Sweet Zoe

What happens when a Pet Loss Grief Specialist hears “the” news about one of her own animal companions?

Is it easier because I know about pet loss, stages of grief, helping clients confront feelings of distress and deep sadness, and helping them through it?

No.  It is the same road that must be travelled.

Three days ago I took one of my cats, Zoe, to see my Vet.  She is one of four animals in my four-legged family.  She has suffered with IBS for many years and had recently started taking a new medication to help manage her symptoms.  Her thyroid has been treated daily for the past 4 years.  Recently though, weight loss, extreme thirst, a dull coat and sores on her back feet had me worried.

I was able to get her in quickly for an appointment and a blood panel was run.  The Vet would call later with the results.  I put Zoe back in her crate and drove home hoping that a short course of antibiotics would put her back on the road to recovery, but knowing in my heart that this was most likely more serious.

A short time later, I was in my car driving when my Vet called.  She could tell by the telephone reception that I was in my car, and suggested quietly that I pull over – she had the results of the blood work.  My heart sank and what I had suspected, was confirmed – she was dying.

I heard the vet, as if through a tunnel, saying … “Zoe has full blown diabetes, and also, I suspect a tumour because of other markers.  Together with her other illnesses, you have some decisions to make.”  Shock set in.  I know this stage, I talk about it often with clients.  We chat a few minutes longer, with me taking in only bits and pieces of the conversation, but we decide upon a course of action – which is really, take no action.

I sit on the side of the road.  Cars are flying past as if nothing is wrong.  My mind is reeling.  I start thinking about what I counsel people who come to me to deal with the loss of a beloved pet.   With me, anticipatory grief has set in.  I quickly review the stages of grief and know what is ahead.  One thing is certain, I must put Zoe first.  I must not let her suffer one minute, one second, longer than necessary. I will cry the healing tears that will come when it is time.

Euthanasia literally means the “good death”.  It is the last gift that we can give our beloved pets who have provided unconditional love while under our stewardship.

Is it easier because I know about pet loss, stages of grief, helping clients confront feelings of distress and deep sadness, and helping them through it?

No.  It is the same road that must be travelled.