Prayer For Loss Of A Pet
A Buddhist’s Loss of a Beloved Pet — Mandala Publications
Pema before being diagnosed with cancer. Photo courtesy of Tania Duratovic.
By Tania Duratovic
‘How Long Will It All Take?’
Today I found out that one of our loving cats, Pema, has got cancer. It is in her nose and her throat and there is not much anyone can do. On the phone, the veterinarian even offered to my husband that since she is currently under anaesthetic, they could leave her there, i.e., let her die there and then.
I am looking at a photo of her I have on my laptop as I write this. I am in Kopan Monastery, Kathmandu, Nepal, thousands of miles away from Pema at home in Sydney, Australia, with my husband.
Tears are streaming down my face, but not necessarily because she is going to die very soon, but because before she does, she will have to undergo great physical suffering of which I cannot explain to her nor can I do a lot to ease.The veterinarian, when offering the choice to “euthanize” Pema, did so in the belief that this was a good option to avoid her suffering.
However, as Buddhists, doing such a thing is prematurely ending another’s life, i.e., killing, even though one believes one is doing so compassion.
The suffering that being is experiencing will still need to be experienced somewhere, sometime and may even end up being greater.
But when we as Buddhists choose to “put down” an animal, what really is our motivation? Ending our suffering or our pets’? I know I am totally dreading when Pema’s cancer starts to take more of an effect and she begins to feel the pain and miserableness of it all.
I feel for my husband who is all alone at home trying to deal with this. I am torn between rushing home and leaving my work here at the Animal Liberation Sanctuary or staying to take care of the animals’ needs here, which are many.
Much of me wants to see Pema, to stroke her, to say soothing words to her, but another part of me doesn’t want to see her deteriorate or have to say goodbye.
Pema for the moment is reasonably OK. She is still talkative, though perhaps a little less, and is still, thank goodness, eating, although has lost a substantial amount of weight.
“How long will it all take?” I ask over the phone. I know the answer. There is none – no one knows. Why? Because most people do not wait to find out how long it takes for their pet to die.
They choose the option to euthanize.
Max. Photo courtesy of Phil Hunt.
It Was Apparent That Max Needed Help
We have had this experience a few times, though in no way does it make this time any easier. I recall one cat we rescued, Max. He was quite an old boy, 15, and was a Tonkinese. He was very attached to his “owners,” but the father died and the rest of the family didn’t want to keep him for various reasons.
We adopted him knowing that he didn’t otherwise have much of a chance given his age (and his demanding cries for attention!) We had Pema at the time. She was probably about two years old. One evening we came home from our Dharma center and Pema charged down the hall and it looked she had bowled Max over. He suddenly started to walk a bit funny.
This rapidly worsened and he began dragging his back legs. We thought Pema had hurt him accidentally.It was 11 p.m. and it was apparent that Max needed help. We rushed him to one of the three 24-hour emergency clinics we have in Sydney, which fortunately for all of us, is not too far from our home. Max was in a huge amount of pain.
To cut a long story short, Max suffered some form of paralysis from a clot. The vets gave us the option of “putting him down” or trying this fancy expensive medication, which they weren’t sure would work anyway. We opted for the fancy medication.
Before we left Max there in the hospital, we asked them to put some drops of blessed water and crushed mani pill into his drinking water every day and stick a picture of His Holiness on his cage. We gave instructions that if he died, they were to touch his head first with a picture of a stupa we left them.
(Anything more would have been even weirder than all this already was to them.) Max survived the night. And the night after that. We visited him in hospital for a week. The staff were all amazed that not only had he survived, but he was starting to get feeling back in his legs.
One of the vet nurses decided it was “the holy water.” He declared to us that he had been to Thailand and seen some “Buddhist stuff” there.
Max came home with us at the end of the week. Gradually he got feeling back in all of his legs except for the very tip on his toes on one foot. Pema was happy to see him, although after spending his previous life as the sole cat of the household, I’m not sure Max felt the same about seeing her!
Max also had a heart condition, we discovered, so he was on daily medication for that. Then he developed water in his lungs, so more medicines. But he was still happy Max. About 18 months later, we noticed that he was looking at his bowl of water for long periods of time but not drinking.
