One of the hardest things a pet owner will ever do is make the decision to have a pet euthanized. It’s done out of love, usually when a pet is sick or in pain. It allows them to have some dignity and to avoid the suffering associated with many pet illnesses. Still, that doesn’t make it any easier. Most pet owners plan on being by their pet’s side when they go.
Surprisingly, there are some who don’t want to be there when it happens.
It’s understandable that a person who loves their pet wouldn’t want to watch them die, but at the same time, how can an owner leave them to die on their own? If you think it doesn’t matter or that your pet doesn’t know or care if you are there or not, think again.
The Hillcrest Veterinary Hospital recently shared a post from a vet, and it’s heartbreaking.
The vet shared what happens when a pet is euthanized or left to die and how they look for their owners in their final moments. It’s a tough read but a necessary one for any pet owner.
The post says:
“Do not make them transition from life to death in a room full of strangers, in a place they don’t like. The thing people need to know that most of you don’t is that they search for you when you leave them behind.”
Dr. Evan Shaw agreed with the post.
He has had to euthanize his fair share of pets, and while it is never easy, the pets seem to handle it better when their owners are with them. He said:
“I have a lot of return clients and I have found that people who aren’t there at the end of their pet’s life find it to be one of their biggest regrets at a later point. I totally understand how hard it would be, but death is ultimately a part of life and needs to be experienced to help the grieving process.”
Jessi Dietrich also spoke with a vet who told her something similar.
“He said when he has to put an animal down 90 percent of owners don’t actually want to be in the room when he injects them, so the animal’s last moments are usually them frantically looking around for their owners and to be honest, that broke me.”
If that doesn’t make you want to go home and hug your dog or cat, what will?
Another thing to consider is all the stray animals that are euthanized and have to die alone. They have no owners to be with them in their last moments. Many of them have never known love from a human.
The American Veterinary Association offers information about the euthanasia process.
Pet owners can learn what to expect and even find tips on grieving and explaining it to younger family members. The website says:
“Grief for a pet, or pets of particular species, may not be fully respected by some members of your community. Even well-meaning family and friends may not realize how important your pet was to you or the intensity of your grief. Comments they make may seem cruel and uncaring, although they were not meant to be taken that way. Be honest with yourself and others about how you feel. If you feel despair, talk to someone who is receptive and nonjudgmental when listening to your feelings about the loss of your pet.
“Seeking out social support can help you work through your grief. If immediate family and friends are not able to provide this support, seek out an emotionally safe and accepting environment such as a pet loss support group. Talk about your sorrow, but also about the fun times you and your pet spent together the activities you enjoyed and the memories that are meaningful to you.”
Don’t leave your pet alone during their final moments. Your pet loves you, and you love them. Make sure that love is given and shown up to the very end. You won’t regret it.
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