Treating Grief with the Respect it Deserves

When it comes to dealing with the grief that comes after losing a beloved pet, it can be complicated. Some might even say that grieving the loss of your darling pet is no different than grieving the loss of a person. It is a deep and meaningful loss that can be difficult to cope with.

 

When dealing with grief after losing a pet, the first step is to be kind to yourself.

 

Allow yourself to feel the pain, sadness, and anxiety that come with the loss. Acknowledging these feelings and giving yourself the time to process them is essential for healing.

 

It is natural to experience stages of grief and other ranges of emotions after losing a dog, including anger, anxiety, sadness, or even guilt. It’s important to remember that you don’t have to go through each stage and that the process of grieving is different for everyone.

 

The stages of grief are varied, but they can typically be broken down into denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Everyone experiences these stages differently, and it is important to remember that there is no timeline for grief.

 

There are a variety of ways to cope with the loss of a beloved pet. It can be helpful to talk to friends and family or to seek support from professional counsellors in Ireland.

 

 

Pet bereavement can be a difficult and emotional time for pet owners. It is important to take the time to properly grieve and say goodbye to your beloved pet, and a ceremony or funeral can provide the closure needed to move forward. A small ceremony or funeral allows pet parents to grieve in a meaningful way; it creates a space to honour the life of the pet, celebrate memories made together, and express the sorrow of saying goodbye. A ceremony can also serve as a way to share the pet’s life with family and friends and can help the owner to feel supported during this difficult time.

 

Many people find consolidation by keeping the pictures of their furry friend that remind you of the best moments together. Life will go on without your beloved pet, but your memory of them will never age, never change, never fade away..

 

It is also important to remember to take time for yourself and to find ways to connect to the memory of your pet. Whether it is through talking to friends, journaling, or having a special memento of your pet, you can check here the types of special memorabilia that can help connect and honour your beloved pet.

 

At Paw Prints we understand how hard the time of passing of a pet is a difficult time and deserves attention and if you have any questions on how to organise cremation and where to begin, you can always give us a call here for helpful advice.

Pet Grief

Understanding and dealing with pet Grief

There comes a time in every owner’s life where a hard decision will need to be made. Pets, unfortunately, aren’t built to last as long as us and, towards the end of their lives, they’ll depend on us to make that hard choice. However, if you have another pet how are they going to react? Will they miss their bigger, perhaps older sibling?

Pets, as we’re sure you’re aware, can become very attached to one another and having a pet survive the loss of their best friend (when you’re not there) can be difficult for them to do. As a pet parent, it’s important to understand and know the signs of grief in pets, understand where it comes from and understand that these losses take time to heal. As such, there are signs to look for:

  • Withdrawal from people and other pets
  • A lack of appetite
  • Lethargic behaviour and sleeping more than usual
  • Unusually aggressive or destructive behaviours
  • Inappropriate urinating within the home
  • Calling out or vocalizing in an unusual way for the pet who has passed
  • Searching the home and other places frequented by the other pet
  • Becoming very clingy and following you around

 

 

For any pet parent who has a pet dealing with the loss of a friend, it is vital that they are given time to process the ordeal. It is completely normal and healthy for them to express grief in a variety of ways and it is up to you, as a pet parent, to know your pet, reassure them and comfort them. Helping your pet to properly grieve is, unfortunately, a necessary evil.

Euthanising a pet is hard. It takes courage but also a lot of love for your pet, to be able to put them before yourself and your other pets and how much you want them to still be a part of their lives. However, a symbolic gesture such as burial or cremation can help all involved put a full-stop under this period of grief and give closure to the whole affair. This symbolic gesture can be anything that you want it to be; perhaps you’d like them to be cremated and for their ashes to be scattered, or maybe for them to be buried with their favourite toy. The time you and your pets have spent together will always stay with you.

Getting through the loss of a pet is a herculean task, but friends and family are always there for us; as crutches to help us walk, as casts to help us heal. If you’re going through the loss of a beloved pet, it’s vital that you speak to your friends and family – having a favourite Aunt, Uncle or Cousin on standby can make the world of difference on lonely nights and an even bigger difference to your grieving pet. Afterall, in times of hardship, company is a good thing to be in.

If you require any advice on the services we offer or how to deal with grief and loss for all ages, click here.

