How Do I Prepare for My Pet Passing?

How Do I Prepare for My Pet Passing?


Liana: Hello, everybody. This is Liana with Wet Noses Pet Sitting,
and we are a pet sitting and dog walking company here in Northern Colorado, and thank for joining
us today. So, as part of our pet tips series, we are
here talking to Claire with the Pet Honor Society today. I’m so thankful that you’re able to join
me. Claire: I am very excited to join you. Liana: So, can you tell me a little bit about
what you do? Claire: I am certified in pet loss and grief
companioning, so I kind of help people through the senior stages into end of life, into grief
support and that whole process. It’s a very tough process and there isn’t
a lot of people out there that assist through that, and so I wanted to fill that void. Liana: And, this is great. This is very unique. I have not met anybody else that does what
you are doing, so this is fantastic. Claire: We’re a new breed. Liana: It’s wonderful, and greatly needed,
I think. I mean, I think that this –
Claire: I agree. Liana: This is really awesome. So, the question is, what is the one thing
that you believe that all pet owners should know? Claire: The one thing that I believe all pet
owners should show is that you should know your options in advance so that you are able
to make a good decision instead of making hasty decisions in the midst of your grief
because those are never the best kind. I believe that knowledge is power and the
more you know, the better prepared you are, the better decisions, the easier the flow
is going to go in a very traumatizing time for you. So, one of the things is, what would you like
your pets passing to look like? That’s a good question to just start yourself
thinking about. Do you want to go with – well, everybody
wants them to go with just passing peacefully in their sleep, and for humans and pets alike,
it doesn’t always work that way and most times, it doesn’t. So, what are the other alternatives? You can go for a natural death and so you
need to kind of think about your options with that. Do you have the ability to care for those
pets at home? Do you need to bring somebody in, like you
– you do some of the work? Liana: Which we do a lot of that, yes. Claire: What is the stress on your family
going to be like? Is this going to be a prolonged period of
illness? Is it going to happen quickly? You need to kind of know those options. Are you going to be able to manage your pet’s
pain if they are in pain? Are you comfortable giving injections? Do you need home hospice to come in assist
you with those types of things just to keep your pet comfortable in their final days? So, those are some of the natural death options
you need to think about. There’s also the euthanasia end. One of the toughest thing people say is, “How
do I know it’s time?” Well, some people say like, “Your pet will
let you know,” but what if your pet doesn’t let you know? There’s things called quality of life scales
that are available. I have one in front of me now. It’s just a simple calendar and maybe each
family member, maybe the ones that spend the most time with the pet, put a smiley face
or a frown face on the calendar each day, and at the end of the month, you add up – how
many smiles do I have, how many frowns I have? Are the good days outweighing the bad days? Liana: That’s an amazing idea. Claire: That is an amazing idea, so that is
one option, and then another option is actually a scoring tool. This is put out by Lap of Love and it asks
questions like, is my pet drinking? Is my pet eating? Is my pet in pain? Is my pet having mobility issues? Is my pet still interested in playing with
their toys? Are they hiding from us because they don’t
feel good? Are they snapping at us because they don’t
feel good? Do they still want to go for walks or rides
in the car, or do any of the things that they like to do? And depending on how they score on that, if
they score really low, you’re probably in a good place so far. Don’t consider euthanasia at that point. If they score in the middle, it might be sometime
for some medical intervention like pain management, like hospice. It’s kind of questionable but consult with
your veterinarian, see what are the things we can do to help out buy us a little bit
more time. Liana: So, you can walk people through these
types of things so that they aren’t doing this alone. Claire: Absolutely, yes. Absolutely, we can talk about it, we can consult
with it, and then if they are scoring really high on the scale, their quality of life is
a definite concern, and this is the time that you need to start preparing yourself emotionally,
financially. We are coming there, definitely now, how is
this going to look? So then, when the natural death or the euthanasia
occurs, what do you want to do for body care for your animal? You want to do something respectful. There are burial options in Northern Colorado
that I never knew about. A lot of vets just say, do you want your pet
cremated? Do you want ashes back? Do you want a paw print? Liana: Yeah, those are the standard questions. Claire: That’s no burial, but you can do
that. In some places, there are laws that have to
