by Lisa Larson
Coming to the realization that it will soon be time for your fur-child to move onto the other side is one of the hardest things we, as committed and loving pet parents, can go through.
As a long time animal communicator, whose specialty is speaking with animals in spirit, there are things we can do that will ease the transition for both you and your fur child.
The following list has been compiled from both personal experience with my own animals, as well as years of helping clients through the process, and helping them to make the difficult decision of how and when to assist our fur babies transition to the other side.
First of all, we need to understand something very fundamental when our animal is ill. When we adopt an animal, we adopted them for better for worse, and we took on the responsibility to make certain decisions for them, and about them, as their physical caretaker. In that, we need to talk about euthanasia.
Euthanasia is perhaps the one and only right animals have that humans do not: the right to die with dignity. One of the biggest misconceptions that people have is that if you let an animal die of natural causes, it will be painless and peaceful. While that may or may not be true in some instances, I can tell you from personal experience, it is not true across the board. I had the unfortunate experience of watching a family member’s cat die a horrible, miserable, death because his human mom would not make the decision to help him cross. It is one of my biggest regrets in my life that I did not encourage her more strongly. From a professional standpoint, I have never, ever, spoken to an animal in the last stages of life who told me they wanted to pass naturally. To the one, they say, “…if I am suffering, please help me cross.”
Euthanasia is one of the most altruistic, selfless things you can do for you fur-family member. Animals have an incredible ability to hang on and on and on when their pet parents are unable to let go … and let go from their heart. I have spoken with animals who have been in such misery that they tell me, “Yes, please, please, please, it’s time!” Yet, because their pet parents have been unwilling and unable to make that decision and let go, I have seen these animals suffer for weeks, sometimes up to 6 weeks, hanging on in misery. Considering that there is relatively no palliative care for animals, this suffering is on profound levels.
Given both my personal and professional experience, what I tell my clients is this: It’s better a day too early than a day too late. If you help them cross one day too early, you will have prevented their suffering, and 10 years down the line what you will probably be left with are the wonderful memories of the entire life you shared with each other rather than that one extra day. On the other hand, if you do it a day too late, 10 years down the line, the extra day you have is not going to make the difference to you, except that you run the risk of having to play that miserable day over and over in your head, questioning whether you let your fur child suffer, or worse, knowing so.
We have the ability to help animals transition with peace and dignity. Don’t take that away from them.
Euthanize at Home, if Possible
Over and over again, when I ask animals how they want to pass when it comes to euthanasia, they tell me, “at home.” They will usually show me laying in a favorite spot looking out a window or laying in the sun.
There are more and more veterinarians who do nothing but home euthanasia. This is a wonderful option, where your fur child need not go into a carrier or be taken into a cold sterile building, but gets to be in the safety and comfort of their own home surrounded by their loved ones. How many of you have heard people say they want the same thing? So do animals.
Whether you do decide you will euthanize at home or take them to the vets, research your options beforehand. There is nothing worse than having to make a last minute decision of this magnitude, and not knowing who or what is available.
Here in the San Diego area I recommend Paws Into Grace but, to familiarize yourself with your options, you can Google search your area for ‘home euthanasia vets’, ‘mobile vets’, or even talk to your personal vet to see if he/she would offer that service to you. Doing this will also help you come to grips with having to let go on the emotional level that your fur child may need help from you to move on.
Understand the Importance of Letting Go
On a conscious level, you may think you are ready to let go, you may have even told your fur child that he or she can leave. But understand that animals relate to us on very deep energetic levels. If you are not truly there, emotionally … in your heart … they will know, and they will hang on. We don’t want that for them.
If you sense that your fur child is hanging on, do some deep soul searching to see if you might be unable or unwilling to let go, deep down in your heart. Many times, when I do a reading near the end of a fur kid’s life, I find that if I am able to help the pet parent touch that part of themselves, within a few days the animal will take a turn to be ready to leave because they had been hanging on.
Know that once your fur child is gone, you will still be able to speak with him/her and s/he will still be around you.
I spoke with a fur child in spirit at one point, whose mom was having a terrible time with his passing. He showed me himself unzipping his body and stepping out of his body as an etherial mass next to his mom. He said to her, “It’s okay, mom. I’m right here. I’m just not wearing my clothes anymore.”
After your fur child has crossed into spirit, s/he will hear you when you speak to him, be around you when you think of her, and you will always be able to communicate to her through a communicator like myself, if necessary, but often will not be. You will see signs that they are around, they will watch over you and be your spirit guide, and more likely than not, you will have many, many shared experiences (lifetimes) together.
Unfortunately, our animal’s life spans are far shorter than ours. I have always thought that to be some sort of cruel, cosmic joke. But in doing this work, I have had animals give me insights that, while it may be small consolation when we are going through it, may help in the long run.
The insight is this: think about how many homeless animals there are in the world, suffering, alone, out on the streets and in shelters. (I don’t believe in getting animals from breeders. I don’t believe in breeding animals, period.) In a perfect world, we have all of our animals for the full length of their life spans. So if we live the full length of ours, we will have saved at least 4 or 5 generations of animals from the torment of animal homelessness.
Animals come into our lives for a reason. Jamie [name changed], a lovely dog in spirit, talked about the concept of adoption in that we, in human existence, are given the gift of being able to be physical caretakers for these animals who, in turn, become spiritual caretakers for us.
We know we will miss them. But what better gift could we give them than to help them on their final journey? They, who continue to be our spiritual caretakers, long after our job of physical caretaker is over.
Lisa Larson is an animal communicator and reiki master. You can find her at www.pawstalk.net