Putting your Pet to Sleep: Bringing the Surviving Family Members Peace

When we lose a family member, those survivors who are “left behind” must process through theirPet Euthanasia and the Rest of the Family Members' Peace grief to mourn their loss. This grieving process is no different when pet owners lose their pets. Whether your pet passes away on their own, or through euthanasia, it is important to think about how you will memorialize their life and bring peace to the remaining human (and furry) family members.

Before your pet passes away, you might consider planning a special outing or event. You might be sure to take many photos of the event to remember the last happy time with your pet. I have known clients who have taken their dog to the beach for a picnic the day before a scheduled euthanasia to give their pet one last afternoon of beach exploration. Consider if a final event is right for you and your pet.Pet Memorial, Pet Urns and Special Boxes

Within your veterinary hospital, there are many options that your veterinary staff can offer you to memorialize your pet. These options might include special boxes or urns for your pet’s ashes, gathering clips of your pet’s hair for you to save, offering you clay paw prints, or providing special places to memorialize your pet (check out your veterinary hospital’s website for memorial opportunities). At our veterinary hospital, we are often offered generous framed photos of a special pet to hang in our office. These are special reminders of special pets, and serve to share with all our clients how important that pet was to their family.

In many communities, there are pet cemeteries available. A pet owner may wish to bury their pet with a special headstone, purchase a plaque to memorialize their pet, or hold a memorial for their pet. One such cemetery near our veterinary hospital offers many of these services. Click here to see examples of what is available.

There are also many artistic ways to memorialize your pet’s remains. Click here for an interesting website for ideas.

Within your own home, you can do many creative things with your pet’s photos and toys to remember them. To the right are photos of ways that I have memorialized special pets who have passed away.

Regardless of how you decide to remember your pet, it is important to acknowledge that losing a pet is a very emotionally difficult time. Each pet owners will process through this transition in their own way. If you are having an especially hard time coming to terms with a loss, please reach out to the ASPCA’s pet loss hotline at 877- GRIEF-10. They can help you with your own grieving process, as well as provide you with information about helping a child in your life cope with the loss of a pet.

For more ideas about how to memorialize your pet or how to find peace after a pet’s passing, check out this website! www.TwoHeartsPetLoss.com.

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Angela Linvill

Angela has been the Hospital Administrator of a multi-specialty/ emergency/ and general practice veterinary hospital since 2005. She is also the Chair of the Contra Costa County Employer Advisory Council. Angela has a Masters of Science degree in Human Resource Management from Troy University. She is committed to helping pet owners make good decisions about the health care of their pets regardless of their financial situation.

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