We had recently nursed my parents’ Siamese cat through renal failure till he died, so we knew the signs. We were sure Max must have it too. But I had to be sure 100% just in case it was something else that we could treat. Reluctantly, my husband took Max up to the 24-hour hospital to see the feline specialist.
He had a meeting that afternoon, so dropped Max off before hand to have some tests done and would pick him up on his way home afterwards.When it came time to pick up Max, my husband asked the hospital staff if he was ready to go home and what the test results showed. It turned out they did not do any tests.
They concluded that indeed he did have renal failure and should remain in hospital and really should be euthanized.
My husband tried to explain that this was not an option we wanted to take: we wanted Max to come home and die there with us; we have certain religious beliefs which preclude killing and Max hates the hospital and would much rather be at home.
The vet was pretty furious. She accused us of being cruel and negligent and said if she was back home in England, she would have the legal right to keep Max regardless of what we wanted. Fortunately for us, in Australia, she couldn’t do this.
My husband tried to reassure her and said that if things get worse, he will call the local vet. She reluctantly conceded and left his cannula in so that the local vet could come around and basically euthanize him.
And she then proceeded to ring around all the local vets in the area and tell them about us, these crazy and cruel Buddhists!
Max sleeping. Photo courtesy of Phil Hunt.
It was a very difficult and emotional time. We kept questioning whether we were doing the right thing, questioning what is the right thing by the Buddhadharma and for Max. We asked several of our teachers for advice, but we knew what really was right.
We knew that even euthanasia is still killing, unless one has great compassion and can see the karma of that sentient being in question, which I definitely didn’t have. We certainly didn’t want Max to have to go through this suffering again if we decided to cut his karma short in this life.But the biggest suffering really, if I’m honest, was that we didn’t want to see Max suffering. It was our feelings of helplessness and not knowing that kept questioning things.
How long could we cope with this? Will it take Max a couple of days to die or a week or a few weeks? That was the most difficult part. No veterinarian could give us an answer.
When Max came home from the hospital, he was quite peeved with us. He hated vet clinics so he turned his back on us, literally, and ignored us. Worse was that he was groggy from the drugs they gave him and clearly resented this also.
When the drugs wore off, he actually seemed more comfortable and seemingly grudgingly partially forgave us for putting him through the trauma of the hospital visit. It was clear that the discomfort that he was in was not as bad as the mental discomfort of being at the vets.
Pet owners can attest to the loathing pets have for the pet carrier when forced to go for a check up, but the pleasure of the same object for the return trip.
We circumambulated Max around holy objects we have set up in the house for that purpose as often as we could without disturbing him too much. And he had CDs of mantras and prayers playing constantly. He slept a lot of the time. We slept very little.
The next morning my husband crouched down to check him and when his knees cracked, Max jumped up. Poor Max. The fright was not comfortable for him. By now it was painful for him to move or be moved. I stayed home from work to be with him all day.
The next morning around 5 a.m. we heard him make a noise. I knew that sound, having heard it before. We rushed out, picked him up as gently as we could, and madly began circumambulating with him, the mantras from the CD blaring out while we also recited loudly into his ears ourselves. Then it was the final spasms and he was gone.Fortunate Max. His physical suffering wasn’t too long (and so neither was our emotional suffering) and he died circumambulating. Yes, it was a good death for a cat. But Pema? I’m not sure. And being thousands of miles away from her, right now, all I can do is go up to the beautiful stupas here, make light offerings, pray, and place my faith in the Guru, Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.
FPMT makes it easy to support animals in a variety of different ways. Enlightenment for the Dear Animals, directed by TaniaDuratovic and Phil Hunt, provides advice, news and links to projects and people who are helping animals around the world.
Tania and Phil also serve as coordinators for the Animal Liberation Sanctuary, created near Kopan Monastery in Nepal to house animals that were to be killed so that they may live out the natural course of their lives in peace and gain a higher rebirth.
You can also support FPMT’s Animal Liberation Fund, a fund that directly supports Lama Zopa Rinpoche’s wishes to protect animals from danger and expose them to the Dharma.
Sympathy Messages for the Loss of a Pet
It can be hard to know what to say to a grieving friend, but these words of support will help. | Source
This past April, our dog Daisy died. She was an 8-year-old mongrel with a sweet personality and an annoyingly high-pitched bark.
