This is the final post in a 4-Part Series of articles on pet loss and grief.
Give Other Pets Time To Say Goodbye
Saying goodbye to our pets is never easy. If we have other pets, we may be at a loss how best to help them. After all, they shared their lives together as housemates and had their own communications and affections.
When I was faced with this question, the best advice I received was from the company called Lap of Love — A Veterinary Hospice & In-Home Euthanasia.*
Here is a quote from their website:
Other Pets Will Process The Death in Their Own Way
Here is a short video by Dani McVety, DVM that may be of help. Dr. Dani lovingly explains how our other pets might perceive the loss and how we can help.
Our Cats And Dogs Understand Death
Cats and dogs are natural predators. Even if they have never hunted for food, even if they lead pampered lives, deep within their cellular makeup, they understand death.
They get it.
It makes sense to me to allow our pets to see that their housemate is gone. Realizing that they are natural predators brought it home for me. I didn't have to fear that my other pet would be traumatized.
It's terribly unsettling to have a fellow pet leave and then never return. I've known pets who vocalized the rest of their lives for a "lost" (deceased) housemate, wondering if perhaps the other pet would return to the sound of their voice.
Provide Other Pets Space To Say Goodbye
Lap of Love shared that every pet will process the death their own way. I took to heart Dr. Dani's words, knowing that I would not have to orchestrate or force anything. All I needed to do was provide the opportunity for my other pet to see the pet who had passed.
I said goodbye to my cat with René Butler, DVM, my local vet from Lap of Love. Dr. René left and some time passed in stillness and meditation. My other cat came out from under the blankets and looked over her deceased housemate. There was an acknowledgment on her part.
A Pure Communion Between Them
I was getting myself ready to drive my pet to the crematorium, when I came around the corner and stopped short. I beheld my other cat lying next to the cushion that held my deceased pet. She was settled in with her front paws tucked under her as if holding a vigil. Without moving, she stretched her head out to sniff her companion of 10 years.
I was quite taken by the naturalness of her behavior knowing that I couldn't have orchestrated it better if I tried.
Moving gently, so as not to disturb her, I was able to capture a few photos of this inner communion. I wondered how long she would need, the practical part of me calculating that we could delay departure by up to half an hour.
She took much less than that; maybe 10 minutes. She picked her own timing.
I knew then that my remaining pet "got it." We still had our grieving process, but I knew she understood. I was comforted that she was given her own natural time to say goodbye and that I had been a witness.
For Students Of The Radiance Technique®
A good resource for students of The Radiance Technique® (TRT®) is the book The Radiance Technique® and The Animal Kingdom, by Marvelle Lightfields. Chapter Six is entitled The Death and Dying Process With Animals. It offers information about the grief process and shares experiences of others who said goodbye to their pets.
Remember that your TRT® hands-on is a supportive technique that you can share with your pets throughout their lives as well as their process of death. Use of TRT® provides a gateway for your healing through whatever you encounter.
This 4-Part Series of articles was written to support you, dear reader. None of it is about what you should do, but rather, offers ideas that might help you depending upon your personal circumstances and beliefs.
It is less about the loss of my pet, and more about sharing what I learned along the way that could be beneficial to you.
May your Journey with your pets, from beginning to end, be filled with Joyful Love.
*(Please note: I am not affiliated with Lap of Love
and receive no renumeration in my recommendation of them.)