Pets have always been a huge part of our family. We have had cats, dogs, even goldfish. They have never been just “animals” to us. They make us smile, they make us laugh, they bring comfort and understanding to us. Unconditional love. Accept us even with our faults. But what happens when they reach the end of their lives? We want to hang on because we love them. Today I am sharing how to say goodbye to a pet when you’re not ready to let go.
Once upon a time, this sweet adorable Golden Retriever flew into our lives on airplane wings. See how sweet she was?
It’s so hard to believe she was so little in this picture. She was still with her Mom, so her breeder took this picture and sent it to me. As the years went by, she grew into a gorgeous dog.
Such a sweet and pretty girl, she loved EVERYBODY! Back then, we had no thoughts of her slowing down and growing old. But over the past few years she has been slowing down. To the point now where it was getting painful to watch her limping and laying around all the time. How she loved playing and chasing a ball.
But over the past 3 days, she has gotten so much worse. So Thursday night, we made the painful decision that it was time for us to stop holding on to her for our sake, and do what was best for her. Last night, our poor sweet baby took her last car ride, followed us into the vet’s office, and never came back out.
So how do you handle it? Here is what we learned about how to say goodbye to a pet when your not ready.
- Make the decision together. The right decision can’t always be made by one person. I knew what was probably the right answer, but I waited to hear what my husband thought as well. We made the decision together.
- Use your head, not your heart. Our heart serves us well, for the most part. Except when personal and painful decisions need to be made.
- Don’t hold in your tears. I tried to be brave when we told our kids what was going on. But once we were there in the room, the tears came. And came. And came.
- Embrace the grieving process. It is okay to cry. It is okay to be hysterical. It is okay to be silent. Just know that however you choose to grieve, it’s okay. Don’t keep it all in.
- Share your pain. I initially only told a few friends and family. But I shared in on my blog FB page, and other social media accounts. I was overwhelmed by the responses. But the only person that truly knew my pain was my husband.
- Opt for the remembrances. When we went yesterday, my head wasn’t on straight. It was my husband that made the decision to pay for the remembrances. When I came down this morning, and she wasn’t here, I was comforted in knowing that she will be with us always.
- Smile and remember the good times. When we were in the waiting area yesterday, we talked to her. And remembered all the silly things she did. And the things she ate. And how everybody loved her. But, most importantly, how much she loved everyone around her.
So today, I am taking care of myself. Crying when I need to, laughing when I need to, and being alone when I have to. I wanted to share that you are not alone in the world. It’s not easy to lose any member of your family, and the same goes for your four-legged family members. Be comforted in knowing that they are now angels and will watch over you always.