She loved swimming and would sooner swim across a lake than walk around it. Daisy was a farm dog and was treated as such. She slept outside and often would sneak over to the old woman who lives across the lake for a cuddle and the occasional bone.
Losing a Furry Companion Can Be Losing a Family Member
Although I didn't feel the need to be consoled when she died, the majority of people I know who have pets will need some kind words and acknowledgment of their loss. Her death got me thinking what I would say to people I know whose dogs and cats are more family to them.
For some people, losing a pet that has been part of the family for many years is almost losing a family member or a well-loved friend. The loss of that pet will leave a hole in their heart and the owner may experience real grief. This shouldn't be pushed aside as nonsense, because the pain they feel is real.
Although you may not share their passion for animals to the same extent, you'll want to ensure you don't say the wrong thing and jeopardize your friendship at this sensitive time. If you feel that you might, a simple card with a condolence message may be the better option.
No matter what you choose, reaching out to a friend will help them as they move through the stages of grief.
What Do You Write in a Sympathy Card for a Pet?
Whether you choose to call them on the phone or send a card or a text message, it can be difficult knowing what to say to ease a friend's sadness following the loss of their pet. I have put together some sympathy messages which can be used when pets die. These can be tailored as you see fit with the name of the animal and perhaps a few simple words of your own.
Our dog Daisy | Source
If you have a good local card shop, you may be able to find a suitable pet sympathy card. Some of these may depict an animal that looks similar to the one that recently died. Another option could be a tranquil view of woods, a beach or clouds.
If your friend used to take their dog for walks on the beach or in the woods, these would be appropriate. Many cards are left blank for you to write your own message. This is where these simple words of comfort and quotes about pets will help you.Alternatively, if you know the pet is ill, buy the card early. By doing this, you can get a card on Zazzle that you can have printed with the animal's name and, if you have it, a photo. This will be a lasting keepsake for your friend whose pet has died.
If possible, try to think of a fond memory or loveable trait to include in your card. These personal messages can do wonders to aid in the healing process of those who have lost pets.
Here are a few messages that will work well on a pet sympathy card. Where possible, add the pet's name for a personal touch. If you don't know the correct spelling, it's ly your friend has used it previously on or other social media channels. Also be sure to get the gender correct if the message includes any gendered pronouns.
A personal message is always well received and will be kindly remembered. Some of these ideas are specific to a certain type of pet, some are of a religious nature, and some are more generic.
Let's get started with the condolence messages which you can either use as they are or modify for your own situation.
- I am sorry for your loss. [Insert pet's name here] will be greatly missed.
- [Insert pet's name here] was such a wonderful [cat/dog], he/she was lucky to have found a family as loving as yours.
- No truer word was said when they called dogs man's best friend. [Insert pet's name] was a special dog. May the fond memories you have ease the pain of grief at this difficult time.
- Losing a loyal and true friend isn't easy. Please know that I'm thinking of you, and if you need to talk or share memories, please call me. I'm sorry for your loss.
- [Insert pet's name] left paw prints of love on everyone who knew [him/her].
For some people, losing a pet is losing a family member. | Source
- A devoted friend and beloved pet such as [insert animal's name] will always hold a special place in your heart. [He/she] is gone but never forgotten.
- Although others may not understand your grief, I do. Losing a pet such as [pet's name] can leave a hole in your heart and a void in your life. Know that I am thinking of you and offer my condolences.
- [Insert pet's name] will always be by your side, watching over you. My sincere condolences.
- We can't imagine the grief you feel after losing [insert pet's name]. [He/she] was a lovely [animal type] and will be missed by many.
Do you have photos of your friend's pet? Consider including them along with your note.
- You were a fantastic pet mom and I know your family must be feeling deeply sad at this time. [Insert pet name] was a great [animal type], and his/her memory lives on.
- I was saddened to hear of the death of [insert pet's name]. No words of sympathy will ease your pain, but I want you to know that I am thinking of you in your time of grief. Call me if you want to talk about it and share some memories.
- [Insert pet's name] has been an integral part of your life. Don't be ashamed to feel sadness—[he/she] was a special friend.