Questions about pet cremations

As a provider for end-of-life services for pets, we’ve received a thousand questions over the years. Some have been out of curiosity, others out of grief and some have been humorous indeed, but today we’d like to have a look at some of the most frequent ones we’ve been asked.

 

5. “Do you do coffins for pets?”

No, we do not offer coffins or burial services. We do, however, offer a wide range of options for you to honour and store the remains of your beloved pet, from ceremonial urns to jewellery infused with their ashes. We can also provide memorial plaques and signs in the event that you would like to bury your pet as opposed to having them cremated. We recommend calling or emailing to discuss your own personal needs and we’ll do our very best to accommodate them.

 

4. “Are all pets for the day burned together?”

Absolutely not. Each cremation is carried out individually and great care is taken by our undertakers to ensure that your pet’s remains are honoured and respected from the moment you arrive with them. We also carry a 100% guarantee that the ashes you receive are that of your pet’s and nothing more. In short, there is absolutely no way we would ever betray your trust and that of your pet’s. We take our work very seriously and that is why we have our guarantee mentioned above.

 

 

3. “How will my pet be stored until they are cremated?”

Once you arrive with your pet’s remains, we’ll take them to our specially prepared waiting room where they will be placed in a bespoke receptacle. When the time comes for their remains to be cremated, we’ll take the receptacle and place it in our crematorium for you to have your final goodbye. There will be plenty of time for you to say whatever you’d like and we’ll be there to advise and help you through the whole process. As an aside, we always recommend that bereaved owners seek grief therapy when they are ready and we can certainly point you in the right direction.

 

2. “How big does the fire need to be to make ashes?”

We seem to get questions like this one from young boys – naturally, they gravitate to the spectacle of the process as opposed to the ceremonial aspect of it. Cremation chambers are required to reach temperatures of 800 to 1000 degrees Celsius in order to perform their task and can take anywhere from 30 to 40 minutes. Your pet’s ashes must then be left to cool for a time before we can move them to your chosen urn. The short answer, of course, is very hot.

 

1. “What will I do without them?”

Grief is such a uniquely human thing, but honouring it, marking it, acknowledging it is the most human thing of all. Life will go on without your beloved pet, but your memory of them will never age, never change, never fade away. To honour a pet in death is one of the first steps an owner can take in overcoming their grief. Otherwise, there are many counselling options available in Ireland and, if nothing else, you can surround yourself with friends and family who will be more than happy to offer their help to you in this difficult time. Always remember; this, too, shall pass.

We hope we’ve answered your questions thoroughly today. If something comes to mind or if you have any questions about the services we offer, you can always contact us here.

The Energy of Grief

All human emotions carry with them a colour, a vibration or an energy. In grief’s case, it tends to manifest itself as a buzz or a hum; one that tugs at the corner of your lip or twitches the crest of your cheek. It resonates deep in your chest, close to where your heart resides, resonating with the anger, pain and remorse you feel when you suffer a loss. That loss doesn’t need to be a person, however, it can be a breakup, a job redundancy or the passing of a friend with paws. But as an energy, no matter how primal, how deeply rooted in our psyche, it can neither be created or destroyed, only changed from one form to another. As such, when you suffer the loss of a beloved pet, there are ways you can manifest that process of change:

Get Creative: As an energy, grief can be used to write, paint and concoct ideas from a certain perspective. Some of culture’s finest works have come out of places of grief such as the Black Paintings of Francisco Goya and the Poetry of Sylvia Plath. Putting pain on a page carries a certain catharsis to it; to shift the weight onto someone or something fictional. It doesn’t even have to be an undertaking such as those listed above, it can be as simple as starting a daily journal or blog to document your feelings. Trust me, it works.

Embrace Grief Through Music: I think we’ve all been there; that song comes on, but there’s not a thing you can do to change it. Then, as its last notes ring out, you press replay. Maybe it didn’t hit hard enough the first time, or maybe your body’s trying to tell you something? Maybe it needed the release that song brought on? Whatever way you look at it, grief often finds an outlet through music. Embracing that fact can help towards venting and changing your mood. Honestly, there’s nothing like a good cry!

