top of page

The final goodbye - How you learn to deal with it

Coping with #bereavement Part 1:

Der endgültige Abschied – Wie Du lernst mi Trauer umzugehen

Before deciding on sharing the life with an animal companion, it is actually already clear to us: very likely we will live longer and have to say goodbye. But we like to suppress the topic until it happens.

In my life there have been many farewells and since I did not cope with them very well, I desperately needed to find ways to deal with it. But first, I want to make it clear that there are no standards for me when it comes to #grief. Pet owners are often confronted with the fact that it is not so bad, because it is "only a pet". This statement is devoid of empathy and simply wrong. Whether we are mourning a mouse, a dog or a human being, we are talking about feelings that have arisen because of a bond and are therefore always precious and important - don't let anyone belittle them or even take them away from you!

Two years ago in March 2020 I had to bury my dog and 3 years before that my beloved grandma. These two events were the first where I made a conscious decision not to simply let death happen, but to consider the journey to it as part of the comfort. And so the first point was developed:

The path to goodbye is the first step to coping with bereavement

The time spent together should be consciously experienced and appreciated. This sounds obvious and yet it is the first step. Everyone has their own methods of preserving the precious past, be it photos, videos, voice recordings, diary entries or drawings. My personal tip is, set yourself specific goals

What would you like to experience with your pet? Since your companion cannot decide this by himself and is dependent on you, it is important to integrate him in your planning.

Now comes another important point, which is to celebrate. The purpose of this is to remember the goals you have achieved and to create traditions during your life together. So you have the possibility to continue them. Something is established that remains and that we can hold on to when there is nothing else to catch us. My traditions are places that I can visit at certain times. I also celebrate birthdays or anniversaries on certain events with my animals.

Christmas tree of good memories - coping with bereavement
My Christmas Tree Of Precious Memories

My special favorite tradition is the Christmas tree, which I call the "Tree Of Precious Memories". It is decorated annually with things that bring me back to the beautiful moments (photo balls or pendants, from places I visited, etc.).

The beginning of the end

The first domestication of animals by humans began 13.000 years ago, according to Wikipedia. Additionally, with the knowledge of today's medicine, we are able to make our pets older than ever. This means we have the luxury of knowing roughly how long the #lifespan of various pets is. So the next step is to become aware of the reality and recognize at what point my pet becomes a senior. Just as we develop new needs and face limitations as we age, our animals feel the same. In addition to understanding, we should rather fully enjoy this time as well. As everything becomes quieter and more leisurely, we have the chance to show our pet that it has a home with us where it is loved to its last breath and beyond.

Try to greatly reduce the stress, whether it be with the consideration for them by visitors or more senior-friendly equipment, to the #veterinarian visits. These days there is quite a large selection of mobile vets, although it is worth comparing prices here, as additional costs can arise.

Give them a pass on more things! In the course of its life, your animal has learned everything it needs to know to live together with its human. So if it does something unusual or no longer follows the rules of etiquette we have created to 100%, then this is certainly not out of malice. It is often the little things, that can be signs of something bigger and should rather be taken seriously and observed instead of punished. Whether a declining hearing or eyesight, limitations in the musculoskeletal system or even dementia and other #diseases announce themselves in most cases only insidiously. To make matters worse, cats are "masters of silent suffering" and often don't show signs of a problem at all, or far too late. They have that in common with Cane, even with a cruciate ligament rupture or bite wound, he would always put on a brave face. This makes regular examinations by a veterinarian all the more important as they age. Early diagnosis can make all the difference.

Side by side until the last breath!

Now let's get to the hardest part, because it requires all the strength, empathy and selflessness you can muster. I understand why you don't want to watch your beloved die, but let's look at it the other way around. You are your pets life, its daily routine, its shelter and its home. While we can go anywhere at any time and experience what we want, someone is patiently waiting for us to return so that "life" can continue for him. But in his last hours or minutes, our place is empty. Besides fear and confusion, maybe pain, your faithful companion sees only a stranger or is even alone. Of course there are also, especially with cats, those who go into seclusion of their own, but for me personally it is important that when my pet is looking for me and needs me, to be there and give him my warmth and attention. This is my final service that I can provide, that the last thing it hears is an "I love you!", what it sees is my smile and what it feels is my heartbeat.

Not everyone is granted this moment, but if the opportunity is there, be strong and take it!

It is a painful memory for you, but for your pet it will have been one of the most important moments.

For me, knowing that I have done everything in my power is an essential thought that gives me some comfort.

Saying goodbye to your dog - coping with grief
From the beginning to the end - In loving memory of my wonderful Cane (*16.05.2009-30.03.2020)

Further information

  • – the mobile vet who made the last visits at our home

  • Google keywords for searching: „#mobilevet (+location)“ or if your vet has no options "#Veterinarian online consultation".

  • Google keywords for activities: "Vacation with cat/dog .... ( Location)", "Vacation apartment with pet", "Hiking with cat/dog ... ( Location)"

Upcoming: Coping with bereavement Part 2 of 3

What are the types of funerals for pets? What happens during euthanasia? ...

Read more about the topic soon on my site. To stay up to date on new articles, follow me on Instagram and Facebook or sign up directly on my website.

© Copyright 2022 – All contents, especially texts, photographs and graphics are protected by copyright. All rights, including reproduction, publication, editing and translation, are reserved

3 views0 comments


bottom of page