Health Tip: Planning for the End – Pt 3, Grieving

Natasha 08/10/2021

Two weeks before crafting this final section, our fifteen-year-old Samoyed Natasha’s mobility issues got worse.  She started having difficulty getting up from laying on the floor, started walking slower, her rear legs would slide out from underneath her, and she’d intermittently walk kind of sideways like a crab on our twice-daily walks. We’d already used acupuncture, Chinese herbs for inflammation and immune support, walked her twice daily, changed her diet, and administered prescription immune suppressants and anti-inflammatories. 

This new mobility wrinkle, coupled with the rest of her never-going-to-improve health issues, prompted us to agree that a good quality of life was behind her.  We called our vet and changed an existing follow-up appointment to euthanasia.

My advice to those grieving the loss of a canine companion:

  • Put her collar or paw print somewhere you can see it when you want to, but not out where it’s a constant reminder.
  • Try new routes for walking so the walk feels less lonely. 
  • Wait a week before cleaning bedding, towels, harnesses, tossing uneaten food and unused medications; it’ll be there when the pain isn’t as raw. 
  • If your vet sent a sympathy card, set it aside and open it in a month – trust me on this one.  
  • Reminisce about your canine companion’s goofy antics and noises, and the silly conversations you had with and her.
  • Spend time with friends who have dogs; the dogs will sense your loss and give you extra love.  
  • Remember the good times. 
  • Remember that you did the right thing, at the right time.
  • Adopt another dog who needs a good home.

Some people wait a year or more before bringing another dog into their lives.  We’ve said good-bye to four canine family members, and each time vowed we’ll wait a while to give ourselves time to heal before rescuing another.  And, each time, within about a month or two, we realized that there’s another dog out there that needs a good home, a nice yard and a chance for a happy, healthier, safe life.

Getting another dog doesn’t diminish the relationship you had or your loyalty to your departed dog.  Often it helps the grieving process

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