 

 

Return to Your Roots: Close friends are invaluable in times of crisis and pain but being near family provides a different sort of comfort. Surrounding yourself with your Mother and Father, Brothers and Sisters, Aunties and Uncles and Grandparents can near-instantly make us feel better. If you’ve experienced the loss of a family member or pet, being close to family can help our hearts mend together. Besides, a load shared is a load halved!

Peace Through Nature: In times of suffering, getting out of the bed and planting your feet firmly on the ground can be one of the hardest tasks you can do, worse again that you’ve got to do it daily. Periods of grief are often the best times to take a break and reconnect with nature. Maybe there’s a local heritage site you’ve always had an eye on, or maybe a forest park you’ve always wanted to visit? Not only are you out and dressed, you’re exercising in fresh air and allowing your mind time to clear. As a primal energy, grief resonates softly when exposed to nature as it is in the life-death balance of nature where it feels most at home. When you come back you may find that your mind is calm and your heart is at rest; a sure sign that it worked!

Remembering the Loss: As grief wanes and gives more and more room to other emotions and energies, it may be time to consider remembering your loss. Like a virus, grief will go dormant after a time, waiting in the shadow of your heart to spring back up when we’re at our lowest. Having a memorial or casual service for your lost loved one can help reduce the severity of grief’s re-emergence; enabling you to continue to function, to acknowledge its presence and carry on. It is never something that goes away, but it is something we can all learn to live with.

The loss of a pet is something that you do not have to go through on your own. Family and friends will always be there for you, to support and help you process it. The loss of a beloved pet can be one of the most difficult times in our lives. If someone you know has suffered or is currently suffering the loss of a pet; be there for them, offer them your support or time to talk and make sure they have no regrets with their pet. It can be just as devastating as losing a family member and there is a grieving process just like any other loss.

Assessing a cat’s quality of life

As much as we might not want them to, fluffy kittens will eventually become grouchy cats. But at what point of their twilight years should you be thinking about letting them be free of their age? We certainly can’t tell you, but a pet that is suffering from a myriad of illnesses is most certainly not having a good time. With extreme age comes kidney problems, joint problems, organ problems and a range of other maladies that will make your pet’s existence torturous. As an owner, you’ll need to be prepared to say enough is enough on their behalf. But how do you rate an elderly cat’s quality of life? Can it be indicative of when to say goodbye? You’ll find all the answers you need below.

BEAM

BEAM is an acronym for Behaviour, Energy, Appetite and Mood and is a good indication of how your cat is feeling overall – seeing as cats love to hide how they’re truly feeling. If your cat is snarky, sleepy, unconcerned by food and is overall a pain to be around, that can be an excellent indication of how their wellbeing; it can also be an indication that there’s some underlying pain or issue causing them grief. On the contrary, a cat that is aloof, energetic, hungry and playful is probably in high spirits and shouldn’t have their life cut short.

The HHHHHMM Scale

Five H’s, 2 M’s – HHHHHMM is another acronym for Hurt, Hunger, Hydration, Hygiene, Happiness, Mobility and More Good Days Than Bad. This scale can give you a better idea of how good your cat’s quality of life really is and, in truth, is very easy to follow. Is your cat in pain? Are they consistently hungry? Are they able to eat and drink properly? Can they clean themselves? Are they generally happy and happily vocal when petted? Can they run, walk, leap and jump? Do the good days you have with them outweigh the bad?

 

 

Rating an elderly cat using the above scale can give you an idea of their quality of life, more-so than using BEAM. For instance, if your cat appears to be in pain, is suffering from a loss of appetite, is refusing clean drinking water from a clean bowl, is unable to clean themselves, is generally grouchy or sulky, is limping or unable to climb as they once did and is experiencing these maladies more often than not, then it’s time to consider letting them be free.

When choosing the long sleep for any pet it’s important to put them first and foremost. It’s their life and the quality of their life that should be your main concern, and that’s hard for a loving owner to do!

Good Advice

Any decision to put a pet under should always be done under the consultation of a Vet. What could be a simple illness may be construed as a sign of your cat’s life winding down, but your trusted Vet will be able to discern one from the other. Regardless, there’s no hiding from the fact that it will be traumatic, but you can take solace in the notion that you’ve done the right thing. To let a pet suffer would hurt more than letting them go; trust us.

