What To Do When Your Dog Dies
Yesterday I put down my 11-year-old Doberman. Her legs were failing her so badly that she could no longer walk without falling down.
I feel awful, but I know it was the right thing to do. And, as time goes by, I know my heartache will hurt less and less. Time heals wounds they say. But now that she’s gone, every time I see something that reminds me of her, my eyes well up with tears. I haven’t felt this sad in a long time.
I’m now undecided if I should throw out her favorite toys, and any reminders of her. I knew I didn’t want her cremation remains since it’s not comforting to me to have them in my home. I want my dog back alive, not her dead body’s ashes. But I am thinking that maybe I should make a shadow box display, like the one above. Right after the death of a pet it might just be a painful reminder of my friend. But with time, I think it will be a nice way to honor the memory of my friend.
How To Cope With The Death
People process grief differently. What helps one person might not help another. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. Here are some things that might help you heal and remember the memory of your dog.
- Use grief counselors, pet loss hotlines, and support groups. There are lots of local or online support groups to help you talk through your pain. My article on Doberman cancer has lots of comments. I believe sharing experiences helps support each other.
- Write a goodbye letter or poem to your dog. You can share a favorite memory, show gratitude, apologize for something if you feel guilt, what you loved about their appearance, how they changed your life, or just write about how you’re feeling at this moment.
- Make a scrapbook. This might be a great option for children coping with the loss of their dog
- Hold a “Remembering Fido” party or funeral ceremony. I think this would be especially nice if your dog was known to many people in the community, like a popular service dog.
- Make a special memorial under a tree or special spot in the backyard.
- Get an original piece of artwork made of your dog. Find an artist who’s work you love and commission them to paint or draw a favorite photograph of your dog.
- Volunteer at an animal rescue. This might be a great idea or a terrible idea after losing your dog. You’ll want to honestly consider whether this will help or hurt you more.
- Make a shadow box memory display. Include their collar, name tag, favorite toy, photo, something funny they destroyed, etc.
- Your idea?
Lastly, I want to end this post with a positive quote. 🙂
Don’t cry because it’s over.
Smile, because it happened.
How do you handle your pet’s death? Do you honor your dog in any special way?