Unconditional love. The loss of a dog, euthanasia and dealing with grief may well be part of owning a family pet. Thoughts of what to do when a dog passes away is not a subject that many pet owners tend to think about. As humans we do the same because we don’t tend to think of our own deaths and preparation of a will unit later in life if ever for some people.
I’m not sure if we will ever own another pet when our beloved dog passes but we do know he’s had a great life and we love him very much. I would rather see our dog pass of old age in his sleep rather than pain and suffering. I still hold that close to my heart. When a pet dies, a part of the owner dies with the pet because there is a spot in our hearts that becomes the bonding of pet owner and pet.
Writing this post is bringing a tear to my eye as good memories flashback in my head. I don’t care who you are you the last thing you want to think about as a pet owner is the death of a dog. All the times you might have been upset with you pet, or wished you could go out with your friends but you couldn’t because you didn’t want to leave your pet alone seem trivial.
It’s a beautiful time when you make the decision to become a pet owner. Owning a pet is not cheap and I urge people before they hand over cash to purchase a pet or get one for free to please consider the cost implications to your budget.
My parents have had to go through losing a dog not once but twice. The dogs were like pals and wherever one dog went the other one followed. When one dog passed away the other dog became sad and lonely and in some strange way we think that pets know when their pal passes away.
When we walk our dog we speak to many pet owners and one guy I spoke to said his friend paid $12,000 because they had an ill pet. Some pet owners will stop at nothing to give their pets the full care they need.
Loving a dog is easy to do especially when you have a pet who loves you back. Your pet relies on the gift of love, health, shelter, warmth and food. I’m sure many other things but these are what came to mind. We’ve had our dog now for many years and just this past week we had to make a decision to take him to the veterinarian after we noticed some bleeding in the anal area.
The vet found a lump inside his butt and wants to send bits of it off for testing as well as check out many other lumps he has on his body. She told us that if it is indeed cancer he may only have 5-6 months left to live. I don’t think I felt my heart sink so fast in my life and I wanted to cry like a baby but I held it inside.
Your pet stares at you like nothing in the world is wrong yet you smile back knowing almost everything could be. They could do surgery but the possibility of him not knowing that he is going number 2 is potentially a downfall for us and steroids may be our own option.
After he came out from surgery he was well drugged up but very relaxed and wouldn’t leave our side. I had to carry him to the vehicle being very careful not to upset him. The veterinary assistant told us that the pain medications should last up to 24 hours and if he is crying to come back and get some other pain medications for the dog.
The cost of a weeks worth of medication was $45 and comparable to a Tylenol but for pets. We opted to wait to see how things were before spending that over the top amount for pain medications. Thank goodness we did, he was a champ through it all, I wish I had his strength.
Everything at the veterinarians cost money so if you are not prepared to save money in your budget every month then don’t own a pet. I’m not talking just food , but tags, vet bills, medications. We now save $115.83 per month in our budget as a projected expense and now we know why.
This veterinarian visit cost us just under $600 but something that we didn’t have to put on credit because we had the money saved up. We could have boarded him there for a few days for another alarming amount but we opted to take him home.
Needless to say he slept most of the day, didn’t really eat and was just very relaxed. We took this time to spend with him and comfort him so he knew we were close. There’s a certain closeness you feel when your pet is ill and you want to make sure you do everything you can to ease the pain.
The next morning was a different story, to be honest you wouldn’t have known he had surgery and was stitched up. This s the champ I speak of. He was back to his normal self, panting, tail wagging and wanting food and lots of it. It was like he lost a week from his life being out for the entire day before.
We were thrilled to see the vigour back in his body and two days in now and he is as active as can be. No more bleeding and he seems fine. We still have to face the results of the tests next week no matter what.
We are hoping it’s just an inflammation that can be treated. We even received a phone call from the veterinarian checking up on our dog, which put our minds at ease knowing how much she cared.
While at the veterinarians clinic we decided it was probably a good time to ask about the euthanization of pets. I wanted to know what the procedure entailed (how to euthanize a dog) and the costs.
We also asked the veterinarian technician, what if my dog passes away at home and what to do. She was happy to help us and says more pet owners need to take an active involvement in their pets life from the time they bring a pet home right until planning for dog loss.
In a way it was a bit odd asking about death as it’s just not something we are comfortable with. Were we being cruel talking about it with our pet in the same room? Were we jinxing his recovery? All these questions popped into our minds but we knew that planning was the right thing to do. We wanted to know so we can make informed decisions beforehand.
What is Euthanasia?
The definition of euthanized is the act of humanely putting an animal to death or allowing it to die as by withholding extreme medical measures.
She told us that in the event that we had to euthanize your dog (putting your dog down) because he was suffering we had a couple of options. I was getting a chill down my back because I knew that if we are faced with this decision at some point it will be one of the hardest decisions we will ever have to face in our lives thus far
Euthanasia in Greek means “A Good Death“.
Keep in mind costs to euthanize a dog may vary depending on what your veterinarian charges, but ours said it is a standard price for most. I’m not aware of any free euthanization clinics or vets but you could always ask your veterinarian.
