Losing your companion
Whether your pets passing was expected or sudden, the feeling of loss and devastation can be overwhelming. For many people, their companion has been a part of their lives for many years, some have never experienced life without them around and for others, their pet is all they have.
Euthanasia is the humane act of intentionally ending life to relieve pain or suffering. Other terms people use for euthanasia are “to put down” or “put to sleep”. Euthanasia is performed by a veterinarian by injection of a concentrated dose of anaesthetic, allowing your companion to go to sleep painlessly. If you require financial assistance, our clinic offers VetPay and Zippay.
Making the decision
The decision to euthanise a pet is not easy. It takes courage to decide to end the life of someone who has given you so much love and constant companionship. We are fortunate we have the ability to choose to end the life of an animal when the quality of life has deteriorated, or they are suffering through a terminal illness.
Some questions to consider (but not limited to):
- What is the current quality of life for my pet?
- Is my companion neglecting himself/herself (grooming)?
- Is my pet interested in the surrounding activity or is she/he unwilling to move about?
- Is my companion in a significant amount of pain?
- Does my companion have a condition or illness, which is unmanageable or untreatable – causing issues and pain?
- Do I want to be present during my companion’s euthanasia?
- Do I want to be alone or have family/children with me?
- Is there a special item your friend loved and would like to have with them?
- Do I want to bury my pet in a special place or have them cremated?
- Have I said my goodbyes / allowed family to say goodbye?
Should I stay?
Not everyone wants to be present during their companion’s euthanasia, there is no shame in this. Once you leave, your pet will stay with the vet and nurses and your companion will be treated with love and care in their final moments.
You are welcome to spend time with your pet after their passing. If you choose to stay, we encourage you to spend time with your companion in our grieving room. The vet will come and collect your special friend to place a catheter for vein access. If you decide to stay with your companion, they will be returned for you to hold and comfort.
Can I have my pet euthanised at home?
We offer house visits for consultation and euthanasia. There is a call out fee involved. The veterinarian will bring a nurse to assist in placing an IV catheter for vein access.
What to expect
Once the catheter is placed and secured, an injection of anaesthetic is given directly into their vein. Within seconds your companion will relax and fall asleep, and subsequently their heart will stop. If you are holding your pet, you will feel their head get heavy, their breathing may change and their muscles relax. The vet will check their heart and eye reflexes to ensure that they have passed, usually the eyes remain open. Urine or faeces maybe released due to muscle relaxation.
A resting place
In some cases, a companion’s death can be sudden and unexpected. It is suggested that a final resting place is decided when your friend is still alive. We offer a cremation service through the Animal Welfare League; where you can opt to have the ashes returned in an urn or a scatter container, or not to have the ashes returned at all, the AWL offers a restful place in their garden with a personalised plaque or the ashes returned to the earth (this is ideal for owners who are unable to bury due to renting or difficulty of space). You also have the option of taking your beloved companion home to bury.
There are brochures available in our clinic if you wish to view the urns available.
How to cope with grief after euthanasia
The grieving process is a natural process when we lose someone we love. The stages of grief move through denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
Some ways to help you through this difficult time include:
- Be kind to yourself
- Remembering the positive memories
- Seeking support from resources, organisations or individuals
- Seeking comfort from one’s own spiritual beliefs
- Preparing for a pets death in advance
- Grieve your own way – no one can tell you how to feel
- Give it time
Grief support links