Twenty Tips to Help the Process of Grieving for Your Dog
If your dog has had a good life, then (although we dread it happening) we have to accept that death is inevitable.
Making your dog comfortable in old age is part of you caring for him.
Seeing your dog suffer in old age is not an easy process to go through; in fact, it is very traumatic, and you have to ask yourself this.
Is your dog suffering unnecessarily, and can I make him comfortable without suffering more pain?
If the answer is no, then you must take the courage to discuss it with your family and your vet about having your dog euthanized.
Asking your vet or taking the decision is not an easy process. It takes courage to take your dog to the veterinary surgeon and ask them to take your dog’s life.
Pentobarbital is the most commonly used euthanasia agent and is given intravenously at 200 times the strength used for general anesthesia.
Grief affects all of us in different ways. We have recently lost our Golden Retriever Dog, Julius, in his fourteenth year.
So here are a few ways that I know helped me in the grieving process:
- Even though your pain, remember the joy of your dog’s life, the good times you had, and the wonderful memories you will always carry in your mind.
- Dogs are part of the animal kingdom and accept death as natural as living. It is only we humans that let our emotions get in the way. You have to accept, no matter how painful, that you will grieve, and your dog will never be there for you again in his physical form, but only in spirit.
- Do not stop your feelings from showing that you care. Sob, cry, weep, scream, do anything that releases those floods of tears. Whatever happens now, no one can take the memories of your best friend, companion and lifelong friend from you.
- If your dog dies from old age, it is less of a shock. However, his passing can often cause depression. Sitting around either blaming yourself or asking why will do no good. Would he or she want you to be miserable? No! Share your loss with someone close who understands dogs, and do not keep your feeling bottled up.
- Do not be afraid to go for walks on your own where you once walked with your dog, and always remember the happy times.
- Do not destroy all memories you have of your dog by immediately getting rid of everything related to him, like toys etc. We did this with our last dog, and I regret it. Just because he is gone does not mean to say that his favorite toys or bed have to be instantly disposed of. These can be moved when you feel its right to do so.
- Do not shut out your grieving. Let your feelings of grief flow like rain in a thunderstorm or like the steady flow of water cascading over a waterfall. Let your troubled mind be taken and washed clean of all sorrow downstream.
- Do not feel guilty about anything you feel you could have done better in your dog’s life. Celebrate his life with you and your family instead of his death.
- Make a scrapbook of his or her memories like pictures or things that you remember about the happy times, the illnesses, everything that has been part of your dogs and your life.
- Do not judge yourself and feel guilty about the things that you did not do for him. Instead, celebrate that special time you spent together and know you did everything you could to make his life happy and content.
- Depending on whether you buried your dog at home, in a pet cemetery, or scattered his ashes on his favorite walk. Visit the spots frequently and often so that you can spend some time coming to terms with his parting. After all, you know he is still with you.
- Do not blame anyone for your dog’s death unless it was involved in an accident. Blame only causes more bitterness; accept that it is a natural part of living.
- Just think how selfish we are when our dog dies and is taken away from us. It is our feelings that hurt, and we ask ourselves, why did he have to die? He or she filled our lives and became a major part of it for several years. Time will heal, but you will never forget.
- The more you remember your dog’s life and not his death, the quicker you will accept that your dog is not there anymore in his physical form. But he will always be in your heart, and that is the best place for him to be.
- Anger can have a habit of taking over part of your life after your dog dies. Maybe its aimed at the person that caused your dog’s death, whether in an accident or a veterinary surgeon who use anesthesia. Blame cannot be aimed at anyone; you must accept that your dog died, either of old age or in an accident or disease. Anger clouds the mind and can let bitterness into your heart and life, so do not do this, or it will come back and bite you.
- Do not keep your dog’s death secret. Talk to your children and let the people know that you associated with, while he or she was alive. Talk about him, but talk about his life, not his death, talk about the happy times, the good time times, when he was not so good, including times when you were not pleased with them, but for God’s sake, talk about him!
- Losing a dog leaves a space in our lives that need to be filled by something, but not another replacement dog, so soon after the death of your dog.
- We spent so much time with our canine buddies and companions that we are lost when they are not there. It is like a missing piece in a jigsaw that will never be replaced. Remember, when a dog comes into your life, he has to adapt to your lifestyle. Now he is gone; you have to adapt to the changed situation. If your dog could do it, why can not you?
- So do not sit around and mope or feel sorry for yourself; your dog would not do that if he had lost you. We like to believe they would, but the reality is someone can soon win him or her around with the right approach. Just because you lost your best friend doesn’t mean to say you stop living. He or she would not want that.
- Try and analyze what it is about losing your dog that makes you feel so sad? Was it the way he licked your hand, or was it the way he looked at you? Write them down and make a list. These memories will always be imprinted on your mind and make up a visual memory of who your dog was.
These tips will quickly heal you and help you in the process of grieving for your dog.