“What we have once enjoyed and deeply loved, we can never lose. All that we deeply love stays part of us.”
~ Helen Keller
Threshold Ceremony and Support
One of the most challenging decisions you may confront as an animal’s guardian is if you will allow a veterinarian to assist in your beloved pet’s death.
The euthanasia procedure has been available for decades in veterinary practice as a compassionate method to end an animal’s terminal disease, debilitating illness or suffering; literally, the term euthanasia means “good death.”
However, making that ultimate decision for your pet almost always involves navigating a spectrum of intense emotions that often include denial, anger, profound sadness and guilt.
Unsettling religious and/or ethical dilemmas, too, can arise. It may feel as heart-wrenching for you to make this choice on your animal’s behalf as it would for a human member of your family.
Having good and complete information about the euthanasia procedure—what it is, how it is performed, why it is a sound medical option in your pet’s case, and so forth—is very important for your decision-making. Emotional support is equally important, so you can begin to process your loss in advance and prepare for your life without your treasured friend.
Support for Pet Loss
As a Pet Ceremony Specialist, and as a pet parent, former caretaker of wildlife and someone who actively rescues and care-takes feral cats in New York City, I have experienced the death of many animals of many species—natural, tragic and gently aided included.
Drawing on my personal experiences of bereavement and gradual healing and my training, I am available to assist you now with a gentle witnessing presence and a simple ceremony as your pet is compassionately assisted by your veterinary professional to transition beyond suffering.
I can also support you to anticipate, accept as normal, and work with the myriad of powerful emotions that commonly arise before, during and after the medical procedure.
Contents of a Euthanasia Ceremony
A Threshold Ceremony that I would custom-create to reflect your loving bond with your animal, and your needs, beliefs and values might include these elements:
Short ritual to invite loving and positive energy into the space
Blessing your pet before their journey
Words of love and parting
Closing words, poem or prayer after the procedure
Private time for you and your family with your pet after their transformation
Practical and Emotional Assistance
Additionally, I would offer to include the following support services:
A preliminary conversation with your veterinarian
Emotional support and comfort for you surrounding the appointment
Taking last photographs of you and your pet together, if you desire
Helping you to address practicalities (your payment for veterinary services, cremation decisions, etc.)
Assisting you to get home, if needed
Checking in with you the following day, and longer if you choose
Reminding you to derive comfort and support from healthy, positive self-care practices (meditation, prayer, talking with friends, etc.)
Providing referrals to pet loss support groups and professional counselors, local grief groups, websites, etc.
The Grieving Process
Every person is unique, and there are many variables that affect how a person will process the death of a pet and pass through the stages of grief. It isn’t melodramatic to write here that you may feel as if you’ve lost a significant piece of your heart—and life.
Your identity, sense of family, and daily routines have all been shaped by the deep bond you share with your pet, and it is healthy (and normal) for you to express your feelings and mourn the loss of these things too.
If I can assist you and your animal at this difficult time with a Threshold Euthanasia Ceremony, plus caring personal assistance and/or professional referrals,