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A bereavement poem for a departing dog added to our "Saying Goodbye" section
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Saying Goodbye - help with bereavement planning
Goodbye (scroll down for a poem)
Owning pets brings as much pleasure to us as it does to our pets but, ultimately, we have to face the loss of the animals that we love.
We all hope that our beloved pets will just quietly pass away in their beds overnight.
Sadly this often is not the case, and between us we have to make the decision in his best interests to “put him to sleep”.
This will be the most difficult decision you will take throughout his life.
When your pet is in uncontrollable pain, the decision is easier, but when he is affected by a more chronic condition and it is a matter of assessing the quality of life and the ratio of good days to bad days, the decision is a lot harder.
Helping you make this decision and assisting you through the process is one of the most important aspects of our job.
We will help you with this decision, but ultimately the decision is yours.
When the decision has been made, it is important for you and for your pet that it is done in a nice quiet calm environment.
This is one instance where we are happy to do it in his own home, where he feels relaxed and comfortable.
It can also be done in the surgery, and we will put aside a quiet time (not in the middle of a busy morning surgery).
Some owners like to be with their pet, others prefer to leave him with us. There is no right and wrong.
You will be asked to sign a form giving your permission.
We will generally initially give him an injection which causes relaxation and sleepiness.
With smaller animals like guinea-pigs and hamsters we usually administer some anaesthetic gas first.
This will then be followed by a gentle injection of a high dose of barbiturate into the vein of his leg. This works very quickly, although often there is some gasping for a minute or two after his heart has stopped.
He might urinate and defecate. His eyes will stay open.
What happens afterwards?
You have a choice:
The guilt often sets in. Sometimes people feel guilty that they could not make the decision earlier, always hoping that he might improve. More commonly people just feel guilty because they have made that decision to take his life.
Guilt is something that should never be felt.
We are, together, ending your pet’s life, to stop his suffering. We can do this for them. He will not be aware of what we are doing – it is quick and painless.
Bereaved owners often need to come back to talk to us, usually for reassurance that they did the right thing, sometimes just for someone to talk to outside the family, and we are more than happy to do this.
The Blue Cross also offer a pet bereavement support service just phone 0800 096 6606 (8.30 am -8.30 pm). Or click here.
An anonymous poem written for a dog...
If it should be
If it should be that I grow weak,
And pain should keep me from my sleep,
Then you must do what must be done,
For this last battle can’t be won.
You will be sad – I understand,
Don’t let your grief then stay your hand,
For this day more than all the rest,
Your love for me must stand the test.
We’ve had so many happy years,
What is to come can hold no fears,
You’d not want me to suffer so,
The time has come to let me go.
Take me where me needs they’ll tend,
And please stay with me ‘till the end,
Hold me firm and speak to me,
Until my eyes no longer see.
I know in time that you will see,
The kindness that you do for me,
Although my tail its last has waved,
From pain and suffering I’ve been saved.
Please do not grieve it must be you,
Who has this painful thing to do,
We’ve been so close we two these years,
Don’t let you heart hold back its tears.