Signing off:

Saying goodbye is hard, but we always recommend two things; 1, that you have no regrets with them, and 2, that you give them the send-off that you want. When life returns to normal and all is said and done, having a bespoke token of their memory can make all the difference on days when clouds blot out the Sun.

For more information on our services or to book a viewing of our premises, please click here.

Myths

Whether by the cruel hand of fate or by the universe’s grand design, pets never usually outlive their owners. This leaves many pet-lovers with the weight of knowing that, sooner or later, they must say goodbye for the final time. It doesn’t help that there’s still so much unknown about death, and equally life, but as sure as the Sun comes up each day, grief will affect all of us, but so too will that grief pass — no feeling is forever.

Because so much is left unknown, there are plenty of myths and misconceptions surrounding the departure of a loved pet and how that trauma affects us; even in this day and age. Today, we’ll be dispelling some of them!

There is nothing special about the relationship between animals and humans.

This is simply and unequivocally not true. Your relationship with a pet can be just as special and loving as those you have with any other family member or friend. Loving an animal is different to loving a human, of course, but the bond between pet and owner goes as far back as the discovery of fire.

Losing an animal is less painful and less important than losing a human loved one.

Again, not true. Pain over the loss of a beloved animal is as natural as the pain you would feel over the loss of any person in your life. Pets find their way into every aspect of our daily routine, so it can be even more difficult to cope after losing them.

Having close relationships with animals (and grieving at their loss) is abnormal and unnatural.

No, it really isn’t. Never let anyone influence you to believe that your relationships with animals are wrong or less important than those you have with humans. Sharing your love with an animal teaches us to better love all living things, including humans. Grief is a normal response to losing someone and grief is indifferent to species. Love is love, loss is loss, and pain is, unfortunately, pain. But, as my Grandmother used to say, “time is the healer of all wounds”.

 

 

The death of a pet can be a useful “dress rehearsal” for the real thing, especially for children.

While it’s true that the death of a pet can be a child’s first encounter with loss, it is by no means a ‘dress rehearsal’. Quite suddenly, friendship, companionship, loyalty, support and unconditional love are replaced with overwhelming feelings of loss, confusion, emptiness, fear and grief. For most children, the loss of a family pet is a profoundly painful experience.

Euthanasia is a quick and easy way to get rid of sick, dying, old or unwanted animals.

Deciding when and whether to euthanize a beloved pet is one of the most difficult choices an animal lover will ever have to make. On one hand, you know that choosing to end your animal’s life will intensify your own suffering, yet postponing the decision may prolong your animal’s pain needlessly. At such times it is important to explore all aspects of the decision with your veterinarian and with others you trust, to listen to what your animal may be trying to tell you, and to trust your own intuition.

Conducting rituals, funerals or memorial services for dead animals is a waste of time.

The last one on our list and arguably the biggest myth of all. Whether for animals or for humans, death ceremonies and rituals help us to support one another in grief, acknowledge the important role our loved ones played in our lives, honor the memory of our departed companions and bring meaning to our loss. In short, a memorial or service is a great way of telling your body when to begin healing.

Putting myths and falsehoods to one side… the loss of a beloved pet can be one of the most difficult times in our lives. If someone you know has suffered or is currently suffering the loss of a pet; be there for them, offer them your support or time to talk and make sure they have no regrets with their pet. It can be just as devastating as losing a family member. For more information on the services we provide, click here.

Grief and grieving having lost a pet

There are two sides to owning and caring for a pet. One of them is loss, and loss can take a serious toll on us, especially on the members of our circles that were close to those pets or animal lovers in general. Whether it is a dog or cat, rabbit or hamster, parrot or horse or even a fish; suffering the loss of a pet is a process of grief and hardship, just like any other death.

Healing from a loss is a long road; some days will be harder than others, other days will be total write-offs, and that’s ok. Grief, sadness and pain all take time for the brain to process and for the body to react to and this is no different in the case of a pet’s passing. In the early stages of loss, it is important to take stock, take time and take a break in order for the healing process to truly begin. This is especially pertinent for young adults and animal lovers as choosing to go on without acknowledging a death can have detrimental effects later on in life.

