Oh what a topic, but unfortunately a necessary one. We know that our pets will live a short life span compared to that of humans. Losing our beloved Beau was very difficult, but we would not trade anything for the 8 years we had with him.
On April 26, I had the opportunity to combine my hospice social work interests with my pet sitting interests and attend the first Asheville Angel Pet Conference. Beth Marchitelli, DVM addressed how to assess quality of life in companion animals. Dr. Marchitelli also discussed companion animal hospice care and home euthanasia.
Nancy Kay, DVM discussed the need for us as pet parents to advocate for our pets with our veterinarians. She also taught us what happens in the euthanasia process and options to consider. I was so impressed with Dr. Kay that I purchased her book, Speaking for Spot. Dr. Kay has an informative blog which you can visit at http://www.speakingforspot.com/blog. In a recent article she discussed medical questions to ask a prospective pet sitter. We heartily recommend that you visit her blog.
When we said good-bye to Beau last year we were fortunate to have the services of Lap of Love. We said good-bye in the back yard under Beau’s favorite tree (which now is Daisy Mae’s favorite tree) next to his wading pool. Then we loaded his body in the garden cart and towed him with the garden tractor to his grave in our woods. We did not think we could have tolerated having to carry him out of the vet’s office and we knew we wanted to bury him at home.
As difficult as that was, we were totally unprepared for how deep the grief would be. At times I felt as if the grief over Beau was just as strong as the grief over the death of my parents. Mark Neville, M.Div, a hospice chaplain, put that into perspective as he talked about the disenfranchised grief of pet loss. Leigh Meriweather, the organizer of the conference presented the value of honoring our pets in healing grief. She offers supportive services for all aspects of your pet’s life including honoring memorial ceremonies, grief healing sessions and honoring wraps. Learn more at her web site: www.honoringourpets.com and on her facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/PetHonoring.
As professional pet sitters we know that some of you have aging pets and we hope this information will be helpful to you as you prepare for your canine or feline family member to transition to the Rainbow Bridge.