Grieving The Loss of a Pet

Grieving The Loss of a Pet

It is never easy to say goodbye to our beloved pets, they are with us day in day out 24/7. I am hoping by sharing our story about grieving the loss of our beloved pet that I might be able to help someone else thet may also be struggling with a similar situation. 

As many of you may have seen we loss our 19 year old feline Sasha back in May. Of course we, like many pet owners were absolutely devastated. It was one of the hardest decisions and worst days of of our lives. I am just now able to actually reflect upon it while sobbing ferociously into my keyboard. Our girl had been there for us through some of our toughest days and although it was with out a doubt the toughest decision to make, euthanasia is often the kindest gift you can give to your pet. It is an end to their pain and suffering. I still to this day think I am gong to see her come sauntering around the corner, or hear her sweet little coo she made instead of a purr. 

*Please note that this post may contain affiliate links for your convenience. These involve no extra cost to you, but may result in me receiving a small commission – for which I am very grateful! You can view my full advertising disclosure here.

This is a picture of our girl, Sasha she had made it to the ripe old age of 19 years old. She was still very spry even though she had been afflicted with feline hypothyroidism 5 years prior. I decided not to pursue the traditional treatments after reading that most of the medications for this disease resulted in renal failure within 2-3 years. I opted to do my own research and go with a more holistic approach which actual bought her the additional 5 years though dietary changes and small multi feedings thoughout the  day and she was able to live a happy healthy life.  The picture below was taken 3 days before her passing as you can see she was completely fine and all about getting what was on the inside of those pizza boxes. This was one of our traditions, she always got a bite or two and would warm her bum on the box top at the same time. For 19 years I never had a pizza box that was not crushed on top…..I am really going to miss that, I may never order pizza again.  In January 2018 she experienced her first, feline stroke. It resulted upon waking up from a nap and stretching, go figure. For those of you that have not experienced the aftermath of a feline stroke, her head was positioned in sidways tilt, where her ear faced the ground and nose faced the sky. While she could still walk, she stumbled and staggered in a drunken fashion. After a phone call to my vet, I was told that feline brains can rewire so we were told to give her 3 days and then reassess. Amazingly in 3 days she was completely fine, no head tilt, walking normally, all functions back to normal, of course we were all amazed. However, we also knew that this was probably the beginning of the end. It was a little over 3 months later that our girl had another, more sever, stroke, that this time was not going to be recoverable. Again this was a stroke that happened in her sleep, my husband found her rigid while sleeping on the back porch. I always keep a few extra pain meds on hand in my refrigerator as my felines get older in case things start to go badly. I administered her a small dose of Bupernex (left over from another siblings spay) which allowed her body to relax. Unfortunately, from the stroke she was ultimately paralyzed on her right side. She was unable to eat or drink since her motor skill were lost on the right side. This is where the quality of life decision had to be made, and as painful as it was we made the call. A local company called Sweet Dreams, which we had used before, and they able to come directly to our home. This was a big deal for us, since we wanted to keep her comfortable and calm and most all all feeling safe surrounded by all the things she knew and loved. 

A team of three ladies came out to our home, and took care of everything. The process is made very simple, and arrangements can be made to either retain your pet or have them cremated and returned to you. They even made a sweet clay paw print of our baby girl for us to keep just after she had passed. Again I can not begin to tell you what a amazing service this company provides, I could not imagine trying to drive home after this process. Which is why I wanted to share my story. I know in the wee hours of the morning while I laid in the floor with her trying to keep her calm and comfortable, because tragedies like this never happen at 8 o’clock in the morning, I must have read every chat room every blog site, every story about how to help a pet in this situation. Holistic approaches medicines, soothing treatments and ways to make her more comfortable to get her through the night.  How to know when it was time? How to know if you are making the right decision? The ultimate answer was you will always know if you have waited too long, when they truly begin suffer, and then feel even more guilty about prolonger the suffering you have put them through later.
At the time, she was not suffering but was very anxious about the fact she could not get up on her own accord. She wanted to eat but choked with every bite, to the point I had to preform CPR on her. I knew that she was not going to have a good quality of life being syringe feed for her final days. Even though I was willing to do it for her it was just not in her mindset, she wouldn’t have wanted it. She was a fiercely independent  feline, which is probably why she had lived to 19 to begin with and was not going to take well to going back to being bottle feed. It was with a heavy heart that we both knew……

Please know that if you are going through something like this with your pet, that you are not alone, there are many great services that can help you with the transition.  Sweet Dreams is a local euthanasia company in north Georgia but these services are growing in number and locations. For us the choice was simple, we only wanted the best for her and did not want to add to her stress or even our stress and this was really the perfect  solution. They can take care of everything you need including grief consultation if this was your current life companion.