- Sharing in your sorrow. [Insert pet's name] was a special [animal type] who will be missed by many.
Comforting words can help ease a friend's pain in times of sorrow. | Source
- I was sorry to hear of your loss. I hope the pain in your heart will be eased by the beautiful memories you have of [insert pet's name].
- Although [insert pet's name] has passed, [he/she] will always be beside you in spirit, watching over you. So sorry for your loss.
- I was sorry to hear that [pet's name] had crossed the rainbow bridge. My condolences are with you and your family at this sad time.
- [insert dog's name here]—a true ray of sunshine—has been taken away. I am thinking of you at this difficult time.
- The love of a pet will always be remembered.
- [insert dog's name] was a loyal and faithful friend.
- Loving thoughts are sent your way, so sorry for the loss.
- [Pet's name] was such a fun-loving and sweet [animal type]. [His/her] passing has shocked us and I'm sure devastated you. I have such fond memories of [him/her]. Let's get together soon and catch up on things.
Note: The Rainbow Bridge is perhaps the most well-known and frequently referenced poem about the loss of a pet.
A memorial stone is a beautiful, lasting way to acknowledge how much a friend's pet meant to them.
Another kind way to console a grieving friend is with a pet sympathy gift. These gifts are easily customizable and can provide a lasting memory of a beloved pet. Here are several appropriate gifts to give someone who has just lost a pet.
- Memorial Stone
- Garden Statue
- Framed Photo
- Wind Chime
- Our pets are gifts from God—they come into our lives and bring us such joy without asking for anything in return. We were sorry to hear of your loss and extend our sympathies to you and your family. Your [dog/cat] will be greatly missed by all who knew [him/her].
- Our heartfelt prayers are with you as you come to terms with the loss of [insert pet's name]. [He/she] will be missed!
- I was so sorry to hear of [insert pet’s name]’s passing. My thoughts and prayers are with you in this difficult time.
- [Insert pet’s name]’s joyous spirit and loving demeanor touched everyone who met him, and [he/she] will live on in the hearts of many. May God give you strength and peace at this difficult time.
- I was deeply saddened to hear of your loss. [Insert pet’s name] was such a beautiful ray of light in the lives of all who knew [him/her]. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
- I know that [insert pet’s name]’s companionship was a blessing in your life and that [his/her] passing has been incredibly difficult for you. I pray that God will give you strength and continue to bless you in other ways.
- Please accept my heartfelt condolences for the loss of [insert pet’s name]. May the Lord comfort you and yours during this time of sorrow. Please accept my deepest condolences, and know that I am available to pray with you at any time.
- I have so many fond memories of [insert pet’s name], and learning of [his/her] passing was very distressing. May God restore your spirit and give you comfort in this trying time. My deepest condolences.
If finding the right words to say when a friend's pet dies feels impossible, sending a greeting card with a quote is a nice option. | Source
- «What we have once enjoyed we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.» — Helen Keller
- «It came to me that every time I lose a dog, they take a piece of my heart with them, and every new dog that comes into my life gifts me with a piece of their heart. If I live long enough, all of the components of my heart will be dog, and I will become as generous and as loving as they are.» — Anonymous
Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.
— Roger Caras
- «If I have any beliefs about immortality it is that certain dogs I know will go to heaven, and very very few people.» — James Thurber
- «I have sometimes thought of the final cause of dogs having such short lives and I am quite satisfied it is in compassion to the human race; for if we suffer so much in losing a dog after an acquaintance of ten or twelve years, what would it be if they were to live double that time? The misery of keeping a dog is his dying so soon. But, to be sure, if he lived for fifty years and then died, what would become of me? — Sir Walter Scott
Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened.
— Anatole France
- «If having a soul means being able to feel love and loyalty and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans.» — James Herriot
- «Those we love don’t go away, they walk beside us every day. Unseen, unheard, but always near, so loved, so missed, so very dear.» — Anonymous
Four legs, a big heart,
it was love from the start.
Those we love are always close,especially when we need them most.In our hearts, they'll always beyoung, happy and running free.Although they're gone,
in our memory, they'll live on.
