The most challenging aspect of caring for our dogs comes when we must begin to let them go. Nothing demands more of us as caretakers than when the end of our beloved friend's time as a physical presence in our lives draws near, and we realize we must move beyond our own wish to have her close to us forever, and honor her need to make the transition toward death.
As you approach the end of your dog's life, there are many decisions to be made regarding how best to support her as you honor your own needs, with consideration for physical, emotional, as well as spiritual concerns. Healing foods, homeopathic remedies, massage, reiki, herbs and other therapies can provide medicine to ease her through her last days. You'll draw on the strength of you emotional relationship to find love and beauty even in the most trying times.
The realization that your dog is near death may come abruptly and undeniably, in the form of a critical injury or an acute, untreatable illness. Or maybe you've been treating your friend for a slow-growing cancer or a chronic hart problem, and suddenly it appears she is no longer responding to treatment.
As her guardian, you will be faced with many decisions, among them whether to continue to administer treatments, perhaps invasive ones, or allow your dog to die. What seems like an impossible choice can be made a little easier if you begin by gathering all the facts available to you, and then employ your personal resources, most of all, your knowledge of you dog's physical and emotional strengths and your commitment to her best interest, trusting your own wisdom and compassion to guide you.
Additional Pet Loss Information is below. Also see our Resources Page
for counseling services and support groups.
References and recommended reading:
Alegretti, Jan. The Complete Holistic Dog Book. New York. Celestial Arts 2003
Reynolds, Rita. Blessing the bridge: What Animals Teach Us About Death, Dying and Beyond: Troutdale. NewSage Press, 2001
Pasik, Patrick. Conversations wit My Old Dog: For Anyone Who Has Lost and Loved a Pet. Hazelden Transitions, 2000
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