1- We could pay around $100 for a sedative for the pet which would give us time to spend with our pet, say our good-byes and whatever else we need to do to make the process a bit lighter on the heart. I don’t think anything could take the instant pain away of watching your pet close it’s eyes for the very last time.
2- We give your pet a lethal injection for around $90 and your pet will close his/her eyes as if going to sleep, stop breathing, go into cardiac arrest and be gone in a few seconds.
There’s no colourful way to put this, it’s the way it’s done and the way she explained it to me. You need to decide when the right time to let your dog go is especially if they are suffering silently.
In my head I was visualizing it all going down and my heart ached. I don’t know if and how I can handle this. Not everyone wants to stick around and watch she says as it’s just too painful.
Coping With The Loss Of A Dog
Grieving the loss of a pet is going to be something I will experience one day and I don’t think there is anything that can prepare me for that moment except for knowing he’s in a better place. Every pet deserves the respect, love and dignity like any other pet or human when your dog dies.
If you know someone whose dog passed away and wonder, what do I say, well the answer is simple. I would simply say, sorry for your loss and you can address the pet’s name and maybe some good times you can reminisce about when you were around the pet. I know that if and when our dog passes away that we want to think only good memories of our true friend and our times together.
It won’t be easy coping if we are faced with the loss of our dog so we will have to remove the pet bed, bowls, leash all the memories that surround us and put them to rest as well. We have lots of photos, plenty of good memories in our minds, in our hearts and surrounding us.
Our veterinarian did mention there are places that you can hold communal cremation if you would like to go that route. I did a bit of research after she gave me some information. You can have your pet cremated either with other pets and have his/her remains returned to you or have your pet cremated alone and the ashes returned.
I also know some pet owners who simply have a burial ceremony on their property and bury the pet after goodbyes, especially if a pet passes away in their sleep. It’s not uncommon to see pet owners set up a dog grave so the memory of their pet lives on.
Through online research I found an actual pet cemetery called Gateway Lakeview between Ottawa and Kingston on the shores of Graham Lake with a location in Toronto, Ontario as well. It was opened in 1987 after a family decided to give their pets a place to rest and today 22 years later they have revolutionized the aftercare industry for pets in Canada. They adhere to the International Association of Pet Cemeteries and Crematories IAPCC.
Gateway provides services including communal and individual cremations, viewing and visitation facilities, and a variety of memorial products.
I don’t know the actual cost of the cremation but they do offer pricing on some of the products they do sell. You can choose from various granite textured urns priced at around $35 or a hand crafted cedar urn priced from $55-$85 for larger dogs.
There are also many other memories of your pet they offer such as precious paws which is a clay paw print for reasonable prices. Alternatively you can search Amazon to see what products they offer for pet loss. Gateway also have a free pet memorial online called the Gateway On-line Memorial Park where you can share memories of your pet.
We started The Bridge On-line Memorial Park as a way for you and your family to memorialize your pet, any time you want, any where you want. Visit your own pet or someone else’s. Take a stroll through the Park and visit some close friends who’ve crossed over.
Check your area listings to see if you have a similar pet after-care facility near you offering the services you need after the loss of a dog. Another great source of information on pet loss is at Pet Loss Matters which is operated by Bunny Hankers out of the UK a pet owner who has spent the last few years researching everything she needed about pet loss.
Pet Loss Poem
The more I researched about pet loss I was finding this poem all over the internet so I believe a blog post about the loss of a dog should always have this lovely poem for those that visit and read what you are sharing and grieving a dog. The author of this poem is unknown but whoever wrote had a deep love and knew that those mourning a pet it would bring a smile and hope back to their life.
The Rainbow BridgeThere is a bridge connecting heaven and earth. It is called the Rainbow Bridge because of it’s many colours. Just this side of the Rainbow Bridge there is a land of meadows, hills and valleys with lush green grass. When a beloved pet dies, the pet goes to this place. There is always food and water and warm spring weather. The old and frail animals are young again. Those who are maimed are made whole again. they play all day with each other. There is only one thing missing. They are not with their special person who loved them on Earth. So, each day they run and play until the day comes when one suddenly looks up ! The nose twitches! The ears are up! The eyes are staring! And this one suddenly runs from the group! You have been seen, and when you and your special friend meet, you will take him or her in your arms and embrace. Our face is kissed again and again and again, and you look once more into the eyes of your trusting pet. The you cross the Rainbow Bridge together. never again to be separated.
The loss of a dog and dealing with the grief that follows will be tough for any pet owner. Making a decision to put down your dog through euthanasia is something that may well break your heart. As pet owners we need to be prepared to show our dog that we love him very much and will do our very best to take care of him until the end. We love you buddy!
Have you lost a pet and want to share your story or memories, please share them below. Were your prepared to pay for the costs involved with your animals illness if any? Do you have any pet keepsakes?
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Photo Credit: Double Rainbow Evgeni Dinev and ill pets Debbie Spoon/freedigitalphotos. net