Since it has been almost 2 months since her passing I can now talk more about our loss. In order to commemorate her sweet little soul I ordered this statue from Hayneedle called Minx in the Garden. If you knew my girl, you would have known how truly appropriate the name of the statue was when I saw it online. We used to call her Impusmaxius, when she was younger because she was just an imp and into everything. I mean we never had a loaf of bread without a hole in the bag and nibble marks because she was a dumpster kitty. When she was 4 months old she hopped in the refrigerator one morning, unknown to us, and ended up spending the day inside while we were at work. I cringe at even writing that, but clearly she lived through it and to the ripe old age of 19 soooo, no harm no foul? So it was almost as if Sasha, the queen of naughty little minx’s herself, had sent the online statue link to me. The best part, it was in the shape of Maine Coon, with the big fuffy tail and chest just like her, it was perfect.  

*Please note that this post may contain affiliate links for your convenience. These involve no extra cost to you, but may result in me receiving a small commission – for which I am very grateful! You can view my full advertising disclosure here.

Hayneedle Logo

She now sits proudly in my rose garden and I can see her monument every morning when I have my coffee. It helps me to remember her and still move forward. I placed the statue at the base of the bird bath, since she loved to watch the birdies from the living room windows. While this is not one of my normal light and fluffy posts, I really hope that this article finds the audiences that it is intended for and can bring some peace, relief and solace during such a painful time, as the ones I read did for me. Paying it forward, God bless you all. 

22 Comments

  1. This is a heartbreaking read, I am so sorry for the loss of your kitty. I do appreciate that you faith in God to let go and trust in her eternal healing. She is waiting for you and is with you every day. God Bless.

  2. What a heartfelt post! I’m sorry to know that losing your favorite cat 🙁 I love pets too. I’m very sorry 🙁

  3. This is so upsetting! I have never owned a pet but I can sympathize how you are feeling. I love that you shared your story to help other people with losing their pet. Excellent post!

  4. I am very sorry for your loss. I can only imagine. I have a chichi that’s getting up there in age.

  5. I couldn’t help, but cry reading this. Like you, pets are family. They are hard to say goodbye to. That’s one of the hardest decisions one will ever have to make. But, I am glad that you were able to have Sweet Dreams come out and do that in your home. <3

  6. Thea, I am so sorry to hear about Shadow. It amazes me the deep emptiness left behind from the loss of our pets. I think it is because they are with us every single day, even when our family and loved ones may not be. They truly fill a void in our lives that no human could ever fill. That is why I truly believe they are little gifts directly from God, pure, innocent, and beautiful, exactly the way they were intended to be. Thank you so much for stopping by my blog 🙂

  7. I am still not over the death of my little Shadow (a black spitz). I was devastated and still am to be honest. Whenever I see black spitz I cry! She got sick all of a sudden and it was just so hard to watch her suffer T.T She’s in a better place now, I know but I still miss her.

  8. It was so brave of you to share such a personal story. I really appreciated your reflections and I cannot imagine how hard it must be, I am constantly terrified of losing my dog.

  9. We lost our dog unexpectedly in May, and I just this month was able to write about it. Pets are such an important part of our families. Thank for for sharing.

  10. This is such a beautiful post. Losing a family pet is a really difficult experience. The monument in your rose garden is a lovely tribute.

  11. Thank for sharing such personal post, I have no doubt that you are helping so many people out with this one. Losing a pet is the worst part of having them.

  12. I am so sorry for your loss. A service like Sweet Dreams is what every pet owner who is going through a similar situation needs. I am glad that they were available in your area and were able to help you.

  13. I’ve never had a family pet so I can’t really attest to this emotional connection or the grief associated with the passing of a beloved family pet, but I do believe that we bond with all sorts of souls. I’ve been told that this connection is like that of a family member and the loss of a family member is something I can understand, something that is so very painful so my heart goes out to those who are grieving the loss of a pet.

  14. I can only imagine how hard it must be for you. Be strong

  15. I have an elderly, severely diabetic cat that has been with my husband and I since our first Christmas together. I know the time is getting close; I’m going to look into a local service like Sweet Dreams now so are prepared when the time comes.

  16. Jennifer, thank you for your blog post.Really thank you! Awesome.

  17. So many people underestimate how hard it is to lose a pet – their often family as much as any human is!

  18. This is very well written and such a honor for you family pet and life long friend. Sometimes I think those that have never had the bond of a pet or animal have no idea loss that occurs, it can as painful as a family and sometimes more so, since some families are very estranged. Animals are truly a gift from God that we are so lucky to have in our lives for a fleeting moment, only to be joined back with them again someday. You are doing amazing work work here, please continue your journey.

  19. What a beautiful post, I can’t imagine losing my dog. I love her little monument in the garden; I hope that your heart heals soon.

  20. It’s never easy to lose a family pet. The last one was hard on me & I haven’t got attached since..

  21. Jen this is a wonderful heart felt post. We lost our boy Harley, last year, and it was the hardest thing ever. It liked to kill me, and getting the kids through it, we all cried, and had a service. I wish I had know about Sweet Dreams, it would have been nice to have them come to the house, just one less thing to worry about.

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