How to recover from loss of a pet

Vet Savers, Spalding. Staff with bulldog mugs
Vet Savers, Spalding. Staff with bulldog mugs

None of the staff at Vetsavers will forget Charlie the bulldog, pictured here. He was a huge character and one of our first VIP dogs who, sadly, died at a very young age.

None of the staff at Vetsavers will forget Charlie the bulldog, pictured here. He was a huge character and one of our first VIP dogs who, sadly, died at a very young age.

When he died his owner had three mugs made for us with his picture on, so we drink to his memory every day.

Losing a much-loved pet – whether it’s a cat, dog, rabbit or other species – is heartbreaking.

There are many levels of grief, of which anticipated loss is the greatest.

Anticipated loss is when you know that the inevitable is coming, you have done all you can for your pet, but their quality of life is no more and the vet has done all that he can.

That’s the time to let them go. You can feel a mixture of emotions from denial, anxiety, guilt, even depression, but you must remember that you have done all you can.

There is also the unexpected loss – for example a road accident. This can be very hard to deal with.

You may think that you are being irrational feeling any of the above emotions, but all of them are perfectly natural.

It’s the oldest saying in the book, but the truest – time heals and you will start to feel better.

The main thing is not to stop talking about your friend – the time you first brought them home, the first thing they did to make you laugh...

At the time of saying goodbye, undoubtedly you will have said at the vets: “Never again, I can’t put myself through that again.”

But then you find yourself looking at the small ads of furry friends who are looking for forever homes.

It’s what has made you the wonderful person you are:

* Caring.

* Attentive to your pets needs.

* Devoted to giving your pets a wonderful life.

There are many animals out there in need of a great loving home and when the time is right it will present itself.

Anyone needing professional help coping with the grief of losing a pet can contact the team at Vetsavers for help.

This week’s question comes from John Holmes of Pinchbeck.

QUESTION

My dog Betsy, now eight months old, keeps catching her dew claws on the carpet and her bedding. A friend said they can be removed. Is this an easy operation?

ANSWER

Yes, but like any surgical procedure that involves a general anaesthetic it comes with risks.

Whilst these are minimal, they are still present. Our vet would recommend having a small blood sample taken to make sure organs that metabolise the drugs, ie the liver and kidneys, are working properly to minimise the risk.