How To Deal With The Guilt Of Euthanizing A Pet?
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It is normal to feel guilty after euthanizing your pet. You are not by yourself!
First and foremost, please accept my heartfelt condolences for your loss, and please accept my apologies for the time you have spent researching this subject. It’s never easy to say goodbye to our furry friends.
When My friend had to put down her beloved Rafa( A poodle dog) , they went through the same heartbreak you are.
I’ve witnessed and experienced firsthand the heartbreaking moment when that injection is given to our beloved pets.
We often wonder if we did the right thing. The truth is that if you and your vet came to the conclusion that your furry friend needed to be put down, his or her quality of life is likely to be poor. So, yes, you did the right thing.
But you’re probably aware of this, and yet you’re still feeling guilty. So, how do you deal with the guilt of euthanizing your pet?
Be honest with your pet’s spirit by writing a letter to your deceased animal friend about all of the reasons you chose to have it euthanized. If you find yourself overcome with guilt over your decision, this may help you deal with it by considering the pragmatic and perhaps merciful aspects of your decision.
How to Cope with the Guilt of Putting down a Pet
Much of what you are experiencing is a normal part of the grieving process. The overwhelming pain, anger, and guiltless feelings are all normal, but remember that they will pass.
Coping with sorrow and the pain of loss is always a deeply personal and intimate process.
Surprisingly, dog parents have been demonstrating an increasing amount of ingenuity and creativity in commemorating their animal family members in recent years.
Don’t be put off by those who don’t understand the magnetic and unique bond that exists between dogs and humans. Find a way to say goodbye that is appropriate for you.
Also Read:Why parakeets die suddenly- Explained
I’ve compiled a list of 10 solid and helpful tips to help you deal with those overwhelming feelings of guilt.
Allow yourself to cry and Recognize your sadness
Allow yourself to cry when you need to, shout when you need to, and talk when you need to in order to acknowledge your grief. Remember, Everyone grieves in their own unique way.
Some people grieve in stages, experiencing emotions such as anger, denial, guilt, depression, and finally acceptance and resolution. Others experience grief in waves, with low points followed by flat or even high points.
“Grief is like the ocean; it comes in ebbs and flows. Sometimes the water is calm, and other times it is turbulent. We can only learn to swim.”
Allow yourself to cry when you need to, shout when you need to, and talk, talk, talk (each “talk” has a link to a helpful resource that will provide you with someone to talk with if you need to).
Talking to those close to you, a professional therapist, or an organisation dedicated to listening to those in grief should help you avoid repressing your emotions.
This is significant because repressing the overwhelming feelings that you will experience at some point while grieving may lead to depression, anxiety, drug abuse, and/or health problems.
Its Important to know, Recognizing your grief does not make you weaker; rather, it allows you to achieve balance, which is the ultimate goal. To rebalance your life and learn to live without your beloved companion on a daily basis.
Have a Pet Funeral
Losing a pet is similar to losing a member of one’s family. For some, it means saying goodbye to their best friend, their dependable companion, and a piece of their heart in the process.
All pet owners must confront the harsh realities of their lives at some point. Although it is difficult to grieve in a healthy manner, there are methods for fully appreciating the precious moments of good times.
One of the more traditional, but still effective, ways to deal with grief is to organise a small but meaningful gathering to commemorate your furry companion’s life and presence.
Choose a burial spot in your garden or a location close to your home so that you can always remember the good times. A beautiful way to remember your dog’s cheerful nature is to scatter his or her ashes in a tranquil garden or another natural setting.
A garden stone with an inspiring sign, or a yard sculpture, can also be used to separate the area and turn it into a peaceful oasis that you can visit whenever you want to rekindle the memories.
Little things about your pet Matter
You can repurpose and reuse your pet’s belongings so that you can always have a piece of them with you at all times.
A collar tag can be transformed into a lovely keychain, and a photo can be used to fill a necklace medallion, or you can create a photo album that tells a story or a diary.
Organizing a DIY photoshoot with funny props and possibly dressing up could be a fun and engaging activity for the whole family to participate in.
If you really enjoy filming and photographing, try creating a timelapse video collage of your cat or pup’s photos (take a photo at the same location every week, for example) from her first stumbling steps to her last ecstatic leaps.
You’ll have an awesome treasure trove full of incredible lifelong memories when you’re done.
If you want, you can even keep a memory box filled with all of your pet’s favourite toys, blankets, and other mementoes from his or her life.
This can be a wonderful way to involve children and the entire family in the process of creating something intimate and lovely.
Having something permanent and unchangeable, such as something that has been frozen in time, can elicit memories and help you stay close to someone you have lost touch with.
As a result, leaving a paw or a nose print to commemorate your dog or cat is a thoughtful gesture. It can also be used as a cute tattoo, something to represent your friendship and closeness.
