One of the most important facets of having end-of-life care happen outside of the veterinary office, for me, is the ability to make that passing special for both the pet and the family. Ritual and ceremony are incredibly important to us, and creating a personal, unique event to honor the passing of a family member can be both a comfort and a cultural touchstone.
Often, people aren’t sure quite how to do this for a belovet pet – our culture doesn’t have a framework for the passing of a pet, as it does for other humans. There are so many ways to create something unique to yourself and your family, though. Sometimes this can be as simple as reading a favorite poem or saying a prayer; other times I’ve attended parties or sat in as families shared honored memories at a passing. Recently I was honored to be present at one of the most beautiful passings I’ve ever attended, though, and I’m going to share her story there for anyone wondering how to create a special last day and farewell.