Estimated reading time: 12 minutes
Losing a dog, euthanasia, and dealing with grief may be part of owning a family pet.
Your pet is part of the family and deserves the best exit when ill or frail.
Thoughts about what to do when a dog passes away are not something that many pet owners tend to consider.
As humans, we do the same because we don’t tend to think of our deaths and preparation for a willing 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 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.
Becoming A Pet Owner
When a pet dies, a part of the owner dies with the pet.
It’s a beautiful time when you decide to become a pet owner, and sad when they cross over.
There is a spot in our hearts that becomes the bonding of pet owner and pet called unconditional love.
Writing this post is bringing a tear to my eye as good memories flash back in my head.
The last thing you want to think about as a pet owner is the death of a dog.
Being upset with your pet or wishing you could go out with your friends but not because you didn’t want to leave your pet alone seems trivial.
Pet Ownership Is Costly
Owning a pet is not cheap, and I urge people to consider the cost implications of their budget before purchasing or adopting.
My parents have had to go through losing a dog not once but twice.
The dogs were like pals; wherever one dog went, the other followed.
When one dog passed away, the other dog became sad and lonely.
In some strange way, we think that pets know when their pal passes away.
When walking our dog, one neighbour I talked 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 necessary care.
It’s wise to invest in pet insurance when your pet is young.
Loving a dog is easy, especially when a pet 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 for many years, and just this past week, we decided to take him to the veterinarian after we noticed some bleeding in his anal area.
The vet found a lump inside his butt and wants to send bits of it off for testing.
He also had other lumps on his body that she wanted to examine further.
She told us that he may only have 5-6 months to live if it is cancer.
I don’t think I felt my heart sink so fast in my life, and I wanted to cry, but I held it inside.
Your pet stares at you like nothing in the world is wrong, yet you smile back, knowing differently.
They could do surgery, but the possibility of him not knowing that he is going number two is potentially a downfall for us, and steroids may be our option.
After-Surgery Pet Care
After his surgery, he was drugged but very relaxed and wouldn’t leave our side.
I had to carry him to the vehicle, careful not to upset him.
The veterinary assistant told us the pain medications should last 24 hours.
However, if he was crying to come back and get some other pain medications for the dog.
A week’s medication cost was $4, comparable to a Tylenol but for pets.
We opted to wait to see how things were before spending over the top on pain medications.
Thank goodness we did; he was a champ through it all; I wish I had his strength.
Saving For Vet Expenses
Everything at the veterinarian costs money, so if you are not prepared to save money in your budget every month, don’t own a pet.
I’m not talking about food, but tags, vet bills, and medications.
We saved $115.83 per month in our budget as a projected expense.
This veterinarian visit cost us 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.
He slept most of the day, didn’t eat, and was just very relaxed.
We spent this time with him and comforted him so he knew we were close.
You feel closeness when your pet is ill and want to ensure you do everything to ease their pain.
A New Dog, A New Day
The following day was a different story.
You wouldn’t have known he had surgery and was stitched up.
He returned to his usual self, panting, tail wagging, and wanting food.
It was like he lost a week of his life being out for the entire day before.
We were thrilled to see the vigor back in his body, and two days in now, he is as active as possible.
No more bleeding, and he seems fine.
We still have to face the results of the tests next week and hope it’s an inflammation that can be treated.
We even received a phone call from the veterinarian checking up on our dog, putting our minds at ease knowing how much she cared.
While at the veterinarian’s 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 passed away at home and what to do.
She said that more pet owners need to be actively involved in their pet’s life from when they bring them home until planning for dog loss.
It was odd asking about death as it’s just not something we were comfortable with.
- Were we being cruel talking about it with our pet in the same room?
- Maybe we would be jinxing his recovery.
All these questions were relevant, and we knew that planning was the right thing to do.
Given that he was ill, we wanted to know so we could 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 if we had to euthanize our dog (putting our dog down) because he was suffering, we had a couple of options.
I was getting a chill because I knew that if faced with this decision, it would be one of the most complex we would have to face in our lives thus far.
Euthanasia in Greek means “A Good Death.”
Please remember that costs to euthanize a dog may vary depending on what your veterinarian charges, but ours said it is a standard price for most.
Types Of Euthanasia
I’m unaware of free euthanization clinics or vets, but you could always ask your veterinarian.
- We could pay around $100 for a sedative for the pet. Doing so would give us time to spend with our pet, say our goodbyes, and do 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 from watching your pet close its eyes for the very last time.
- We give your pet a lethal injection for around $90, and your pet will close its 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 how it’s done and how she explained it to me.
You must decide when to let your dog go, especially if they suffer silently.
I was visualizing it happening, and my heart ached, and I didn’t know how I would handle this.
She says that not everyone wants to stick around and watch, as it’s just too painful.
Coping With The Loss Of A Dog
Grieving the loss of a pet will be something I will experience one day.
I don’t think anything can prepare me for that moment except knowing that he’s in a better place.
When your dog dies, every pet deserves respect, love, and dignity like any other pet or human.
If you know someone whose dog passed away and wonder, what do I say?
Well, the answer is simple.
I would say sorry for your loss, and you can address the pet’s name and reminisce about when you were around the pet.
I know that if and when our dog passes away, we only want to think of good memories of our faithful friends and our times together.
It won’t be easy coping if we are faced with losing our dog, so we will have to remove the pet bed, bowls, and leash all the memories surrounding us and put them to rest.
We have lots of photos and plenty of good memories in our minds, in our hearts, and surrounding us.
Our veterinarian mentioned places to hold communal cremation if you want to go that route.
I did a bit of research after she gave me some information.
You can have your pet cremated 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 have a burial ceremony on their property and bury the pet after their goodbyes, especially if a pet dies 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 a pet cemetery called Gateway Lakeview between Ottawa and Kingston on the shores of Graham Lake in Toronto, Ontario.
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 offer pricing on some of the products they 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.
They offer many other memories of your pet, such as precious paws, which is a clay paw prints for reasonable prices.
Alternatively, you can search Amazon to see what products they offer for pet loss.
Remembering Your Dog
Gateway also has an accessible pet memorial online called the Gateway Online 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, operated by Bunny Hankers out of the UK.
She is a pet owner who has spent the last few years researching everything about pet loss.
Pet Loss Poem
The more I researched about pet loss I was finding, The Rainbow Bridge poem all over the internet.
I believe a blog post about the loss of a dog should have this poem for those who visit and are grieving their pet.
The author of this poem is unknown, but whoever wrote it had a deep love for dogs.
They knew those mourning a pet would find this poem to bring a smile and hope to their life.
The Rainbow Bridge
There is a bridge connecting heaven and earth.
It is called the Rainbow Bridge because of its many colours.
Just this side of the Rainbow Bridge 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 the 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 repeatedly, and you look once more into the eyes of your trusting pet.
Then you cross the Rainbow Bridge together, never again to be separated.
Being A Responsible Pet Owner
Losing a dog and dealing with the following grief will be tough for any pet owner.
Deciding to put down your dog through euthanasia may well break your heart.
As pet owners, we must be prepared to show our dog that we love him very much and will do our best to take care of him until the end.
We love you, buddy!
Were you prepared to pay for the costs involved with your animal’s illness?
Have you lost a pet and want to share your story or memories, please share them below.
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