Grief. Mourning. Loss.
We know the many events that trigger us to feel these feelings, but it’s hard to truly be ready to feel them when it comes to our pets. They burn brightly, and leave us too quickly. Losing a pet is to lose a member of our family. Many of them are a part of our families for decades, while others come and go in what seems like a blink of the eye, yet they all replace a part of our hearts with one the size of theirs forever.
We want to help you through the process.
Britt’s dedication to her furry family member that shows how sometimes, writing it all down can help process the pain:
“Britt recently dealt with the loss of her mom’s dog, Hanni. A special, spunky little Chiweenie, Hanni stumbled into their lives and changed both of them forever. Britt expressed her grief by recalling how they found her, warm remembrances of some of Hanni’s finest moments, and an outpouring of emotion on Hanni’s final day. Putting your thoughts into words can be cathartic as you experience loss. ” CONTINUE READING >
Once they cross the rainbow bridge, whether it comes naturally, accidentally, or as a result of a heartbreaking decision, final resting places and processes need to be chosen. For many, they want to be able to spread their ashes in a favorite place, and look to traditional ways like cremation. Others choose to bury their fallen family members in their backyard. For some, taxidermy is a way to make sure your pet stays with you. Still others look to non-traditional ways and might go with a process like Aquamation.
But before you can decide on what to do with the remains of your pet, sometimes you have to make the heart-wrenching decision to help them across the rainbow bridge. We all want the highest quality of life for our pets, and watching their condition deteriorate can be a stressful and emotional experience. So, when will you know that it’s the right time? Unfortunately, sometimes our pets take a sudden turn for the worse, when just days or hours before they appeared comfortable. We all want our pets to be comfortable in their final days. You know when your pets just aren’t themselves. Our elderly pals tend to have good days and bad days, but be fair to their well-being, if you notice the bad days continuing to pile up, discuss any issues or concerns with your vet. Being proactive and asking your vet what specific signs and symptoms to keep an extra eye out for, can also be the biggest gift to their well-being.
Once you’ve let your furry friend go, there are many options to responsibly take care of their remains. Cremation is one of the most common choices. Oftentimes veterinary clinics offer cremation, allowing owners to retrieve the ashes from the office once the process is complete. There are also offices that specialize in cremation. Some of these offices even offer in-home services such as hospice care and more, in case your pet takes a sudden turn for the worse and needs immediate help. There are multiple options available, depending on whether you want to keep the ashes, and other factors. Seattle’s Peaceful Companion offers a multitude of options for pet cremation and end-of-life care.
Backyard burial gives many people the best sense of closure, keeping their beloved family member close to them. For those wishing to bury their pets at home, it’s important first to see if there are any local laws or ordinances that prohibit you from doing so. For more detailed instructions about proper pet burial that both honors your pet and is environmentally safe, you can read more at Top Dog Tips. If you’re looking for an explanation of procedures you need to follow to comply with Washington State laws, you can find more here.
If neither cremation nor a home burial are what you’re looking for, you can search for a local pet cemetery where you can legally lay your fallen friend to rest. For some pet owners, this option allows them to go visit their best friends, and know they’re in a respectful place that complies with local laws and regulations. Gateway Pet Memorial offers a pet cemetery in Kent that will allow you to lay your friend to rest in a place you can visit, where you can also have peace of mind that everything was done in compliance with state law.
Some can’t bear the thought of not seeing their best friend’s face in the house anymore, and choose taxidermy to allow them to always have a place in the home. Taxidermy is a more expensive route, but if it brings you comfort to see your family friend still in their favorite chair, or corner, it might be the best option for you.
Aquamation is a less traditional method of cremating your pet in water to provide a natural decomposition process, at a faster rate. This allows your friend’s remains to be dispersed in water, leaving only solid bone remaining. You can have the bone ash returned to you, and the effluent liquid can be used to improve municipal water systems, and function as a non-toxic fertilizer. Consider it your pet’s way of giving something back to the world even after their flame has been extinguished. You can find more information about Aquamation and even some Taxidermy solutions from local Seattle business Resting Waters.
The grieving process goes well beyond what to do with their remains, though. Grief comes in waves. You may feel anguish, sadness, and despair in the days and weeks after you’ve had to let them go. You may see something in the house that reminds you of your friend, bringing on intense emotions. These feelings are healthy—we all have different timetables for how long it takes us to finally stop having those emotional moments.
Reaching out to supportive friends and family members, or just talking to a close friend or family member and reminiscing about your pet’s silliest moments, most courageous acts, and displays of intelligence can help you celebrate your pet’s life. This itself provides incredible healing power. Sometimes, you don’t know how many people your pet’s life touched, until people you haven’t spoken to in years approach you with their favorite story or photo. It’s helpful to know you’re not alone.
Even when the end in sight for our pets, no amount of prior knowledge of their condition can ultimately prepare us for the heartbreak we’re going to experience. What we can do is responsibly take care of their remains, and grieve in healthy ways. Your pets become family to our Frolic Team, too, so know that we’re here to help you process your feelings as well. This article isn’t comprehensive of every coping strategy, but we hope we’ve given you some of the tools and resources you need to help you in this difficult time. We’re never ready to say goodbye; their time is always too short. Remember that you are not alone. Embrace your emotions. Their time may have come, but they’ll live on within you.