Anticipate a shift in routine and keep your hands full with meaningful activities..
Pet owners develop habits around their pets as a result of their pets’ reliance on their human companions for survival. It is their very lives that are on the line.
Pet owners who are dedicated to their animals often schedule time for feeding, washing, and walking or exercising their animals.
Some people may even use their pets as living, breathing alarm clocks, which they can set and forget about.
Humans are creatures of habit. They are creatures of routine.
We like to know what to expect and are comforted by the knowledge that we have some control over our actions and responsibilities, but losing a pet drastically alters our sense of routine and predictability, and this can be extremely distressing.
According to the results of a survey conducted by Quackenbush and Glickman among pet owners who had recently lost a pet, 93 per cent reported a disruption in their daily routines, and 70 per cent reported a decrease in their social activities.
Taking this into consideration, it is easy to understand the sense of emptiness a person may experience as he or she learns how to cope with life after a pet has been euthanized.
Now, each day is punctuated by predetermined voids and blocks of time where there is nothing to do and no animal companion to help fill the voids.
Fill these time slots with enjoyable and meaningful activities, especially if you can do so in the company of supportive companions, to help soothe your grief.
Play board games, go to the park, host a dinner party, or do anything else you think you’ll enjoy. If your pet has recently passed away, you might want to consider making a donation in his or her honour to an animal-rights organisation.
Here are some additional suggestions for activities that may be beneficial in your recovery:
Volunteer your time at an animal shelter in your area.
Consider making a donation of needed items to a local animal shelter in honour of your pet as a way to honour their memory. You can ask family and friends to make donations on your behalf, which may provide an excellent opportunity to speak with them about your deceased pet.
Learn about therapeutic approaches to coping with grief, loss, and bereavement in this informative course. Consider speaking with a therapist to find out more information.
If you are feeling guilty about euthanizing your pet, write a truthful letter to your deceased animal friend in which you explain all of the reasons you made the decision to put him or her down.
This may assist you in working through your feelings of guilt by addressing the practical, and perhaps merciful, reasons for your choice.
Understand the disease or condition that your pet is suffering from.
Understanding that there was nothing you could have done to prevent the situation from occurring may help you regulate your feelings of guilt!
This is not a suitable option for everyone. However, there are times when it can be beneficial. After I realised what had led to the final decision, I was able to focus less on what I could have done differently to prevent the outcome.
The reality is that if your pet was put down as a result of an injury, a disease, or old age, the likelihood is that the outcome would have been the same regardless of what you had done.
Understanding this may assist you in coming to terms with what has transpired in your life. It was extremely beneficial to me!
Consult with your veterinarian and do a little research on the disease that your pet was suffering from. Your veterinarian can easily explain your pet’s condition as well as the prognosis that your beloved furry friend may have been experiencing in his or her lifetime.
Join groups on Facebook or other social media platforms to exchange ideas.
Inquiring with others who have gone through the same thing you are going through may provide you with some valuable insight into what to expect with your pet’s medical condition.
Recognize that you have provided your pet with the best possible life. All your beloved companion ever wanted was love, companionship, attention, food, shelter, play, and pats. You have provided that for them.
Realizing that you have done everything in your power to ensure your pet’s happiness, health, and comfort will help you deal with your feelings of guilt more effectively.
It’s likely that you planned your life around them in order to ensure that they were well taken care of and protected.
Many pet owners certainly do.
Many times I have heard pet owners cancel their vacation because they couldn’t find the right person to take care of their sick pet.
There were also times when pet parents would come home for lunch to ensure that their fur babies were not left alone for an extended period of time.
You can take comfort in the fact that you did everything you could to ensure that your furry companion had the best life you could possibly provide for them, no matter how crazy you were about it to make them feel loved and comfortable.
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Pet Granve Marker
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Pet lantern– These Memorial Lanterns are made from quality composite wood and a stainless steel copper finish topElegant Pet Picture FramesPet Memorial Jewellery Always in your heart – The Teardrop Cremation Jewellery is a touching remembrance necklace in 925 sterling silver. This teardrop-shaped pendant is a heartfelt memorial for a loved one and may bring you comfort as you wear it close to your heart.
Recognize that your decision was in the best interests of your animal.
Some people may experience guilt as a result of their belief that they did not make the best decision.
They may believe that they have put their pet to sleep too soon or that they have waited too long.
When we look back on our actions, we will always have reason to question what we did and the steps we took.
The truth is that no veterinarian will put a pet down if there are other options available, nor will he or she allow a pet to suffer in agony for an extended period of time without first consulting with you.
In other words, if you and your veterinarian come to the conclusion that it was time to put your beloved furry friend to sleep, the odds are that it was the right decision. It’s not too early, it’s not too late; it’s exactly the right time.