Lord Byron's Epitaph for His Dog Boatswain | Source
If you think that the love of pets is something new, it isn't. I used to live in Nottinghamshire, England, and at Newstead Abbey (which is located there) is an epitaph written by the poet Lord Byron (1788–1824) for his dog Boatswain. His dog was a Newfoundland dog, and the quote below can be seen on the dog's tomb. Newstead Abbey was Lord Byron's ancestral home.
Near this Spotare deposited the Remains of onewho possessed Beauty without Vanity,Strength without Insolence,Courage without Ferocity,and all the virtues of Man without his Vices.This praise, which would be unmeaning Flatteryif inscribed over human Ashes,is but a just tribute to the Memory ooatswain, a Dogwho was born in Newfoundland May 1803and died at Newstead Nov.
18th, 1808When some proud Son of Man returns to Earth,Unknown to Glory, but upheld by Birth,The sculptor’s art exhausts the pomp of woe,And storied urns record who rests below.When all is done, upon the Tomb is seen,Not what he was, but what he should have been.
But the poor Dog, in life the firmest friend,The first to welcome, foremost to defend,Whose honest heart is still his Master’s own,Who labours, fights, lives, breathes for him alone,Unhonoured falls, unnoticed all his worth,Denied in heaven the Soul he held on earth –While man, vain insect! hopes to be forgiven,And claims himself a sole exclusive heaven.
Oh man! thou feeble tenant of an hour,Debased by slavery, or corrupt by power – Who knows thee well, must quit thee with disgust,Degraded mass of animated dust!Thy love is lust, thy friendship all a cheat,Thy tongue hypocrisy, thy heart deceit!By nature vile, ennobled but by name,Each kindred brute might bid thee blush for shame.Ye, who behold perchance this simple urn,Pass on – it honours none you wish to mourn.To mark a friend’s remains these stones arise;
I never knew but one – and here he lies.
I hope this article has given you some ideas and guidance to ease the grief of your friend who has recently lost a pet. For some pet owners, it can be a devastating time. Others may choose to get another pet to ease the pain.
Whatever your friend decides to do, try to be supportive of their choices. Everyone handles grief differently.
If you have other sympathy messages you have used or received comfort from, please post them in the comment section for others to see.
Thanks for reading.
When a Pet Dies
For most kids, pets are more than just animals their families own — they're members of the family and the best of friends.
Unfortunately, the joy of owning a pet goes hand-in-hand with the heartbreak of losing one, whether because of old age, illness, or an accident.
And that can be very hard. After all, family pets often are the first to greet kids in the morning and after school. Your pet may be the one your child looks to for comfort and companionship when ill or feeling unpopular or upset.
While it's impossible to shelter kids from the loss of a pet, you can help them cope with it. And because a pet's death might be their first time losing a loved one, the grieving process can help kids learn how to cope with other losses throughout life.
Sharing the News and the Grief
One of the most difficult parts about losing a pet may be breaking the bad news to kids. Try to do so one-on-one in a place where they feel safe and comfortable and not easily distracted.
As you would with any tough issue, try to gauge how much information kids need to hear their age, maturity level, and life experience.
If your pet is very old or has a long illness, consider talking to kids before the death happens. If you have to euthanize your pet, you may want to explain that:
- the veterinarians have done everything that they can
- your pet would never get better
- this is the kindest way to take the pet's pain away
- the pet will die peacefully, without feeling hurt or scared
Again, a child's age, maturity level, and questions will help determine whether to offer a clear and simple explanation for what's going to happen.
If so, it's OK to use words «death» and «dying» or to say something «The veterinarian will give our pet a shot that first puts it to sleep and then stops the heart from beating.
» Many kids want a chance to say goodbye beforehand, and some may be old enough or emotionally mature enough to be there to comfort the pet during the process.If you do have to euthanize your pet, be careful about saying the animal went «to sleep» or «got put to sleep.» Young kids tend to take things literally, so this can conjure up scary ideas about sleep or surgery and anesthesia.
If the pet's death is more sudden, calmly explain what has happened. Be brief, and let your child's questions guide how much information you provide.
Sticking to the Truth
Avoid trying to gloss over the event with a lie. Telling a child that «Buster ran away» or «Max went on a trip» is not a good idea. It probably won't alleviate the sadness about losing the pet, and if the truth does come out, your child will probably be angry that you lied.
