How do you know when it is time?
As someone who has had both service dogs and pet dogs and cats, I am no stranger to this question. However, it never gets easier no matter how many times we say goodbye. Some of you know my retired guide, Shannon, has cancer in her spine and kidney disease. This impacts her mobility as her legs are becoming weaker over time, causing her to lose her balance and needing support when going up and down stairs and walking on slippery surfaces.
There are several ways to evaluate when it is time. If you Google the Quality of Life scale for dogs or cats, a few options show up. These are a helpful guide to help you think about different aspects of your pet’s life including eating and drinking, mobility, pain, socialization, etc. It is also important that you have a good relationship with your vet so you can have open honest conversations. There will be good and bad days. Only you and your pet will know when it is time and even then, it is normal to question. It is hard to let go and even if we have spiritual beliefs that sustain us, it is still hard to let go.
Talking with a therapist who specializes in pet loss grief can be helpful both before and after you say goodbye. Anticipatory grief is a real part of the grief process and a painful one. Having a therapist can give you a place to explore all the emotions that surround this difficult decision and a safe place to process them to help you make the best choice at a time that makes sense for you and your pet. For more assistance, contact me today.