be followed. You have cremation also, there is flame cremation
which is traditional cremation, we have two crematories here in Northern Colorado, and
then there’s aquamation which is a new type of cremation. It’s not based on flames. It’s water-based, so it’s an accelerated
natural decomposition of the body and it leaves a lesser footprint on the environment is how
it is advertised to be, so those who are environmentally conscious can go that route, and you do get
about 20% more ashes back with that method. So, those are some of the things. When you do go with cremation, you want to
be sure, there’s the three types: you can have private, you can have partitioned, or
you can have communal. Liana: Okay, so you can walk people through
all those options, and so that’s something they should know in advance because after
you have euthanized your pet, you’re not going to be wanting to be thinking about all
these different options and making sure you have the right choice or the right facility. Claire: Correct. You just want to implement the plan. Liana: Yes. Yes, hard enough day as it is without having
to think about all those things. Claire: Absolutely. So then, there are things like keepsakes that
we have behind us. Did you want to get your pet a nice engraved
urn? Did you want to get glass cremation art which
is here over your head that uses about a tablespoon of your pet’s ashes and it gets incorporated
into a custom-made piece of glass which is great? There’s 3-D laser crystals which you can
take your favorite photo and have that engraved into a laser crystal. These are crystal and there’s a light base
on there which makes it nice, or just a host of other types of memorial items that you
can do. And then, the last piece is going to be grief
support. Do you have a support system? A lot of times, the death of a pet is not
recognized as much as the death of a human. Somebody else say, “Hey, your pet died three
days ago. Why are you still crying? Get over it.” You know what, sometimes, the death of a pet
is harder than the death of a human being. These little guys are dependent on us for
their every single need and that leaves a big gaping hole in our lives. This is going to rock our world, and how do
we get through that? So, I offer grief support on a short-term
basis and a lot of times, just acknowledgment that your feelings are legitimate, they are
normal, they are real. It’s like any other death you’re going
to encounter: it’s going to take time. You have to do the morning work to get over
things, there are a bunch of online support groups now, like if you go on Facebook and
just Google ‘pet loss support,’ it will come up with a bunch of groups and those are
very supportive there, and then there’s two books that I like. One is by Dr. Alan Wolfelt, it’s called
When Your Pet Dies: A Guide to Mourning, Remembering, and Healing, and this is a great book. Liana: That’s a fantastic book. Claire: And, Dr. Wolfelt is right here in
Fort Collins, Colorado. He has the Center for Loss and Life Transition. He is like the master in grief, both human,
pets, anything. So, if you read anything by him, it will help
you. Liana: It’s amazing. Claire: And then also, the woman who trained
me is Colleen Elis, and she has a book called Pet Parents, and it says A Journey Through
Unconditional Love and Grief. So, this is another good resource and she
was trained by him, so either one of these books. You kind of get him in different ways. So, there’s just so many different options
and people don’t know what these options are, so I’m out here trying to educate people
on what they are, how they implement them, how to make the right choices, and… Liana: That key is just following or learning
in advance and figuring out exactly what you need to know before you really need to use
it. Claire: The key to it all is knowledge is
power, just know your options. It is not a subject that anybody ever wants
to think about nor talk about, or experience, yet if you have pets, likely, you will go
through this multiple times in your life. Liana: Unfortunately. Claire: So, you may as well have the information
that you need in order to help you and your pets through it the easiest way possible. Liana: Definitely. Well, that’s wonderful. Thank you for all the information. Claire: You’re very welcome. Liana: So, if people want to find out about
you, how can they either reach you or find out more? Claire: My name is Claire Preston. My phone number is 970317320. You can text me or call me on that, that is
my cell. I have a website that’s at www.pethonorsociety.com,
or my email address is [email protected], or I have a Facebook page for Pet Honor Society. Liana: Wonderful, and these will all be in
the notes below, so that is wonderful information. So, thank you again for joining us. Claire: Thank you for having me. Liana: Absolutely. So, thank you, guys, for watching. If you want to see more stuff like this, definitely
follow us or like this and you can see more information as we go through our series, and
there are information in the comments and stuff below so definitely take a look at that. Thanks, guys.

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