If asked what happens to the pet after it dies, draw on your own understanding of death, including, if relevant, the viewpoint of your faith. And since none of us knows fully, an honest «I don't know» certainly can be an appropriate answer — it's OK to tell kids that death is a mystery.
Helping Your Child Cope
anyone dealing with a loss, kids usually feel a variety of emotions besides sadness after the death of a pet. They might experience loneliness, anger if the pet was euthanized, frustration that the pet couldn't get better, or guilt about times that they were mean to or didn't care for the pet as promised.
Help kids understand that it's natural to feel all of those emotions, that it's OK to not want to talk about them at first, and that you're there when they are ready to talk.
Don't feel compelled to hide your own sadness about losing a pet. Showing how you feel and talking about it openly sets an example for kids.
You show that it's OK to feel sad when you lose a loved one, to talk about your feelings, and to cry when you feel sad. And it's comforting to kids to know that they're not alone in feeling sad.
Share stories about the pets you had — and lost — when you were young and how difficult it was to say goodbye.
After the shock of the news fades, it's important to help your child heal and move on.
It can help kids to find special ways to remember a pet. You might have a ceremony to bury your pet or just share memories of fun times you had together. Write a prayer together or offer thoughts on what the pet meant to each family member. Share stories of your pet's funny moments. Offer lots of loving hugs. You could do a project too, making a scrapbook.
Keep in mind that grieving over the loss of a pet, particularly for a child, is similar to grieving over a person. For kids, losing a pet who offered love and companionship can be much harder than losing a distant relative. You might have to explain that to friends, family members, or others who don't own pets or don't understand that.Perhaps most important, talk about your pet, often and with love. Let your child know that while the pain will go away, the happy memories of the pet will always remain. When the time is right, you might consider adopting a new pet — not as a replacement, but as a way to welcome another animal friend into your family.
6 important steps in mourning the death of a beloved dog
In the introduction to Favorite Dog Stories, James Herriot writes: “It is always said that however many wonderful and happy years a dog lives, you know that one day, the day he dies, your dog will break your heart.”
If you’ve ever loved–and lost–a dog, you know how true this is.
Our dogs, our faithful, funny, loving and beloved companions, will break our hearts.
And even though research says that for most of us, losing our dogs is on par with losing a family member — grief-wise — many feel foolish for mourning our dogs, for nursing our own broken hearts the way we do.
After all, it’s “just a dog.”
Thankfully, research can help us out with that one too. As any animal-lover knows, our dogs are never just dogs (no matter what people without pets say!). Dogs were created and bred to connect with humans no other animal. They understand our moods.
They even understand our language! Even if we don’t have an official service or therapy dog, our dogs make us happier, healthier, and safer. And in losing a dog, psychology professor Frank McAndrew says, “we experience multiple losses at the same time.
We may be losing our primary companion, a source of unconditional love, a ‘life witness’ who provides security and comfort to us … The loss of a dog seriously disrupts your daily routine, even more profoundly than the loss of most friends and relatives.”
Trouble is, many of us don’t know how to grieve the loss because we don’t have culturally agreed-upon ways to mourn the death of a dog (or cat). People don’t bring meals or excuse us from work. We don’t have standard funeral rituals (though liturgies and prayers for pet burials do exist) to help us process. We don’t often have gravestones to visit.
Read more: As I struggle with infertility, my dog is my biggest comfort
And yet, there are things we can do to help us through the grieving process. Dr. Mary Ellen Matthews, a veterinarian in Austin, Texas, and Dr. Karen Swallow Prior, an English professor and Member of the Faith Advisory Board of the Humane Society of the United States, offered some tips for honoring the lives of our pets and grieving the loss of our beloved companions.
As our the end of our dog’s life comes into view, Dr. Prior suggests choosing “something very specific to remember about your dog.
” She gave a personal example: “As the end of my last dog’s life was nearing,” Prior says, “I petted her over and over in those weeks and days.
Even now, several years later, as other memories of her are fading, I can remember how the texture of her coat felt on my fingers, and it comforts me.”
