Understandably thinking about putting your pet to sleep is not something we like to dwell on but sadly it is a decision that most of us pets owners will have to face. Ensuring that your pet has a pain free, peaceful death is the kindest choice that you can take on behalf of your much loved pet.
When to say goodbye
Many owners worry about the timing of this important decision. Will they make the decision too late because they do not want to lose their pet but then worry that they may selfishly have prolonged their pets suffering? Will they act too soon and deprive themselves and their pet some time together?
Each situation is an individual set of circumstances but in all this emotional turmoil, you will know instinctively when it is fair to ‘Say Goodbye’ to your treasured pet.
You and your family know your pet better than anyone else, so try to make a balanced judgement on his or her quality of life. If you are hoping for an improvement then discuss with us a reasonable time limit for that improvement.
Criteria to think about are:-
- Can your pet still eat, drink, sleep, toilet and move around reasonably comfortably?
- Does he or she respond to your presence and greet you?
- Does feeding time attract interest?
- Are there persistent and incurable signs of pain, distress and discomfort?
- Is there difficulty breathing or problems with eating, nausea or vomiting?
At Green Pastures, we will help you with this process and, if asked, will make a recommendation. Sadly few pets die peacefully in their sleep at home and most reach a point when their quality of life is unsatisfactory and a decision for euthanasia has to be made.
If you have the opportunity to visit or speak to us before the euthanasia appointment, we can between us plan the appointment which minimises the inevitable stress.
During this conversation decide where to put your pet to sleep. Some clients would like this at home which can be arranged. Other clients prefer to come to Green Pastures and we try to arrange this at a quiet time of the day so you are not sitting in a crowded waiting room or feel pressured to leave afterwards. Consider taking some time off work and ensure that you have supportive friends or family to help or drive you.
However if your pet is under a general anaesthetic then it is kinder to give consent for euthanasia without waking your pet up and then visit to see the pet afterwards.
Before the actual euthanasia, you will be asked to sign a consent form for euthanasia and also you will be asked for details about your wishes for your pet post euthanasia. If you can it is better to have thought through these options before the actual euthanasia appointment although you can let us know later in the day. You can take your pet’s body away for home for burial or to take to a pet crematorium. Other options are a communal cremation or request an individual cremation with your pet’s ashes returned to you either in a casket to keep or scatter the ashes in a favourite location.
It is then your choice whether you stay with your pet or leave your pet with the vet and veterinary nurse. We clip the leg and apply some local anaesthetic cream which reduces the sensation of the needle going into your pet’s leg vein. The injection is an overdose of anaesthetic and your pet will lose consciousness. During this phase there may be some odd breathing or vocalisation which can be distressing to witness but rest assured, your pet is unaware.
We then leave owners to give them space to grieve alone because this is such a personal loss. Why people apologise for being upset at this time is always surprising – we understand that you love your pet, most of us working at a vets are pet owners ourselves and have faced the same situation.
When you are ready to leave, you can slip out of the building through a side door and do not have to face the hurly burly of the waiting room.
Summerleaze Pet Crematorium
We recommend Summerleaze Pet Crematorium where your beloved pet or companion can be laid to rest before the final cremation. Soft music plays and incense burns in the chapel whilst you say your final goodbyes. Subdued lighting is provided in the chapel by five magnificent stained glass windows depicting a variety of pets and domestic animals. The chapel also houses a book of Remembrance to commemorate a significant date of your choice.
The gardens at Summerleaze offer a tranquil sanctuary with five large plots where you may care to erect a headstone, plant a shrub or place an ornament in memory of your pet.
Summerleaze was founded by Debbie Williams and her late mother Joan Payne in October 1989. Now, more than 20 years after its foundation, Debbie still operates Summerleaze as a family run business from Greenstreet Farm in the heart of the peaceful Gwent countryside at Redwick on the north shores of the Severn Estuary.
Building on a long family tradition of animal care, and knowing just how it is to have loved and lost a beloved companion, Summerleaze was established to offer specialist help and services to bereaved pet owners and vets throughout England and Wales. It is with great pride, respect and dignity that Debbie and her staff perform their daily duties - bringing comfort to many pet owners at a time of great sadness.
Summerleaze offers a range of services to pet owners and veterinary practices throughout England and Wales. These include: private individual cremations with return of ashes in a wide variety of vessels; communal cremations; a collection service and the means to return your pet’s ashes to you in a variety of dignified and appropriate urns and caskets.
Coping with loss
Be prepared for the home or even your life to feel empty after the loss of your pet. It takes time to get over the loss of a loved one and expect to feel a mixture of feelings – sadness, relief, loneliness and anger.
Try not to blame yourself – the decision for euthanasia is taken with your pet’s interests at heart to avoid suffering. It is normal to feel some doubt and this will ease with time. Be aware that sometimes friends or family who have not experienced a special relationship with an animal, may make unhelpful remarks.
Treasure your memories of your pet. For young children pet loss can be their first experience of death and they need support even though many children do not appear outwardly upset. Talk to them openly and involve them in rituals such as a funeral or making a book of memories. For adolescents, the loss of a pet may be especially devastating because that pet may be their closest family friend.
Do talk to sympathetic friends, to us or the Pet Bereavement Support Service, run by the Blue Cross Telephone: 0800 096 6606 (seven days a week 8.30am-8.30pm)
Email: [email protected]
During the euthanasia phase of pet ownership, so many owners tell me that they cannot put themselves through this again. Most people, be it days, weeks, months or years later, return to the surgery with a new pet. To those people who do not share their lives with animals, it seems incredulous to put yourself through it all over again.
However when we look at all the people throughout the world, there are activities that we as humans chose to do for our pleasure and well being. In first place is practising a religion, next is gardening and in third place is pet owning – choosing to share our lives with animals for their companionship and pleasure.