With the loss of your pet..
Though none of us like to consider the possibility, at some point we are faced with the loss of our much loved pet. There are many emotions – sadness, relief, guilt and even anger. These are a normal part of the grieving process. It can take weeks or many months to overcome these feelings and return to a feeling of peace and acceptance.
Some people prefer a home visit for euthanasia of their pet. This can be organised by calling us on (02) 9498 3000. We are usually able to accommodate you and your pet most days of the week.
It is a very sad time but we understand that most of us will outlive our pets and need to face this decision at some stage. Our vets are compassionate and gentle during this difficult time.
If you are uncertain when is the right time to say good-bye to your pet and make the decision to euthanase him or her, please either make an appointment to see one of our vets or discuss this over the phone. We are here to help so you are not alone in your decision making.
Do you want to be present during euthanasia?
If for any reason you do not want to be present during the euthanasia, our staff with treat your pet with kindness and respect. Some owners feels this is a last supportive act they can perform for their pet with whom they shared a strong bond, but others are simply not up to it emotionally. If you are scared about the process of euthanasia, have your vet go through the process step by step so you can make a decision whether you would like to stay or not. We will be able to accommodate your needs regardless of whether you stay with the pet or say goodbye prior to euthanasia.
Sometimes losing a pet it feels like losing a member of your own family, particularly if a strong bond has been formed. For this reason, it can be extremely upsetting and can affect people emotionally in different ways. Sometimes it is necessary to seek professional support from a counsellor who is specially trained in helping people overcome their distress over losing a much loved pet.
Over the years, our staff have recommended Dr David Foote, who is a veterinarian with further qualifications in bereavement counselling. He has assisted many of our clients in the past with the grieving process and being a veterinarian himself, loves animals and can empathise with what you are going through. Dr David Foote is available for phone consultations ph 0425 281 424 or refer to his website www.davidfoote.com.au
Please contact us for assistance or for further information about private, professional bereavement support. We are here to help.
A dignified burial is what we all want for our pet. However burying your pet at home is not always possible due to council regulations, so a range of alternative options are available.
If a photo and some memories are enough then we can arrange a routine cremation, where your pet is cremated but the ashes are not returned. We assure you that your pet is cremated in a humane manner and is not taken to the tip.
If you would like the ashes of your pet to be returned we can offer a private cremation.
Below are some options for private cremation:
Scatter Box (so you can scatter the ashes)
Timber Box (either sealed or unsealed)
Timber Photo Box (to enable a photo of your pet to be placed on the outside of the box)
Sandstone Plaque – if you have already laid your best friend to rest and would like a permanent memory we can arrange a beautiful plaque to be made
If you would like to leave a tribute to your pet on our website please let us know. You can create a small video, send some photos, write a few words or a poem and we can immortalize your pet on our blog. Email us email@example.com with your tribute for our website.
There is also the option of making a donation in the name of your pet through the Veterinary Science Foundation. The money goes to researching pet diseases that have yet to be cured or where further information is needed about a particular disease or treatment, so it is a good cause. Please go to their website for further information about making a donation https://www.alumniandfriends.usyd.edu.au/VSF.asp
Explaining the Loss of a Pet to your Children
Parents are often very worried about the effects the loss of a much loved pet may have on their children. It is important to handle these situations appropriately as if you do this, your children will be better able to cope emotionally with future losses and the situation will be less traumatic.
Another expression for euthanasia is “putting the pet to sleep”. While this saying is acceptable amongst adults, do not let young children hear it as they may become confused and think that routine sleep means someone is going to die, or think that the dog is asleep rather than dead.
Do not lie to your children. If you lie to a child about something as important as this, the child may lose trust in your word and you would be modeling dishonesty as a behaviour for the child.
Children do have a tendency to blame themselves and even if the child was involved in the pet’s death, it is vital that the child is reassured that it is not their fault. The child may blame the parents for making the decision to euthanase their much loved pet and not really understanding the reasons why. This should be explained to the child prior to euthanasia so they can come to grips with it and say goodbye to their loved one.
Children aged 2-3 years usually have no understanding of death. They should be told their pet has died and will not return. Typically, a child in this age group will readily accept another pet in place of the dead one.
Children aged 4-6 years have some understanding of death but may see it as temporary. Grief often takes the form of wetting the bed, lack of appetite and difficulty sleeping.
Children aged 7-9 years are usually aware that death is irreversible. They may become curious about death and its consequences. Parents should be able to respond honestly to any questions that may arise. Children suffering from grief in this age group may have some difficulty learning at school, antisocial behaviour or become clingy.
Children aged 10-11 years understand death as natural, inevitable and consequently, these children usually react to death in a similar manner to adults.
Teenagers react similar to adults but may exhibit denial including the lack of an emotional display. It is important to realise that these young people may be experiencing sincere grief without any outward manifestations.