 

 

The course that grief will take is unpredictable and varies from person to person. It could be months of sleepless nights, it could be a loss of appetite, it could be wanting to be alone; it could be a range of different feelings, emotions and reactions, but that’s ok too. To grieve is to be human, and no one can help that. Yet, unlike humans, having a formal ceremony for a pet is seen as outlandish, but any ceremony to remember a pet is a worthwhile one; to remember them for the love they brought into your life, the joy they made you feel and the time you spent together. A ceremony can help you adjust and is the first step towards accepting their death and learning to live without them; to allow grief to run its course is the bravest thing any pet owner can do — after all, what is grief if not love persevering.

At Pawprints, we offer a bespoke, individual service for each owner to grieve, honour and say their last goodbyes to their pets; ending with a range of memorial options that includes headstones, jewellery and plaques. By offering a complete end-of-life service for your pet, you can focus on the emotions of the moment and allow the healing process to begin.

The loss of a beloved pet can be one of the most difficult times in our lives. If someone you know has suffered or is currently suffering the loss of a pet; be there for them, offer them your support or time to talk and make sure they have no regrets with their pet. It can be just as devastating as losing a family member. For more information on the services we provide, click here.

The right time to say goodbye?

It’s sort of an oxymoron, isn’t it? I know from my own experiences that there is no right time to say goodbye, because letting go of those we love is one of the hardest things we’ll ever do. However, there will come a time in every Pet Parent’s life where they’ll need to be cruel in order to be kind; to release a suffering pet to be free from pain and hurt.

Elderly Pets:

As much as we might not want them to, little pups and fluffy kittens will eventually become lazy dogs and grouchy cats. But at what point of their twilight years should you be thinking about letting them be free of their age? We certainly can’t tell you, but a pet that is suffering from a myriad of illnesses is most certainly not having a good time. With extreme age comes kidney problems, joint problems, organ problems and a range of other maladies that will make your pet’s existence torturous. As an owner, you’ll need to be prepared to say enough is enough on their behalf.

Accidents:

Animal attacks, road accidents, human accidents and natural disasters can all affect our pets. If they’re young and healthy enough to recover, they’ll often do so fully with little-to-no side effects. However, a pet that suffers catastrophic injuries might not recover at all. This will be one of these times where, as an owner, you’ll need to decide if your pet’s suffering is something they can bear for your sake. If it’s not, you’ll need to consider letting them be at peace.

 

Lost, Stolen or Missing:

Having a pet taken from you before you’re ready can be an awful experience for any pet owner and can be devastating for children. However, you can still say goodbye for a pet that’s not present — holding a vigil or small memorial ceremony in their stead. Again, no one can say when is the right time to move on, but you yourself will know when that time comes.

How Best To Say Goodbye:

There’s no right or wrong way to say goodbye to your pet. It can be as simple as a small service in memory of them, a garden party celebrating the happy moments from their life or even erecting a plaque or stone in their favourite place.

At Pawprints, we offer a bespoke, individual service for each owner to grieve, honour and say their last goodbyes to their pets; ending with a range of memorial options that includes headstones, jewellery and plaques. By offering a complete end-of-life service for your pet, you can focus on the emotions of the moment and allow the healing process to begin.

Our service is available to all pets and only one pet is ever present when a cremation is taking place; a guarantee and assurance from us that the ashes you receive are your pet’s and your pet’s alone.

To find out more about our services, please contact us directly.

Send off

The loss of a beloved pet, be they large and lean or small and furry, is an experience that every owner is likely to go through at one point or another. Like most periods of loss and bereavement, life stops; it has to, the brain can’t process the finality of death unless it does! However, as final as death may seem, life eventually goes on; this is where healing can truly take place.

Healing from a loss is a long road; some days will be harder than others, other days will be total write-offs, and that’s ok. Take it from experience, though, that this is a time where mementos, memorials and memories can act like stitches; closing those wounds long enough to let them scab.

It’s worth giving some thought to how you plan on sending-off your pet should the day ever come. This sending-off can provide closure to an already final event, giving greater peace to the family who remain. It can also preserve your pet’s memory for future generations to enjoy. Today, we’ll be going over a few different types of send-offs and what you can do to honour your pet’s memory.

