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 have prolonged their pets suffering? Will they act too soon and deprive themselves and their pet of some time together?
Each situation is different, please feel free to either visit or call one of our vets if you would like help in making this difficult decision. We understand that you and your family know your pet better than anyone else and will try to help you make a balanced judgement on your pet's quality of life.
Things to think about:
- Can my pet still eat, drink, sleep, toilet and move around reasonably comfortably?
- Does they respond when I come home and greet me?
- Are they still interested in dinner time?
- I if imagine how I would feel if I walked like they do, would I feel comfortable? How about getting up or sitting down?
- Can they breathe without effort?
- are the 'bad days' starting to outnumber the 'good days'?
At Green Pastures, we will help you with this process and, if asked, will make a recommendation. As pet owners, we all hope they will pass away peacefully in their sleep at a ripe, old age, but in reality this is very rare. most animals will suffer a great deal before they reach that point and a decision for euthanasia has to be made ideally before they get to that point.
How to say Goodbye
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.
What will happen?
First our vet will talk to you and your family to ensure you are happy with the decision that has been made. You might wish them to examine your pet first to be sure this is the only option or alternatively you may not want this, we will be guided by you.
We will then need you or your representative to sign a consent form to give us your permission. You will be asked if you would like to take them home afterwards for burial. If not, we will need to send them to a pet crematorium. You may wish to ask for your pet's ashes to be returned either in a casket to keep or in a box for scattering on a favourite walk.
We will ask you if you'd like to stay with them, or, if it is too hard you may prefer to leave them with the nurse for a cuddle. If you stay, we will ask you to rub their ears and talk to them gently while we clip a little patch of fur from their leg and apply some numbing cream. If your pet is worried by any of this we may discuss using a sedative to keep them calm and happy. Once you are your pet are settled, the vet will administer an injection into their circulation. This is not painful and doesn't bother most animals any more than their normal booster vaccinations. The injection is an overdose of anaesthetic so you will feel your pet relax quite quickly and they will usually have passed away before the vet has finished giving the injection. Please talk to them and cuddle them so that they know you are with them as they drift off.
Your vet will give them a final check, before leaving you and your family alone with your pet to grieve and to say goodbye. We will show you were to slip out of the side door so that you don't have to face the busy waiting room. Please take as long as you need. Lots of people get embarrassed if they become upset. We wish that they wouldn't, it would seem strange to us if you weren't upset. Sadness is the price we pay for all of the joy and unconditional love these incredible beings bring when we share our lives with them. We are all pet owners and we understand.
Where will they go?
We have chosen Summerleaze in Gwent as our Pet Crematorium.
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]
After losing a pet many owners tell us that they cannot put themselves through this again. But 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.
We do believe very firmly that our pets are special and our lives are the richer for sharing it with them.