Dr. Matthews urges people to know what to expect when it comes to the decision to euthanize a pet. In fact, she offers specifics on the euthanasia process—making it concrete and less mysterious, especially for our kids.Her advice? “Be there,” Matthews says. “Even toddlers, who have only the merest grasp of what is happening, can be present during euthanasia. Don’t make vets the bogeyman to your kids by saying that you took Hank to the vet and something happened there. Don’t make your kids wonder where Penny is, if she’s wandered off or is on a farm.”
Euthanasia for a pet, Matthews says, “is fast. Faster than you will expect. It’s not traumatic. There is no drama in this to leave your child with nightmares. There is only peace.”
Once your dog has passed, Prior says, “The grief is real and it is powerful. Do not deny it or apologize for it.”
Matthews agrees. “Every time someone loses a pet, there is grief. For many, a pet is a member of their family. These pets walk alongside their owners through many stages of life, and their loss puts a hole in their owners’ existence.”
Read more: The golden retriever who hugs strangers in need
3. Take your time
Even in the moments after euthanasia, Matthews is careful to give her clients the time they need. “Before the euthanasia, after the euthanasia, after I have removed their pet from the room, they can take as long as they need,” Matthews says.
And she holds that position for long after her clients have gone home to where their dog will no longer greet them.
“There is no timeline on grief,” she says. “There is no kitchen timer that goes off, no iPhone alarm that buzzes to tell you it’s time to stop crying and get on with your life. So take as long as you need.”
Just as Prior encourages people to “memorialize” special moments with your dogs before they die, Matthews encourages people to find a tangible way to memorialize the dogs themselves.
“I may not be able to change the outcome of what is happening with their pet, but,” Matthews says, “I can offer small things. ‘We can make you an imprint of Sam’s paw. Is there a color that makes you think of him?’”
Far from being hokey trinkets, special physical memorials act as a concrete way of honoring the significance of our dog’s life.
5. Keep moving
“When people ask what comes next, what they do next,” Matthews says, “I am honest with them. There will be a hole in their life. I can tell them to expect that pain, but I can’t get rid of it.
So instead I tell them to keep moving. My mother always told me to ‘just do the next thing’ when things got to be too much, and I pass that along.
One thing at a time, and eventually, it will become less painful.”
Read more: The spiritual practice of walking the dog
Interestingly, Matthews says, we should also remember the pain our other pets may be feeling “especially if they were close to the one you lost. Spoil them. Take them for an extra lap around the block. Let them on the bed. Let them lick the plate from dinner. They will grieve as you do, and together you will move through it.”
6. Love another dog
“The best advice I ever received after putting down a beloved old dog,” Prior says, “‘Same breed, same day.
’ Some people think this is cold-hearted advice that purports we can just replace and forget one dog with another. Not at all. Our ability to love is infinite.
Getting another dog right away doesn’t decrease the love of memory of the former dog. It simply adds even more love and joy to our lives.”
And indeed, one of the things we miss most when a dog dies is the joy loving a dog brings us. Of course, not everyone is ready to commit so early on, so another option is to consider fostering one of the millions of dogs looking for love and forever homes or simply volunteering at your local animal shelter. Love heals more than anything else.
Prayers for Lost, Sick and Dying Pets
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A Prayer for My Lost Cat
St. Francis and St. Anthony, please come promptly to the aid of this precious cat, and those who love her so, and enable her to find her way back home, having suffered no ill effects from her separation from her family. Thank you sweet Jesus for your mercy on this family and their dearly loved cat, and for restoring her to them. It is in your name we pray,
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St. Francis — Pray for Our Pets
A Franciscan Blessing for Our Animal Friends Prayer for My Pet In Your infinite wisdom, Lord God, when You created the Universe You blessed us with all living creatures.
We especially thank You for giving us our pets who are our friends and who bring us so much joy in life. Their presence very often helps us get through trying times. Kindly bless my pet.
May my pet continue giving me joy and remind me of Your power.
May we realize that as our pets trust us to take care of them, so we should trust You to take care of us, and in taking care of them we share in Your love for all Your creatures. Enlighten our minds to preserve all endangered species
so that we may continue to appreciate all Your creatures.
Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
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Prayer to St. Anthony for a Lost Pet
St. Anthony Helps find lost pets. Dear St. Anthony, you are the patron of the poor and the helper of all who seek lost articles.
Help me to find the beloved pet I have lost so that I will be able to make better use of the time that I will gain for God's greater honor and glory.