Types of send-offs:

Burying is a popular way of putting a flourish on the end of your pet’s life. Unfortunately, this is only available to families that own their own land or home as far as the law is concerned. We’ve often heard of owners wrapping their pet in their favourite blanket or with their favourite toy, ensuring that their pet will be warm once they’re laid to rest. A few words or a small service is normally what follows and some marker or stone is then placed at the head of the grave as a reminder.

Of course, some pet parents don’t have the choice to bury their friend and, while it brings us no joy to say, many owners have no choice but to dispose of their pet’s remains as you would general waste. So, what can they do instead?

Well, one of the many services we offer is bespoke pet cremations. These ceremonies are designed with both owner and pet in mind and can offer a grieving family the opportunity to put a full-stop at the end of their pain, rather than a comma. Only one pet is ever present in our crematoriums during a service, giving you peace of mind that the remains you receive are your pet’s and your pet’s alone.

Once the service has concluded, you will receive your pet’s ashes and be presented with a wide variety of commemorative options, including but not limited to; bespoke jewellery, urns, headstones and plaques. Of course, these memorial tokens are completely optional and you can do whatever you wish with your pet’s remains; by scattering them in their favourite spot or by storing them in your own container. As pioneers in the realm of end-of-life services for beloved pets, it is our commitment to you that during the time we share, you and your pet are our only and top priority.

Signing off:

However you wish to give your pet a final farewell, we always recommend two things; 1, that you have no regrets with them, and 2, that you give them the send-off that you want. When life returns to normal and all is said and done, having a bespoke token of their memory can make all the difference on days when clouds blot out the Sun.

For more information on our services or to book a viewing of our premises, please click here.

 

Talking to your Child About Death

There comes a time in every owner’s life where a hard decision will need to be made. Pets, unfortunately, aren’t built to last as long as us and, towards the end of their lives, they’ll depend on us to make that hard choice. But, how do you explain this to your son or daughter?

 

Children, as we’re sure you’re well aware, can become very attached to family pets and explaining this delicate topic to them is, in and of itself, a difficult thing to do. As a parent, it’s important that this conversation, firstly, takes place and, secondly, that it is handled correctly. Take it from us; the one thing we remember about the passing of our first pet is how our parents handled the conversation around it!

 

To start, it’s important to phrase this discussion using terms that your youngling can understand. The conversation you have with your thirteen year old will be much different to the one you would have with a seven year old, for example. Try to avoid using euphemisms such as “sleep” and “rest” as this can have adverse effects on your child, leading them to be fearful of procedures which require anaesthesia in the future. If your pet is sick or old, it’s best to have this discussion before they depart. Allow your child to decide the flow of the conversation while answering their questions as easily as possible. Contrary to popular belief, if you don’t know the answer to their questions, say so – death is a mystery that no one can answer.

 

 

For any parent who has a child dealing with the loss of a beloved pet, it is vital that they are given time to process the ordeal and plenty of opportunities to talk about their feelings; perhaps how this miss their friend, or how they cannot stop thinking of them. It is completely normal and healthy for them to express grief in a variety of ways and it is up to you, as a parent, to listen to your child, reassure them and comfort them. Helping your child to properly express grief and loss is a necessary life lesson that will prepare them for hardships later on.

 

Euthanising a pet is hard. It takes courage but also a lot of love for your pet, to be able to put them before yourself and your children and how much you want them to still be a part of their lives. However, a symbolic gesture such as burial or cremation can help a child put a full-stop under this period of grief and give closure to the whole affair. This symbolic gesture can be anything that your child wants it to be, but ideas should be suggested to them; perhaps they’d like them to be cremated and for their ashes to be scattered, or maybe for them to be buried with their favourite toy. The important thing is to provide guidance to your child, while using a balanced hand to be realistic about the situation. Sometimes one must be cruel to be kind, as the saying goes, but the time your child and their furry-friend spent together will always stay with them – reminding them of this can be a nice footnote to any hard talk you have with them.

 

Explaining and getting through the loss of a family pet is a herculean task, but friends and family are always there for us and our children; as crutches to help us walk, as casts to help us heal. If your child is going through the loss of a beloved pet, it’s vital that you are prepared as a family and available for them to speak with – having their favourite Aunt, Uncle or Cousin on standby can make the world of difference in the eyes of a child.

 

If you require any advice on the services we offer or how to deal with grief and loss for all ages, click here.