Dealing with the Loss of Your Pet

Dealing with the Loss of Your Pet (PDF)

2022 • 2 Pages • 445.62 KB • English
Posted July 01, 2022 • Submitted by Superman

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Summary of Dealing with the Loss of Your Pet

Dealing with the Loss of Your Pet Support Resources Oregon Veterinary Medical Association Portland: DoveLewis Pet Loss Support Support group meets 5 times per month. Memorial art activity each month. 24 hour support message line: (503) 234-2061 Philomath: Ark Animal Hospital Individual counseling by appointment with Juliane Conrad, MS Ed LPC. (541) 929-5061 Salem: Willamette Humane Society Support group meets first and third Saturdays. (503) 585-5900 ASPCA Pet Loss Hotline (877) 474-3310 UC Davis Pet Loss Support Hotline School of Veterinary Medicine (800) 565-1526 WSU Pet Loss Support Hotline College of Veterinary Medicine (866) 266-8635 or (509) 335-5704 Association for Pet Loss & Bereavement Best Friends Network Delta Society Pet Loss Grief Support Oregon Veterinary Medical Association 1880 Lancaster Drive NE, Suite 118 Salem, OR 97305 (503) 399-0311 • (800) 235-3502 © 2008 Oregon Veterinary Medical Association The Oregon Veterinary Medical Association is a non-profit organization of veterinarians who are dedicated to helping people give their animals a high quality of life. 3.08 With acknowledgment to Enid S. Traisman, MSW, CT, CFS DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital Oregon Veterinary Medical Association SAMPLE The loss of a beloved pet can be very painful. Pets are part of our families and a source of unconditional love. When they die we experience feelings much like those when we lose a human family member or friend. Understanding the grieving process and knowing that it is acceptable—and often necessary—to grieve for your pet will help you to process your feelings of loss and adapt to life without your pet. Making the Decision to Euthanize Your Pet The decision to euthanize your pet is often difficult and overwhelming. Talk to your veterinarian about your pet's health and treatment options. You will want to consider your pet's quality of life as well as your family's, his level of pain, and his ability to do the things he once enjoyed. Feelings of guilt are common, but it is important to remember that as caregiver the decision to euthanize is often the kindest and most unselfish decision you can make for your sick or injured pet. Grieving for Your Pet It is important to give yourself permission to grieve the loss of your pet. Grief is a process that is experienced differently by each person and at an individual pace. If you find yourself "stuck" in any one phase, it may be helpful to seek counseling or the support of others who have experienced the loss of a pet. Typically, the grief process includes the following stages: ❖ Shock and Denial: A phase where the pet's death does not seem real. ❖ Anger and Guilt: The bereaved may lash out at family, God or the veterinarian, blaming others or themselves for the pet's death. ❖ Bargaining: The bereaved may try to make a deal with God or the veterinarian in hopes of bringing their pet back. ❖ Depression: As a reaction to the life change created by the loss, the bereaved may feel sad, hopeless, confused, guilty, drained, and helpless. All of these feelings are normal; however, if depression lingers, you may want to see a physician for an evaluation. ❖ Acceptance and Resolution: Acceptance and resolution occurs when the loss is integrated into the bereaved's life. It does not mean forgetting about the pet. The Healing Process Honoring and memorializing your pet is an important part of the grieving and healing process. You might consider: ❖ making a donation to an animal-related organization in memory of your pet ❖ carrying out a ritual such as lighting a candle for your pet or having a memorial service with family and friends ❖ making a scrapbook of your pet's life ❖ writing about your special memories of your pet ❖ talking to others who have experienced a similar loss, such as in a support group The right time to consider adopting another pet is when you feel that you are ready. Some bereaved are ready soon after the loss of their pet; others may want to wait until they have completed the grieving process. Talking to Children About Loss It is important to be honest with children and explain the permanency of the pet's death in simple, straightforward terms. It is not advisable to tell a child that the pet has been "put to sleep" as the child may become afraid to go to sleep himself. Encourage the child to talk about the pet and give the child lots of reassurance. Children work through grief by "doing;" drawing pictures or writing a story about their pet may help them adjust to the loss. Surviving Pets in the Household Surviving pets may exhibit anxiety, restlessness, and depression. They may search for their lost companions and crave more attention from their owner; however, too much attention may lead to separation anxiety. Try to keep the surviving pet's eating, sleeping and exercise routine as normal as possible to give the pet a sense of stability. It is not advisable to get a new pet as a companion for your surviving pet unless you are emotionally ready yourself. SAMPLE

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