Death is a part of our lives at Cherished Pets. And we’re ok with that. It is actually a part of our purpose to support pets and people through end of life.
Through our end of pet life service we provide home based guidance and care to people whose pets are in their final life phases. Whether it be a terminal illness or disorders of old age, our quality of life assessments enable us to create dedicated home based pet care plans to ensure pets are comfortable and pain free through these final days, weeks and months. We offer home hospice pet care and help people prepare for a pet’s passing. Then when the time comes, our dedicated compassionate home euthanasia service ensures pets leave this world in the way they deserve: peacefully, pain-free, in the comfort of their home and surrounded by their loved ones.
Through our dedicated service to support elderly pet owners, we are also dealing with the death of our beloved clients. Pets facilitate connection and interaction, and we often have deep conversations with our clients around their own mortality and plans for dying. Through our signature service we incorporate emergency care planning to provide peace of mind to our clients that in the event of the owner passing away, their cherished pet will be loved and looked after for the term of his/her natural life.
Attending funerals is common for the members of our CP team, and an important part of our honouring the love and loss of our dear clients. It is amazing how often pets feature in eulogies and photo displays. Pets are an integral part of people’s lives, and it is often in the event of a person’s death that the enormous importance of a cherished pet is shared. We also offer to bring cherished pets to their person’s funeral, an offer that is often accepted.
Mrs B, pictured here with her cherished dog Ricky, is a story that is particularly special to me. We met Ricky several months ago when Cherished Pets was called upon to provide emergency respite care while Mrs B recovered from illness in hospital. Through our comprehensive home pet care service we were able to coordinate and manage his care, during times of Mrs B’s absence, and then, when she returned home, we visited regularly. Sadly, Ricky’s health was also compromised from congestive heart failure, and again we supported Mrs B in caring for Ricky through this time. Eventually Ricky’s condition worsened and the decision was made to euthanase him. For me, this was a huge moment. Sitting down with Mrs B, I held her hand and sensitively explained to her that Ricky was dying. What unfolded was a profound and heartfelt conversation between us around our own fears and acceptance of death, and our feelings around burial and cremation. I will never forget the enormity of the words we shared and it was an unforgettable moment of connection that I felt privileged to share.
Ricky was euthanased soon after and, in accordance with Mrs B’s wishes, we arranged for a private burial beneath a tree on a rural property. Within a few weeks, Mrs B also passed away and we attended her funeral, hearing the wonderful stories of her incredible and full life.
Mrs B was a very strong and proud woman who had lived an incredible life and was supported by a close and loving family. When I first met her I sensed that she was not sure about me, and I know it took a while for me to gain her trust. However once you had earned that, she was loyal for life. My last conversation with Mrs B was on the day Ricky died. As I left her final words to me were, “Thank you Alicia for taking care of Ricky. I will miss your visits. I have grown very fond of you.” It is really really hard to lose special pets and people, such as Mrs B and Ricky, and each one of them finds a forever place in our hearts. Knowing that we bring comfort and love during these life phases provides the solace we need to enable us to continue our very special work.