle and comforting hand to you as you too prepare to say farewell to your cherished pet.
From the depths of my heart, I truly understand the mix of emotions and challenges that come with this journey. I want to walk alongside you, offering support during these tender moments. As your beloved companion gracefully ages by your side, there are aspects to this process that may not be immediately apparent. With all sincerity, I hope that by sharing my personal experiences and insights, I can provide solace and help you navigate this path with compassion, understanding, and a sense of acceptance.
Speak to your pet. Have heartfelt conversations with them. While they’re still by your side, express all the words you wish they could hear. Often pet owners share their regrets about not showing their love and appreciation enough. By sharing your feelings beforehand, you can lighten the burden of potential regrets.
Throughout their time with us and beyond, my pets have always received my daily expressions of love, gratitude, and their importance in my life. This connection persists even when they’re no longer here. Remember, even after your pet has passed, they still listen to you. Don’t hesitate to communicate. Share your wishes, your needs – they’re there, offering support. It’s never too late to convey your feelings to your pet or anyone special in your heart. Whether it’s gratitude, love, or seeking forgiveness – your words carry meaning, and they are heard.
Take Photos & Videos. Preserve the treasured moments with your pet by snapping plenty of photos and crafting keepsakes like adorable paw print ornaments. Don’t forget to capture their endearing quirks in videos – those little things that will bring a smile to your face when you look back. In my own experience, our dear Gus loved to chat, and I’m forever grateful for the videos that capture his sweet voice. Then there was Willy, our therapy dog with the most charming snore, known as the adorable snorer at Sick Kids. I hold onto the audio of his gentle snores.
In the days that come after saying goodbye, these precious keepsakes will help you find solace in the knowledge that their time was well-spent. The photos and videos become little treasures, offering comfort and even a moment of joy when you need it most.
Talk to Your Children About Pet Loss. Involve your children in this tender process. Approach them gently, explaining that your pet is growing older or facing illness and will soon find rest in a place called pet heaven. Tailor your conversation to their ages, sharing appropriate details and patiently addressing their questions. Offer them solace by assuring them that after your pet’s passing, they will no longer experience pain.
When the time comes to bid farewell, consider whether your children wish to be present. Honor their choice, whatever it may be. As you guide your children through this process, remember that children possess remarkable strength. Sharing in the journey of your pet’s farewell can be a powerful lesson in compassion and understanding, showing them that love, and support endure, even in the hardest moments.
Treasure Every Second. When your pet is entering their senior years or facing health challenges, it’s the perfect time to embrace each passing moment. Shower them with affection – there’s no harm in indulging them a bit during this chapter of their life. Serve up their favorite meal and snuggle on the couch, sharing tender touches and meaningful talks. And if your furry companion still has some energy left, take them for walks in the places they love the most. These instances will become cherished memories to hold close to your heart.
Before the time comes to say goodbye, take a moment to reflect on these important questions and put together a thoughtful list:
Are you going to the Veterinarian office or are they coming to you? When the day comes to bid farewell, consider whether you’ll visit the veterinarian’s office or if they’ll come to your home. It’s an important decision – are you choosing to say goodbye in the comfort of your own space, or at your vet’s office? Keep these crucial contact details – phone numbers and addresses – right at the top of your emergency list.
Be Prepared for Emergencies. Think about where the nearest animal hospital is located. What if you face an unexpected emergency with your pet, and nobody can come to your home? Imagine if it’s a weekend or the middle of the night, and your regular vet’s office is closed – where can you find the closest animal hospital? It’s vital to have their phone number and address at hand. And if you need to rush to the animal hospital, try to call ahead if possible, so they can be ready for your arrival.
Prepare Your Pet Sitter. If you have other furry companions, think about whether you want them to be present to bid farewell to their friend. If not, think about having your pet sitter available to stay with your pets. These companions can sense your emotions, and they’ll share in the sense of loss and heartache.
