Final farewell: Saying Goodbye to Your Pet

Fido has been there from the very beginning, before purchasing the house, before having kids, before everything that matters in life. Fido has been around to see and celebrate every family milestone and success. He is so a part of the family that the thought of losing him is heart-wrenching for both parents and children. Even so, pet owners can prepare themselves for the eventual death of their pet in a few ways.

More than just cute and cuddly animals, pets are real companions to many people. Whether accompanying an owner on a walk or jog, or just tagging along on a fishing trip, man and dog often form lifelong relationships. Pet iguanas, cats and even gerbils are examples of pets to which humans often become emotionally attached. That connection is related to the pet’s constant presence in the lives of the owners, and this is seen through the number of instances that pets appear in family photos. Because of that constant presence, when owners lose a pet, it can be like losing a human friend.

The closeness that develops when a pet becomes a family member is the main reason that preparing for the pet’s demise is extremely difficult. When the pet reaches old age, or becomes terminally ill, owners should sit down with their children to discuss humane, practical options for treating the pet. Parents can also explain why keeping the pet alive might not be the kindest thing to do. From that point, family members can prepare by making arrangements before the pet passes away, to avoid the added stress when the pet dies. More important is going through the grieving process and remembering everyone grieves in their own way. Some family members might go through the phases of grief quicker than others, so a non-judgmental approach is more helpful toward a family member who is struggling to come to terms with the loss.

After losing the pet, owners can say goodbye in a number of ways. Pet owners can have the pet cremated by the traditional method of incinerating the remains, which currently costs between $150 and $300 depending on the type of service required. Owners can also have a water-based cremation, which is more eco-friendly. In traditional cremations ashes are given to owners in urns. A sand-like substance that makes up the pet’s remains are given in a water-based cremation. Owners should avoid backyard burials unless double checking with local ordinances governing disposing of animals, and while pet cemeteries are no longer popular, owners who wish to have a physical place to visit their pet can search online for places that perform such burials.

Just as all life is celebrated, a pet’s passing is the opportunity to celebrate all of the wonderful memories that made life with this living being great, whether the pet was a gold fish, a dog, a rabbit or a parakeet. Letting go of a pet can be a traumatic experience for adults and children alike. However, with preparation, the death of a pet does not have to be overwhelmingly stressful for its owner.

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