This week we celebrated Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day, which is observed annually on August 28th. According to NationalDay.com, "The day was founded by author Deborah Barnes as a way for people to share their memories of the pets that they have lost, whether it’s a dog, a hamster, or a snake." Today, we're sharing some knowledge we've acquired over the years to help you honor your pet and their memory on Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day and every day.
Saying Goodbye to a Beloved Pet
Grief and sadness can start long before we lose our pets. Many of us, depending on how we lose our pets, will grieve their loss as we watch them age and become more and more ill. Others, however, may experience a sudden and unexpected loss.
For those who have the option to euthanize, knowing when to say goodbye is one of the hardest parts of being a pet parent. Our advice to you is to consider The Quality of Life Scale in your decision. The Quality of Life Scale won't make the decision for you but it will give you the guidance and insight that you may need.
Once the time comes, we also encourage you to consider celebrating your pet's last week or day with a delicious meal, a visit to their favorite spot, or a visit from their favorite friend or loved one. Honoring our pets while they are still alive by treating them to things they enjoy is a wonderful way to send them off. While it won't make the goodbye any easier, enjoying one last hurrah together will make for wonderful memories once you've had time to heal.
When it comes time to euthanize your pet, we encourage you to be present for your pet's appointment. As hard as it is, hold them as they transition and send them off with the love they are accustomed to. Most veterinarians agree that our pets want us to be with them when they take their last breath. Most pets are scared at the vet and your presence is sure to comfort them.
Grieving a Pet's Passing
Once a pet has passed, it's time to focus on your healing. You and your family will have experienced a great loss, whether planned or unexpected. Many times, you'll have experienced trauma from the loss, the conditions surrounding the loss, or the guilt that often goes along with euthanasia.
Many loved ones will not know how to support you. Friends and family will not know what to say and may say the wrong thing. Instead of counting on others to support you, we encourage you to find ways to support yourself.
If supporting yourself means staying in bed for three days sleeping off the emotional exhaustion of the loss, do that. If it means heading back to the office to throw yourself into a project in the hopes of distracting yourself from the pain, do that. Whatever you choose to do, support your mental health and know that pet loss and grief resources exist. If you're really having a hard time, consider an online-based therapist or find a counselor near you.
The creators of the Rainbow Bridge Pet Loss Deck have a list of pet loss resources on their website. Their product, the Pet Loss Deck, is a wonderful way to support your grief process. Each deck, comprised of 52 beautifully illustrated cards, "validates how painful it is when we lose our pets and offers accessible, comforting wisdom teachings that will guide you through your grief. With warmth and compassion, these cards give you 52 ways you can love and support yourself and honor the special relationship you shared with your pet."
Celebrating a Pet's Memory
Part of being a pet parent is knowing that we will likely outlive our pets. Thinking about the many pets most of us have lost in our lifetime is a sad stroll down memory lane. Yet, Rainbow Bridge Remembrance Day doesn't have to be a sad day. It can be a day of celebration, a day to honor the many ways our pets improved our daily lives.
Celebrating a pet's memory could be as simple as going to Starbucks for a puppacchino with your current pack. It could be taking some time out during your morning coffee to browse through old photos. It could also be a journal entry highlighting the many ways your pet or pets made you a better human. The possibilities are endless. The goal is to honor your pet's memory and maybe even have a good cry, releasing some of the pent-up grief that we inevitably carry after such a major loss.
The Best Care for Yorktown Pets
At Hearts at Home Pet Sitting, we have a heart for companion animals. To us, pets are family; losing them is one of the most devastating experiences one can encounter.
Because honoring pets while they are with us is so important, our team takes pet care very seriously. Count on us to gently handle your pets. Trust that we are trained to handle emergencies and illnesses. And, know that your and your pet's bond is not lost on us. We will always do everything in our power to keep your pet safe and happy when you can't be by their side.
To learn more about our in-home dog walking, pet sitting, and home care benefits, submit your new client questionnaire here. For more information visit our website or contact us by email at Hello@HeartsAtHomePetSitting.com or by phone at 757-745-9868. Our service areas include Yorktown, Poquoson, Newport News, and Hampton, Virginia.