Losing a dog can be, to some people, as painful as losing a child, especially because our dogs rarely live to reach the age of a human adult. At least in that chronological sense, our dogs always die as children. Remember, dogs are excellent listeners, and this ability is part of the reason that they work so well as therapists for humans.
The loss of this support system adds another level to the grief we can feel when our dog dies. Finally, dogs help us establish a routine and take responsibility. We have regular duties to carry out on their behalf and are responsible for their care and well-being. This part of losing a dog can throw the entire rhythm of life completely out of kilter, and that kind of sudden disruption can just add to the stress of grief.
Did I do enough? Should I have waited just to see if she recovered on her own?
What Do You Write in a Sympathy Card for a Pet?
A good vet will explain your options for treatment and help you make the right decision. Finally, our society does not have the same support mechanisms in place for the passing of a dog as we do for the passing of a human. Wakes, memorials, and elaborate funerals are the rule when it comes to human death.
For dogs, these would all be exceptional events, although police and military service dogs do often have full-on funerals.
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Civilians, though, do not generally receive the comfort of giving their dog such a ceremony, and so generally have to go through the process of saying good-bye alone or limiting it to the immediate family. For more information on preparing for and surviving through the process of losing a dog, please visit our End of Life Care section.
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Facebook Twitter Instagram Pinterest. August 1, The Impact of loosing a Dog The loss of a dog represents multiple losses at the same time. Like 0. Comment on the Story Below. Is it professional to shed a tear yourself many vets feel like doing this, on occasion. S ympathy cards have become a recognised way of supporting pet owners in their grief. Pet owners are often surprised, touched and even delighted when they receive these cards from their vet.
Grief After the Death of a Beloved Pet
Sadly, one of the consequences of this general positive reaction has been that sympathy cards have moved towards being a standard, expected response by vet clinics when a pet dies. S ympathy cards for pets can now be purchased from a wide range of sources. I n the first instance, an elderly man had two pet cats. When the first cat died, he received a typed and signed note expressing sympathy from his vet.
Loss of a pet – how to help others cope with the grief
Three years later, when his second cat passed away, he again received a note from his vet. Again, he appreciated this gesture, and he decided to keep the note with the first one. It was only when he compared the two notes that he discovered that exactly the same words had been typed in each note, right down to the slightly incorrect use of a punctuation mark.
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Yet each note had been signed by a different individual. The man had a sickening moment of realisation: there was no heartfelt sympathy in either of the notes: they were a sceptical way of manipulating the emotions of a grief-struck owner in an attempt to make him feel positive about the vet. The man tore up both notes, and resolved never to return to that particular vet clinic. The dog was nearly fifteen years old, and the vet had treated her on and off for 13 years.
The vet responded to this email succinctly:. I felt I should reply to your note. When sympathy cards first arose as an idea for pets I embraced them with enthusiasm, feeling they would be good and healing.
However, I got what could almost be described as hate mail from some recipients who thought they were crass, rude and just inappropriate marketing tools. I do know they have led to clients seeking help elsewhere in the future.
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In the intervening years I have therefore just acknowledged reports of patients demise, and this has been far better received. Times change and condolences are now more accepted as part of the process, but still I see no reliable argument to revisit the concept. And I have no wish to have to field the complaints from sending such again.
That was until your note, which was somewhat of a first. Sometimes one is damned whatever on does. Kind regards. It seemed to be all about him, not about the animal. I didn't expect a card; that's not at all what I meant. Instead of an acknowledgement, as if I'd sent you a change of address.
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