BlogPost 45904186990 Preparing to Say Goodbye

Preparing to Say Goodbye

Advances in veterinary medicine are keeping our furry companions healthy and alive for much longer than ever before. This means that many more pets are reaching their elderly years and owners may be left anticipating the loss. Owners who have pets living with a chronic or terminal illness may also be faced with the sad reality of their friends' final days approaching. 

Being prepared for the inevitable may help you to cope with the loss when it does occur. 

But, what does it mean to be prepared?

Being prepared doesn’t mean that you have given up or stopped caring. It doesn’t mean you no longer love your companion. It means that, as sad and as painful as it is and will be, you are taking important steps so that both you and your furry friend feel ready.

Here are a few ideas to help you:

Live in the moment

Anticipating the death of a beloved companion can sometimes mean losing sight of the opportunity to enjoy the moments you have left with them. Particularly, if you are feeling the emotional burden of caring for a pet with medical needs. If this is the case, set aside some time without worrying about medications, toileting, bathing, or walking your pet. Take a moment and just sit with your companion. Look into their eyes, pat their fur and just be with them.

Learn About the Stages of Grief

Unless you've already been through a significant loss, you may not truly understand what to expect as you work through the grief that can accompany the loss of a pet. Grieving for a beloved animal is very similar to grieving for any other loved one. Being aware that you could experience a variety of emotions during the stages of mourning - including anger and denial - can help prepare you for some of the emotional turmoil to come.

Take Photos

You may already have photos of your pet, but take a few more during the remaining time you have with him. These might not be the very best photos of your companion, but you may want to have them later on. On the days when the loss seems too heavy to bear, these photos can help remind you that it truly was your pet's time to go, and that he's free from suffering now.

Preserve Your Pet's Paw Print

Keepsakes can give you something solid to hold on to after your pet is gone. You may find it comforting later on to have something that your furry friend touched. Heavenly Paws includes clay paw prints in our packages. You may pick as many as you like so that each member of your family may have a paw print to hold on to. 

Collect a Sample of Your Pet's Fur

If your pet's fur is long enough, you might want to trim a little fur and tie it together with a ribbon. Put the keepsake in a special box, and that way you'll always have a part of your dog with you in the years to come.

Leave a Legacy

Was your dog especially loving with children?  Donate to a children’s charity in his name.  Was he a rescue dog or cat? You could set up a fund for friends and family to give to the shelter in his honor. Maybe taking in a stray cat pulls your heartstrings because your cat wandered up to you one day and never left. Knowing that something good came from what is often a sad and difficult event can be helpful and healing.

Making Arrangements for Your Pet's Death

Although it is not something most of us want to think about, decisions will need to be made regarding what you want to do with your pet’s body once they pass. It has been our experience in the many years of working with grieving pet owners that when you know a pet’s death is imminent, making arrangements ahead of time is the preferred option. This will spare you from having to make decisions or handle details when you are flooded with grief.


Heavenly Paws works directly with many local veterinarians and arrangements can be made through their office. We also work directly with you. If your pet dies at home, we can come and pick them up directly from your home.

Once you have decided on cremation, there are some additional decisions to be made. You may request a private or individual cremation if you would like to have your pet's ashes returned to you. 

You will also need to decide whether you want to keep your pet's remains in an urn or other beautiful container or if you’d like to scatter them in some special place. If you want to keep them, you'll need a container. This can be as simple as a pretty ceramic canister, or you may want to purchase a proper burial urn.

Consider a Memorial

There are many options pet parents have when choosing a memorial in honor of their pet. If he was cremated, there are a myriad of urns to choose from that you can place on your mantel in remembrance.  You can also look into some of the going memorial trends such as having his ashes inside a specially made glass marble or pendant. You can even have his ashes infused in a tree to plant.  Some even dedicate a bench at the dog park for their dearly deceased. 

Memorials are special because although time will pass and things will get easier for you, forgetting the furry one you loved so dearly is never part of the process.  Embracing their memory is.

For many of us, the death of our pet will be the first time that we’ve experienced the loss of a loved one, human or otherwise. And even for those who have lost a relative, a spouse, a close friend, or a previous pet, dealing with the death of an animal companion is never easy. Although no amount of preparation can make the pain disappear, planning ahead for the loss of a pet can allow us to make better decisions and be ready with the right resources in place should we find ourselves on an emotional roller coaster when the time comes.


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