We can ignore it, we can hate it, and we can say it won’t happen, but the death of a beloved pet is a “when” event versus an “if” event. Not talking about it, vehemently hating it, and denying it will certainly not make it go away.
As tough as it might sound, understanding the options available when that inevitable day comes will certainly help a loving pet parent to make sure the end-of- life walk is as peaceful, honorable and dignified as possible. Not to mention knowing that months later a still-grieving pet owner can look back on that end-of- life time and know in their heart that the end was perfect. That there were no “I wish I would’ve” thoughts, no “I didn’t know” thoughts, and no regrets.
It’s interesting that we plan more for a vacation, a birthday party, a holiday than we do for the one event that will happen to every living being. Our death. Take some time to give this event its due respect of making sure it’s fully representative of a life well lived.
As macabre as it might sound, asking questions ahead of time to understand what will be the perfect way to celebrate the life shared with a special pet will actually aid in the grief felt after their death. Questioning the various options to honor a pet helps in removing the fear of the unknown on a variety of levels, from the care of a pet’s physical body after the death, to other opportunities such as having a paw print or a fur-clipping of your special friend.
For some pet parents, they have opted to know the exact day of their pet’s transition with the scheduling of a euthanasia. These final days are special gifts to create those final memories, from inviting others who loved the pet for a last celebration, to possibly the fulfillment of a bucket list of activities.
Much like the planning process we go through to plan a human loved one’s celebration of life, questions like these can play a part in making sure every detail is covered:
- Is there a toy I’d like my pet to have with him?
- She loved chicken McNuggets; can she have those cremated with her?
- Where are the proper burial places? What’s green burial? What’s the local laws?
- What’s the best way to write an epitaph, or a memorialization piece’s engraved message?