How To Cope After Euthanizing Your Pet.
The decision to euthanize your pet can be an extremely difficult one. In September, I was faced with this with my dog Bailey. A part of everyone wants their pet to be in their life forever. When the doctors explained how he felt, I knew he was suffering. He was in renal failure, and the vet said to me, "Imagine being so thirsty that no matter how much you drank it didn't quench your thirst."
I tried to imagine constant thirst. I could have brought him home and let him die when his natural time came but, I felt it was selfish of me. I made the decision, despite my beliefs. I wasn't strong enough to watch him suffer. Despite beating myself up over the decision I had made, I did make sure I held him in my arms and watched. Bailey deserved that much from me. I told him how much I loved him and how great of a dog he was. Petting him softly, I sobbed.
The day you come home after such a traumatic moment, it is o.k. to cry. Cry as loud and as much as you want. Some people in your life might not understand how painful the death of a pet can be. I can not be the only one with some level of guilt, even with all intentions of ending suffering. There were days when I thought, I miss him but I'm o.k. and the next day I would cry like it just happened.
These emotions might not feel normal but they are. I still have his bed and harness in the car. I'm not ready to take it out yet. I still have his bucket with toys and his leash and collar on my hope chest. In a cup, he drank out of last, sets his favorite prickly, navy blue, squeaky ball. Now and again I still think I hear him counter surfing for a brief second and then I remember he is gone. I wake up some mornings with urgency that Bailey needs to go out. Then I remember he is gone. Sometimes I still cry and it is o.k.
Yes it's been said, written and quoted a million times. "Time heals all wounds." I'm leaning more towards "Time heals most wounds". If I dwell, I will get upset unlike the first few weeks when I was in shock and weepy. I was irritable, moody and sad but, now I can type this, I can look at photos of Bailey and it makes me smile. Some wounds can be so deep time doesn't help. Seeking professional help might. If it has been ten years and the death of your pet still has you in the grips of despair, as if were yesterday, you are not moving on.
The body is built to be able to cope with situations like this, it's a survival mechanism. If we were all trapped, emotionally, by events of life we would cease to be on Earth. We are left with memories and even though it might feel like it happened yesterday, It isn't really the case, if it were true I would be too upset to type this hub. It has only been two and a half months and I still have Bailey's things around the house. Time has helped the grieving process and it has helped me celebrate his life.
Time is helping with my guilt over the choice I made. Time is helping me accept that he is gone. Time is making the pain a bit less and the memories stronger. It also has taught me how much of a blessing it has been to have had Bailey in my life at all.
Take Care of Yourself
Time helps but the grieving process can be draining. The loss of a beloved pet is similar to the loss of a loved one. Our pets are part of the family. Grief burns a lot of calories leaving you feeling drained and ill. Drinking plenty of liquids, eat and sleep. Some of those things I did not do and I could feel the toll it was taking on me. During those difficult times, take care of yourself by expressing and facing what it is that might still trouble you.
It is o.k. to suddenly miss your pet all over again or have times when you doubt the decision you made. It is easy to get caught up in the past. As I write this Hub I discovered where my guilt had been coming from. I am a Spiritual person and I wanted to do the right thing but wasn't sure what was right. I didn't have the time to consult with spiritual leaders for their opinions.
I had guilt over taking away the natural end of life, something I thought was a gift everyone, including animals, receives at birth. A few summers ago I met a Buddhist Monk in England, I approached him and his friends. I wanted to ask so many questions. The one monk who spoke for all of them told me, "The most important thing I want you to remember is, Ease the suffering of others." That was my intention with Bailey. I may have took it too literally but when I lay my head on my pillow at night and think, Have I made the right decision on a spiritual level? I think ,Yes I did.