Losing Our Pets
Whether it’s due to terminal illness or a tragic accident, saying goodbye to our beloved pets can be an overwhelmingly-difficult decision for pet parents. It’s not a fun topic to discuss, but we want you to have all the information you need to make informed decisions.
The staff at Manchaca Village Veterinary Care are here for you every step of the way. We too go through these sad stages. When we do experience these situations, there are two main points being considered: Our pet’s quality of life, and the knowledge that this is a natural process and sharing our lives with our furry family members was worth every minute.
If you have reason to believe that your pet is ready for euthanasia, we will patiently take the time to listen, evaluate the pet’s condition, and offer you all the options available to you, with the animal’s quality of life being the top consideration.
Below, please find a summary of common pet end-of-life resources to think about.
Should you and your veterinarian make the decision to proceed with euthanasia, rest assured we will hold your hand throughout the process. Whether or not to witness the procedure is a highly personal one. Some people prefer not to be present, as they have a hard time handling the the reality of it. Others feel it’s the ultimate gesture of love and support as their pet passes on. If you fall in the latter group, our staff will set you and your pet up in a room to spend private time together. Family members are always welcome.
Your pet will be given a sedative so he is not anxious. Once you are ready, we will give your pet an induction agent that will let him fall gracefully asleep, followed by the euthanasia solution–essentially an overdose of anesthesia–which slows down the body and eliminates pain. This whole process is a calm, silent and painless affair. Your pet’s bodily functions slow to a stop as he goes quietly off to sleep.
Some people take some time to be alone with their pet. After you have said your goodbyes, we will gladly walk you out the side door into the parking lot if you prefer not to be in public, as we understand that this process is a very private and emotional experience.
At some point, you will need to make final arrangements for your pet. MVVC plays an active role in this process, as the crematory will come directly to the hospital to pick up your pet.
MVVC works closely with local crematorium Rainbow Bridge to assure your beloved pet is handled with care and all your wishes are met. They gently retrieve your pet’s remains from MVVC, and bring back your pet’s ashes (if you choose) along with documentation. MVVC will pass on the crematory’s costs directly to you, as there is never any markup.
Crematories offer several forms of cremation, including communal and individual cremation, as well as cemetery burials. For individual cremations, you will be provided with your pet’s ashes (in an urn). Please click here if you would like to see all the options Rainbow Bridge offers.
While not as popular an option as cremation, some pet owners do prefer to bury their pet in their yard or other special location. Home burial is typically permitted in local and suburban settings, but you should check with your local government ordinances if you are unsure. A tight-fitting wooden box will help protect your pet’s remains.
Coping with Loss
Grieving over the loss of a pet is a very real and natural process. Other emotions that follow this loss are often denial, anger, and profound sadness. Don’t let anyone tell you it’s silly or unreasonable to be grieving over your pet! During the years you spent with your pet–even if they were few–he or she became a significant part of your life. Your pet was a constant source of unconditional love, support and joy! Your feelings are real and valid. You are NOT alone–millions of pet parents before you have experienced the same thing.
Talking about your feelings, along with the passage of time, are your allies. If you have family or friends who love pets, they will understand. Find someone you feel comfortable crying and grieving with. Grief counseling or support groups are other valid sources of healing.
“Pet Estate Planning” Checklist
“When I helped my grandmother sort through all her stuff, it was not easy. One of the hardest parts was making sure that all of her belongings, as well as her adorable dog, were taken care of when it was time for her to go.” This is a common dilemma and there are ways to avoid this painful realization.
Alejandra Roca offers a smart guide on how to plan for your pet called “The Pet Estate Plan.” Did you know that about 65% of households in the US include one or more pets? This guide covers all the bases including: What will happen to our pets when you die, Pets in wills, How to choose the right caregiver, and How much money you should set aside.
As a pet owner, you form bonds with a dog or cat that are truly unique–as are the genes that made your pet different from any other. Companies such as ViaGen Pets specialize in the storage and preservation of your pets’ DNA, offering the option of creating a genetic twin to the pet you lost. Cloned puppies or kittens are born naturally via surrogate mothers. To qualify for such a service, you would submit a small tissue sample while your pet is alive. Earlier in life is always best, but this topic typically comes up towards the end of a pet’s life. We would be happy to refer you to Viagen if there’s interest in this.
Should I get a new pet right away?
Everybody’s life circumstances are different, so the best answer to this question is, “when you are ready.” Generally speaking, one needs time to work through the grieving process before they can devote their feelings to a new pet. As time passes, the distress dissipates as the pet parent recalls the good memories over the pet’s passing. In that stage, it is a good time to consider a new companion–one which you can build a loving relationship with, because this is what having a pet is all about.