PREPARE TO GO THROUGH THE Grieving PROCESS
Our animal companions provide us with unconditional love, support, and loyalty, and they frequently help us to meet our psychological need that we have.
The decision to euthanize our pets signifies the end of an important relationship—for some, it is one of the most important relationships in their lives—and the beginning of the end of an important relationship.
Many pet owners will experience some level of grief, though the intensity of their grief will vary from person to person.
Despite the fact that there are numerous models for the grieving process, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross provided these five stages of grief in her book On Death and Dying: A Psychoanalytic Approach.( Source).
• Denial Depression
In addition, the stages may not occur in a predetermined sequence and the duration and intensity of each stage may differ from person to person.
Do not be surprised if the pain you experience after putting your pet to sleep is deeper and more intense than you anticipated. Allow yourself the time you need to complete the grieving process after your pet has passed away.
It is never easy to part with a companion, and it may take some time for you to come to terms with the changes that have occurred in your family and life.
Seek out social support
The world around us tends to help us work through our grief when we lose a close relative.
Family and friends might become closer together for a while. During this time, people might temporarily stop working. And people are generally glad to offer their support.
People are much less likely to be compassionate or supportive if you lose a pet than if you lose a child.
While many employers don’t consider a pet loss grounds for bereavement leave, a survey done by Quackenbush and Glickman revealed that 45% of pet owners who had lost a pet missed one to three days of work.
Some people expect us to just “get on with it.” Even though our pet was not “just a dog,” the world around us still does not grasp that we cannot “just get a new one.”
In addition to existing social roles and family relationships, research indicates that the loss or death of a pet and the resulting traumatic events can unbalance other significant relationships in the lives of pet owners (spouses, children, and colleagues).
Allow Time For Grief:
Take your time and do what feels right to you. We all take different paths through grief!
Euthanizing a beloved pet is never an easy decision, but you and your veterinarian have determined that they require euthanasia due to a decline in their quality of life.
Accepting your grief, accepting your new reality, and caring for yourself will help you see things more clearly and accept that you had no choice.
Several things you can do to assist with your grief include the following:
Consult with friends or family members who understand and empathise with your feelings.
Discussing your situation with others will assist you in coping with your grief.
Take some time during the day to sit and listen to some music with a cup of herbal tea.
This is the ideal time to express what you’ve been trying to suppress all day: cry, laugh, and shout.
There is no such thing as a correct or incorrect action in this case. Simply take the time to express your sorrow.
Avoid consuming alcohol, illegal substances, or even caffeine.
These will not assist you in coping with the overwhelming sensation you are currently experiencing. They may exacerbate your discomfort.
There is no set period of time for grieving. Each person has a unique experience with this.
Grief can last a few weeks for some, a few months for others, or even years for some.
However, taking one day at a time and one step at a time will aid in your recovery.
He was, after all, my infant. However, it has shifted. I am no longer overcome with fear. I no longer feel the need to cry whenever his name is mentioned or when I see a photograph of him.
Therefore, bear in mind that your grief will evolve over time. You will re-enjoy life at some point. For the time being, take it easy!
The act of euthanising a family member will always leave us heartbroken, sad, and guilty; this is referred to as grief.
When guilt feelings begin to creep in, remind yourself why you did it.
Would it be fair to keep them with us if their quality of life had deteriorated and they were in pain? Is it reasonable to prolong their anguish and despair?
You did what you did because you cared about them and wanted the best for them, and ultimately, putting them down was the best course of action.
However, if recalling your love for them is insufficient, this post has provided you with twenty tips for coping with the guilt associated with euthanizing your pet.
Implement them, but most importantly, allow yourself time to grieve.
You’ve lost someone very special, and grieving is a natural part of the healing process.
- Clements, P. T., Benasutti, K. M., & Carmone, A. (2003). Support for bereaved owners of pets. Perspectives in Psychiatric Care, 39(2), 49-54. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/200756802?accountid=1229
- Jaroleman, J. (1998). A comparison of the reaction of children and adults: Focusing on pet loss and bereavement. Omega, 37, 133-150.
- Quackenbush, J. E., & Glickman, L. (1984). Helping people adjust to the death of a pet. Health and Social Work 9(1), 42-48.
- Sable, P. (1995). Pets, attachment, and well-being across the life cycle. Social Work, 40(3), 334-41. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/215272292?accountid=1229
- Spencer, S., Decuypere, E., Aerts, S., & De Tavernier, J. (2006). History and ethics of keeping pets: Comparison with farm animals. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, 19(1), 17-25. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10806-005-4379-8
About the Author: Dog Behavioural Consultant
Jennifer W loves Pets! She is an animal lover. She loves caring for and sharing her knowledge of all kinds of pets.
Her Love for pets made her Join the pet paws hub Team, to share knowledge with the world.
Jennifer W – Dog Behavioural Consultant
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