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Guilt-ridden about Your Decision to Euthanize?

Since writing about the question, “When is it time to assist your pet with their transition?” I was asked to share more for those pet parents who still feel guilty or wonder if they somehow let their fur baby down.

It's a heart-breaking decision for pet parents.

Even after making the decision to assist, some pet parents have shared with me that they still wondered if they had done everything they could for their pet or if somehow they left some stone unturned. The second guessing and feelings of guilt weigh heavy in their hearts.

Dear pet parents who struggle with these feelings…I understand, hear you and hold space for you. Your feelings are valid! I acknowledge you for the courage it took to consider your furry baby and through love and compassion, ultimately do what you felt was best for them.

It is my belief that there is no right or wrong…only choices. The two of you had a contract and agreement to journey together and learn from one another. Sometimes the teaching and learning was easy and sometimes it was very uncomfortable.

I invite you to stop and reflect on the time you had with your furry loved one...

What are the things your pet taught you?

Did your pet teach you to play, to have more patience, to rest more, that it’s possible to smile even when feeling sad or depressed, to open yourself to love, or that it’s okay to get close and cozy? What was it for you and your pet?

What did your furry one learn from you?

Was it that they can count on others? Did they get to learn that they don’t have to be scared (of humans, loud sounds, etc.)? Or perhaps they learned they are worthy of being loved and are important? That they deserve respect?

Whatever you learned from or have taught your furry companion was all part of the sacred and Divine agreement between you. It is part of the purpose and why you came together in the first place.

To continue, I also believe there is no such thing as assisting your pet before they are ready. If your pet wasn’t ready something would have happened to keep you from taking and assisting them at that time.

And…it also doesn’t take away the sadness and pain (and perhaps guilt) that can be part of the grieving process. Grieve! Please grieve! Feel everything you are feeling! This is a healthy part of the process!

I’m about to share a story with you that’s been tough for me to share up to this point. Even though this happened so long ago, I still feel vulnerable.

Long before I knew all the things I know now, my husband and I discovered that our dog Pax (the dog who cured me of my fear of dogs and also inspired me to become an animal communicator) was having difficulty eating. We discovered a tumor in his throat and healed it using energy work, but Pax’s vitality wasn’t improving and he became weaker. I began giving him water with “good stuff” in it from a spoon. As I did, I felt so much love for Pax and felt honored to do this for one I loved so much. I hoped this would lead to his returned health. We ended up taking him to the vet who said the next time he saw Pax would be to “put him to sleep.” I was sad and devastated.

Pax was my first dog. None of my previous small pets went through an illness…I simply discovered them in their cage after they died. Euthanasia was something completely foreign to me and at that time in my life I couldn’t fathom doing that to Pax. I had no sense it was anything beyond a soft form of killing (that I didn’t judge others for, but didn’t feel I could do myself).

Pax continued to get weaker rather than better. One morning my husband and I left for work and unbeknownst to either of us we’d each talked with Pax and let him know it was okay to go if he was ready. When we returned home Pax had made his transition on his own.

What about this story is relevant for pet parents who second guess or feel guilty? When I saw Pax’s lifeless body, simultaneously I was overcome with a mixture of sadness, gratitude and guilt. I was sad that Pax was gone. I was immensely grateful to and for Pax because I felt he knew I wasn’t strong enough to assist him so he went naturally to relieve me of the need to take him. I felt guilty because I didn’t know if he suffered more as a result of my weakness.

To help work through my feelings, I chose to focus on what the process taught me. Through Pax’s love and patience with me, I got to see how much I loved him, that I could nurse and nurture another being fully (without it feeling like a burden). I also spent quality time talking to him and thanking him for all he’d brought to my life. Most of all through this process, Pax taught me what it’s like to be loved unconditionally.

Since that time I have learned so much and now understand that to euthanize is a gift we give our pets. It is borne from compassion, love and intending to do what is in the highest and best good for our animal companion. It’s a beautiful gift!

I encourage you to give yourself the gift of seeing the love you are to your pet and that they know your decision was perfect and at the right time!

If you’d like to connect with your animal companions (deceased or still in their physical bodies) to hear what they have to say about the decision, or any other questions you have for them, feel free to schedule a Fur Baby Speaks experience!


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