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Grief Support

grief support

We are Pet Owners Too and We Understand Grief

All of us at Peaceful Pets Aquamation are pet owners too, and we understand that facing the death of a pet or even a pet with a serious illness can be emotionally devastating.

Losing a pet is one of the most difficult things a person can experience. Whether the loss of a pet is sudden, or something you’ve anticipated for weeks or months, it is a highly emotional time. Each person experiences grief differently – understanding what to expect during this time may be helpful for you.

We’ve talked to pet parents about their experience with pet aftercare and the loss of a pet, and have developed the following guides to address some common questions and feelings.

Pet Loss Frequently Asked Questions

How is euthanizing done?

Your veterinarian will give your pet an intravenous injection, which is generally a combination of chemicals designed to give a quick and painless termination of nerve and muscle functions. Many vets will also give the pet a sedative first to relax them. The American Humane Association offers a good explanation as well: Euthanasia Decision.

What is the best way to tell young children about the death of a pet?

There is no simple answer since it will depend on their age, maturity level and life experience.

Kids Health offers very good advice: When a Pet Dies.

Are there therapists who specialize in pet loss?

Yes, there are some who specialize and many others who work with people who are grieving for all kinds of reasons.

One great resource is the Association for Pet Loss.

For immediate help, Tufts University has a free support line: (508) 839-7966.

Are there on-line sources that can give me information on grieving?

Absolutely. More information can be found in the section above this FAQ titled “Pet Loss and Grief Websites”.

When will I know it's time to put my dog down? How will I know the time is right?

The American Humane Association offers a helpful guide for knowing when it is time: Euthanasia: Making the Decision.

Dr. Andy Roark has also written a very good article regarding the topic: When is the Right Time?

Is there a best way to memorialize my pet?

This is really a personal decision, but the possibilities are endless.

Twelve ways are listed at: 12 ways to memorialize a Deceased Pet. Peaceful Pets Aquamation provides a beautiful engraved and decorated paw print, which many find a wonderful memento. We also can do inked nose and paw prints on watercolor paper that are as cute as they are individualized. More ideas can be found in our catalog.

When it comes time to put my pet down, is it better to do at home or at the veterinarian's office?

Animals are often stressed when going to the veterinarian’s office, so putting the pet down at home is ideal. However, euthanizing a pet at home is more expensive and some owners are also emotionally unable to have it done at home. Here are two explanations of the entire process: Euthanasia…What to Expect and, When is the Right Time?

How do I deal with the death of a pet? My sadness feels overwhelming. How long will it last?

We’ve found several good articles to help you understand what you’re going through. People grieve differently and there is no right or wrong. It’s okay to be sad since pets are part of our families.

Go Ask Alice: Grief over loss of pet

Saying Goodbye to Spot: Pet Loss Bereavement

I feel guilty getting a new pet so soon after a pet's death. When is the right time?

It’s really an individual decision as to when to get a new pet. That being said, adopting a new pet when you’re grieving should usually be avoided. Grieving takes energy and so does bringing a new pet into the family – it’s not fair to you or the pet when you can’t give it the attention it needs. A new pet won’t be like the one you lost. It will have its own personality and energy. Bringing it into the house too soon can cause people to compare the two and that usually doesn’t work. In fact, that can just add to your guilt. Social Work Today offers a good explanation: Saying Goodbye to Spot: Pet Loss Bereavement.

We have other surviving pets – should we allow them to see the pet that has died?

Yes, because pets do grieve. Generally, their mourning can last between two and six weeks. Although, if animals are particularly close, the grieving can last up to six months. It is believed that animals understand death to a degree and allowing the surviving pet(s) to see their departed companion will help them understand that they are gone.

Disclaimer: The purpose of the Peaceful Pets Aquamation’s Resources and Grief Support sections is to inform our clients and friends about available resources both locally and nationally. We do not endorse or recommend any of the individuals, companies or institutions that are listed on these pages. Peaceful Pets Aquamation has no control over the services provided by those listed herein and we have no mechanism to rate, judge or evaluate the quality of their services. We have made every effort to insure that the information provided is correct at the time of its publication. Peaceful Pets Aquamation assumes no responsibility for any changes made by those listed on these pages.

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