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Question
Posted by: Mercia | 2011/07/11

Incredible sadness over loss of pets

Hi Cybershrink

We have to put our 14 year old dog down. She is still fine. The reason is that is coming to the end of her life and we can see she is rickety. We have had other dogs before. This one was extra speical to us and also because a lot of bad things happened to us in the past few years. She brought joy where there wasn''t any, healed as only a loving animal can. I am a divorced female and I asked my mom to move in with me 3 years ago. The dog came with and I adore her as much as my mom does. We are taking her down to the vet on Friday and are struggling to deal with this as well. We both knew it was coming (the vet told us) but I am also moving us into a security complex that does not accept animals. This has brought it forward which makes it worse.

I also have to give up my cat (adopted against my better judgement with heart ruling my head 3 years ago) because I have severe allergies and they recently compounded landing me up in hospital with a serious asthma attack. I am just so sad and so is my mom as the pets are at home with her all day. To us it is like putting down our children and they are people to us.

I knew this day would come as well because one day my mom is going to need to go into an old age home.

How do I comfort her? And myself? The thing with animals is that they only love you and never hurt you. I said to her if they could talk they would say it is OK. She is alone at home all day as I work and will have a vehicle at her disposable but she is just distraught.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Loss is always painful, or there was no love at all in the first place. It is a pain we can surmount as we work through the grief. The grief is of course very significant in the loss of a much loved pet, and that is natural and to be respected. Its worse in some ways when it comes to having a loved companion "put down" as even if it is decided to be in the pet's best interests, as it adds a measure of deciding on their fate, and being a pat of the loss.
As with any other form of grief, there is no simple solution or easy comfort. Remind yourself how important i is to be kind to the animals and think of saving them from further pain. A replacement pet is not practical in the situation you describe, though maybe later she might think of a cage-bird, perhaps ? Counselling helps, and simply sharing the grief together, talking, when you feel like it, of the pet you miss, and remembering them fondly. Are there other options form your mom to occupy herself usefully, maybe with voluntary work of some kind, helping others ?

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Our users say:
Posted by: val | 2011/07/13

I too have put down my animals and it is really painful as they luv unconditionally ...... my one dog visits me every now and again and its very comforting to feel him bouncing on the bed....keep an open mind and you will know when your animal is visiting.......they never leave !!!

Reply to val
Posted by: Lee | 2011/07/13

I do so know how you feel - I lost my belowed cat recently - also had to have him put down. This poem really helped me:

If I Should Grow Frail
If it should be that I grow frail and weak
And pain does keep me from my sleep,
Then will you do what must be done
For this - the last battle - can''t be won.
You will be sad I understand
But don''t let grief then stay your hand.
For on this day, more than the rest
Your love and friendship must stand the test.
We have had so many happy years,
You wouldn''t want me to suffer so.
When the time comes, please, let me go.

Take me to where my needs they''ll tend,
Only, stay with me till the end.
And hold me firm and speak to me
Until my eyes no longer see.
I know in time you will agree
It is a kindness you do to me.
Although my tail its last has waved,
From pain and suffering I have been saved.
Don''t grieve that it must now be you
Who has to decide this thing to do.
We''ve been so close - we two -these years,
Don''t let your heart hold any tears.

Reply to Lee
Posted by: Pet lover | 2011/07/12

Oh I am so sorry to hear about your loss. Over the years I have had to have 6 pets put down, all due to incurable illnesses and have always been devastated. As you say, all they give is unconditional love, never bear a grudge and always there with a wagging tail. You have to console yourself that during your pets lifetime you have always done your best, loved them and appreciated them and made their life on earth a pleasure and know that they have loved you in return and fully understand that when it was time to say good bye you did it in their best interest and stopped their suffering and they have forgiven you, so please dont beat yourself up, but look on the joy you have had with them

Reply to Pet lover
Posted by: cybershrink | 2011/07/11

Loss is always painful, or there was no love at all in the first place. It is a pain we can surmount as we work through the grief. The grief is of course very significant in the loss of a much loved pet, and that is natural and to be respected. Its worse in some ways when it comes to having a loved companion "put down" as even if it is decided to be in the pet's best interests, as it adds a measure of deciding on their fate, and being a pat of the loss.
As with any other form of grief, there is no simple solution or easy comfort. Remind yourself how important i is to be kind to the animals and think of saving them from further pain. A replacement pet is not practical in the situation you describe, though maybe later she might think of a cage-bird, perhaps ? Counselling helps, and simply sharing the grief together, talking, when you feel like it, of the pet you miss, and remembering them fondly. Are there other options form your mom to occupy herself usefully, maybe with voluntary work of some kind, helping others ?

Reply to cybershrink

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