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Pet Loss and Grief

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Pet Loss & Grief

End-Of-Life Care


Quality of Life Scale

Click here to view or download Family Pet's printable "Quality of Life Scale".

The American Association for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) offers a guide to caring for your pet during his/her final days.

Anticipatory Grief

This form of grief is experienced before the actual loss of your companion animal. Anticipatory grief is typically brought about by the diagnosis of a pet's terminal illness and/or the decision to euthanize. The decision to euthanize your companion animal may be one of the most difficult to make. It involves ending the life of your beloved companion and changing the unique bond that you share with your animal. However, the decision to euthanize also involves a very gentle and caring way to end the life of your animal friend.

After Death Care

Family Pet trusts Hinsdale Animal Cemetery to respectfully care for our patients after they have passed. Hinsdale offers pet cremation, burial, and memorialization services. You may view descriptions of their services, as well as their selection of cremation urns, on their website.

Pet Loss

The death of your companion animal may be one of the most significant losses of your life. With this profound loss comes grief and its associated emotional and physical manifestations: sadness, anger, guilt, anxiety, helplessness, crying, fatigue, or changes in appetite and sleep patterns. It is important to know that these feelings are normal, and that grieving is a necessary part of the healing process.

The loss of a pet can be especially hard on children and may often be trivialized or overlooked. How to help children cope with loss of a beloved pet?

Grieving

Grieving is the natural way that your mind and body adjust to a loss and heal your emotional wounds. We strongly encourage you to allow yourself to grieve in a way that gives you the most comfort. Allowing yourself to feel the sadness, anger, anguish, and loss will aid the healing process. Conversely, repressing your feelings may actually prolong your sadness and the time for recovery. During this time you may need the emotional support of family, friends, your veterinarian, and perhaps a grief counselor.

The amount of time required to heal varies considerably, ranging from days to years. Although you may feel that you have finished grieving, feelings of sadness may re-emerge with a holiday, your pet's birthday, or the anniversary of your pet's death. For this reason, some experts suggest that you give yourself, at a minimum, one year to grieve.

Housecall Euthanasia

If you decide you would like to say goodbye to your pet in the privacy of your home, Family Pet trusts the following doctors to professionally and compassionately perform at-home euthanasia for our patients:

Dr Juliana Lyles, Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice and In-Home Euthanasia, 847.260-8066
Dr Amir Shanan, Compassionate Veterinary Hospice, 773.244.1045
Dr Alissa Shulkin, Chicago Veterinary Care, 312.371.9839 (M, W, F 9am-4pm, by appointment only)
Pet Loss At Home, 877.219.4811

Support Groups and Grief Helplines

The Chicago Veterinary Medical Association offers a pet loss helpline and a free support group that meets once a month: http://www.chicagovma.org/pet-loss-support/

The Anti-Cruelty Society also offers a Pet Loss Support group that meets twice a month and is free: www.anticruelty.org

Additional Resources

Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement

Cornell University Pet Loss Support

Tufts University Pet Loss Support

ASPCA End of Life Care

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