Preparing for the Farewell. As you navigate this difficult time, it’s essential to consider how you’d like to honor your cherished pet once they’ve crossed the rainbow bridge. Take a moment to reflect on the choices you have regarding their remains. Will you opt for cremation? Are you thinking of keeping their ashes in a beautiful urn, or perhaps scattering them in a place they loved, like their favorite beach or trail? These are questions that you might be asked either before or after your pet’s journey comes to an end. Take the time to contemplate these decisions when you’re in a calm state of mind. It’s far easier to make these choices with a clear head than when overwhelmed with grief. You’ll find various options available, including home burial if it’s feasible, utilizing a pet cemetery, choosing cremation, or arranging for veterinary disposal. Some choices might necessitate approvals from the health department, appropriate urns, or special caskets.
In my own experience, we received our beloved Gus’ ashes in an ash shaker, a container designed for easy scattering. Additionally, we obtained a separate container to hold his ashes in paw charms, a precious reminder that will hang in our cars. There’s an array of alternatives to explore, from urns and charms to photo frames that hold both ashes and a cherished photo.
After your dear companion crosses over, you can anticipate having their ashes returned to you within approximately two weeks. In our case, we were grateful to have Gus’ ashes back in just four days as it brought us some comfort knowing he was home with us once again.
Preserving Their Essence. Have you thought about keeping a lock of their fur? The vet can trim it before they cross over. For some, like myself, these treasured locks find a home in exquisite charms that become wearable keepsakes, either as jewelry or keychains.
A Comforting Melody. Have you considered the power of music? Soft, soothing tunes can bring immense comfort. Infuse your pet’s transition with a touch of magic by playing gentle music throughout. In our household, bedtime meditation melodies are a shared tradition between my husband Ross, our dogs, and me. When Gus was crossing, I turned on our special meditation track. This simple act filled the air with serenity, wrapping us in a sense of calm and making the moment uniquely special.
Preparing Your Heart. Facing the passing of a cherished pet is never easy. You might find yourself anticipating grief, yet the true impact of your pet’s role in your life often becomes clear only once they’re no longer with you. Learning about the stages of grief and recognizing what you and your family might go through can provide some guidance.
These five stages of grief are: Denial Anger Bargaining Depression Acceptance
During times of mourning, pet owners often feel a mix of emotions that might leave them wondering if the pain will ever lessen. It’s important to understand that moving forward doesn’t mean forgetting the loss; it means finding a way to heal alongside it. Navigating grief involves recognizing, feeling, and gradually learning to cope. And remember, you’re not on this journey alone.
Creating a Place of Remembrance. Whether you choose to keep your pet’s remains or not, you can design a serene corner in your garden for reflection and memories. It could be the very spot where your pet enjoyed lounging or dozing. Consider adding a pet memorial marker, a tribute to your friend whether they’re buried there or not.
In our journey, we placed a cement fire hydrant in memory of Rocky, and a beautiful rose bush stands as a tribute to Molly. I’ve also designated a special drawer beside my desk, home to my dogs’ collars and the heartfelt messages they communicated after crossing the bridge. These heartfelt mementos continue to honor their presence in my life.
Embracing The Inevitable with Love. While facing the inevitable passing of your pet might evoke a sense of sadness, it also serves a poignant reminder to treasure every precious moment you have together. Within life’s intricate tapestry, all living beings embark on their unique journey, and acknowledging this truth empowers you to both prepare for and honor their transition. Each day spent in their presence becomes a celebration of the profound bond you’ve shared – a testament to the abundant love and joy you’ve experienced together.
Always remember, your beloved pet’s deepest wish is for your enduring happiness and well-being, mirroring the wholeness they’ve discovered on the other side. In this journey, may you find comfort, solace, and unwavering support.
From my near-death experience, I’ve gained a profound understanding of the journey our pets make as they pass on. This insight allows me to offer you deep comprehension, comfort, and clarity during this tough time. By connecting with me, you’ll find reassurance that your beloved companion is transitioning with care from both realms. This bridge of connection between you and your furry friend brings solace. I also offer healing for both you and your pet, easing this transition. Let’s find comfort and peace together on this emotional journey.
Embrace this opportunity for solace and support during this tender journey. To discover more about this transformative experience schedule a session with me, Sue London, who truly understands and cares, visit: http://asksuelondon.ca/hospice-pet-doula-service/
I wish you much love and many blessings, Sue London
If you seek solace, healing, and forward movement for both you and your cherished pet, Sue London stands ready to support you. Discover her transformative range of services she offers at: http://asksuelondon.ca/services/