A deep dark shadow comes over you and you don’t know where to go. That’s the feeling you get when you know the end is near and you have no control. Looking into the eyes of the Emergency Veterinarian that’s exactly how I felt the night I lost Chance; it left a huge hole in my heart. There were so many things we were still going to do. He was suppose to become a grumpy old man, not be leaving at the early age of about 9, I’m not sure, I think he was about a year old when he came to live with me.
Pet bereavement has come a long way regarding services and the way dealing with the death of a pet is viewed. My focus is on dogs but anyone that has loved a pet, from turtle to horse, will be able to draw on what I’ve found.
The night I lost Chance I put his collar and tags on my rearview mirror and they have been there ever since. I have them with me in my van, as well as his ashes, and the ceramic paw print I had done. I wanted him along on this journey. No one wants to profit from pet loss but it is comforting to know that there are options that didn’t use to be available.
Years ago, when our companions were simply farm dogs, there wasn’t always the money or the option for anything but Euthanasia. Many Veterinarians have adapted their clinics to include special rooms for euthanasia and dealing with the death of a treasured companion. They schedule appointments for end of day when no other clients are there to give you the privacy and respect you need for your last goodbye. Some Veterinarians have taken it one step further and will come to your home to perform the procedure in a place where your companion won’t be afraid. Other Veterinarians have started offering Geriatric and Palliative care. For clients that know there is no treatment but want their companion to go naturally but humanely. Dr Kathlen Goldberg,DVM has established her practice around end of life care. Her clinic, Whole Animal Vet, in New York, Dr Goldberg has specialized in helping her clients get through this tough period in their lives.
Dealing with the loss of a pet is something that I will cover in another post. I want to concentrate on how we, as business people, embrace the bond and preserve it.
Sometimes you see it in the movies as a joke; but, it’s very real to many grieving Pet Guardians, Pet Memorials. The need to have a way to put closure to their loss is now an option at many pet cemeteries. Recently while in New Orleans I came across a company that offers just that. There amongst the history of Lake Lawn cemetery in Metairie,is Heavens Pets . With its above ground tombs dating back hundreds of years, now has a Pet Cemetery that offers the same tribute to your pet. They offer private cremation and a tomb to encase your companion in forever to be remembered. They have a wide selection of urns for you to choose from, wether you choose to entomb them or put it or display on your mantle.
Just like no one wants to plan their own funeral no one wants to think of the day when their companion won’t be with them. Unfortunately it is a likely position you will encounter if you have a pet. There are things you can do now, to better prepare you for when that time comes.
Taking paw and nose imprints when your companion is healthy and having them made into clay moulds. One company I came across offers just paw mould, take a look at Tin Can Pets . A Jeweller, Infinity Diamond, you can have a diamond created with hair from your companion or an image emblazed onto a diamond to have forever.
When my grandfather past away the funeral home asked us to create a picture board of family and friends to display at the entrance to the viewing room. This gave everyone a chance to get together and reminisce about old times and laugh and cry and grieve. This can also be done for you companion. At a Pet store in North Dakota, the owner had created a shadow box, and hung it her wall, of her beloved pet she had recently lost.
Make donations to charities in your pets name. Most rescues will send out a notice to you when someone donates in your companions name.
Purchase bricks on a walkway. Guide dogs for blind in Ottawa, ON has a Founders path and garden.
Online obituaries are another way to make the grieving process easier and share with loved ones.
As small Business owners these products can be added to our stores and salons as an add on service that clients can take advantage of before their companion become ill. It’ll make it easier for everyone involved and clients won’t feel like you are catching them when they’re vulnerable. Respect that the bond between a human and a pet is very real and strong.
What does your business do to honour the Human/animal bond?