Grant your gracious aid to all people who seek what they have lost— especially those who seek to regain God's grace.
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St. Felix of Nola, Patron Saint of Lost Animals, Prayer for a Lost Pet
St. Francis and St. Anthony, please come promptly to the aid of this precious pet, and those who love him/her so, and enable him/her to find his/her way back home, having suffered no ill effects from her separation from her family. Thank you sweet Jesus for your mercy on this family and their dearly loved pet, and for restoring him/her to them. It is in your name we pray,
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Prayers for Animals and their Families
Hear our humble prayer, O God, for our friends, the animals, especially for animals who are suffering: for animals that are over-worked, under-fed and cruelly treated; for all wistful creatures in captivity that beat their wings against bars; for any that are hunted or lost or deserted or frightened or hungry;
for all that must be put to death.
A Pet Blessing
Dearest God, Heavenly Father maker of all living creatures, we ask you to bless (name of pet), who brings so much joy into our lives.
By the power of Your love, enable him (her) to live according to your plan. May we always praise You for all Your beauty in creation.
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, Blessed are You, God, in all Your creatures!
Basilica and Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation.
|It was the first time the steroid really wasn’t enough. Without Thom’s amazing Reiki healing, I was afraid she wasn’t going to get better this time. I have an incredible resource in Thom to turn to anytime Lilly’s asthma gets worse. Read more of Animal Reiki Testimonial Julie R, San Antonio, TX|
Albert Schweitzer's Offering
We entreat for them all your mercy and pity, and for those who deal with them we ask a heart of compassion and gentle hands and kindly words. Make us, ourselves, to be true friends to animals
and so to share the blessings of the Merciful.
Albert Schweitzer (1875- 1965)
Theologian and Humanitarian
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Prayer for Healing: Intercession of Bl. Francis X. Seelos C.S.s.R
Divine Physician, You infused Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos with the gift of Your healing. By the help of his prayers, sustain in me the grace to know Your will and the strength to overcome my [pet's] afflictions. For love of You, make [him/her] whole.
May I learn from the example of Father Seelos and gain comfort from his patient endurance. Amen. Prayer Source *I have taken the liberty of changing the prayer to suit our prayers for our sick pets.
Novena for a Healing of a Sick Pet Prayer for Our Animal Friends Prayer for a Sick Pet Heavenly Father, Please help us in our time of need, You have made us stewards of (name of pet). If it is Your will, please restore him (her) to health and strength. I pray too for other animals in need.
May they be treated with the care and respect deserving of all Your creation. Blessed are You Lord God,
and holy is Your name for ever and ever.
Prayer for a Pet in Transition or About to Die
«Loving God, our beloved pet and companion, (Pet's name)
is on his/her final journey. We will miss (Pet's name) dearly. We thank you for the gift that he/she has been to us. Give us hope that, in your great kindness,
you may restore (Pet's name) in your heavenly Kingdom
according to your wisdom,
which goes beyond our human understanding.»
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Prayer in Memory of a Pet
Almighty God, I was fortunate to receive the gift of (pet name) from You Now that he (she) has left this life, please help me cope with my loss with strength and courage.
I know that my beloved companion no longer suffers, and will live on in many fond memories. May they be treated with the care and respect As he (she) has enriched my life, I pray that I may enrich the lives of others. Amen.
Basilica and Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation.
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The Bridge (Pet Loss Comfort)
There is a bridge connecting Heaven and Earth. It is called «The Rainbow Bridge» because of its many colors. Just this side of the Rainbow Bridge, there is a land of meadows, hills and valleys with lush green grass. When a beloved pet dies, the pet goes to this place. There is always food and water and warm Spring weather.
Those old and frail animals are young again. Those who have been maimed are made whole again. They play all day with each other. But there is only one thing missing. They are not with their special person who loved them on earth. So, each day, they run and play until the day comes when one suddenly stops playing and looks up.
The nose twitches, the ears are up, the eyes are staring, and this one runs from the group. You have been seen. When you and your special friend meet, you take him or her in your arms and embrace. Your face is kissed again and again.
You look once more into the eyes of your trusting pet.
Then, you cross the Rainbow Bridge together, never again to be separated.
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