Saying goodbye to your loved old dog is not something we want to think about, let alone voice out loud. Losing them is an inevitable part of sharing our lives with them.
Whether this is your first old dog, or you’ve said goodbye before, it hurts like hell.
You never get used to it and it never gets easier.
What choice do we have?
We can choose to never welcome another senior dog into our heart and home, sparing us the pain that comes when we help them gain their wings.
I however choose to adopt another senior dog to honour the one I have lost. Saving the life of a homeless senior dog is the best cure for my heart and soul.
For now let’s talk about how to know when it’s time, how to prepare ourselves, and our options for when that day arrives.
When is it time to say goodbye?
Sometimes the answer is clear cut, other times not. When you adopt a senior dog you know that the time of saying goodbye is closer than when you adopt a puppy.
We, dog moms that adore senior dogs are well aware of this fact and for us it's an extra stimuli to adopt one, knowing that they are safe for the last years or months of their lives.
Yes, it still hurts when they go, but you also feel a sense of peace that you know that this senior dog was loved and didn't die in a shelter.
There are circumstances when you have no choice – your pet is terminally ill, or so badly injured there’s nothing more that can be done. It’s those times when it is morally and ethically the right decision to make, that is the job of a good dogmom. Placing your dogs feelings before your own, every time.. there is no other option.
The less certain times are when it’s quality of life. In my experience, these decisions have been the worst ones. Should I have done it sooner? Did I do it too soon? Till this day I think about my dog Nouska that I lost.. she kept fighting, not wanting to give up, even when she suffered.. I wish I did let her go a bit sooner..she is the one that keeps popping up my mind.
How to cope
A pet is much more than someone that shares our home. They are family members as important as any other. When they’re no longer around, the void can be massive. When your dog isn’t at the door to greet you every day,, it’s a big adjustment. And you suddenly realise what an impact a small animal has on your life.
Don’t bottle up or deny your feelings. This is someone who was an important part of your life, who deserves to be missed and mourned. We all have to go through the pain, or we’ll never get to the other side of it.
You’re entitled to your feelings
Don’t be embarrassed or uncomfortable about how you’re feeling, and never, ever allow anyone to belittle you for them. They can say what they like, but we know he or she was not “just a dog/cat/rabbit…”
To tell you the truth, I pity those people for never having known the love and joy animals bring into our lives.
Create a memorial
Creating a memorial is a great way to honour the life of your pet, and the joy they brought into your home. Don’t be surprised at how much better it can make you feel.
Take care of yourself
It’s an emotionally and physically exhausting experience, a shock to the system.
Do what you have to, but don’t neglect yourself for too long, or you could get stuck in an endless cycle of no energy to get out of bed, not eating, so no energy and around it goes.
The loss of a pet
There’s no easy way to get through the grief, so there’s not much choice but to feel the sadness, and the pain, and let time help heal us. Take the alone time you need, but reach out if and when you need help. There’s no shame in needing a shoulder…we all do at times.
a dog mom with all her loved lost dogs on her mind