A few years ago, I got a dog. I adopted a senior dog, because–as a college student–I didn’t know if I wanted to commit to having a dog for another decade or more. I’m starting to regret that now. I’ll never regret getting the dog I got–he’s amazing–but I wish I had more time with him. And while I have the time in my schedule to care for him, it’s tough to watch him grow older and have to decide when it’s time to say goodbye. I’m afraid that time may be approaching, but I don’t know how to handle that. How do I know when it’s time? And when it is time, what do I do–who do I turn to for burial services or whatever they do with dogs? Please help!
You decision to adopt a senior dog has led to a tough moment relatively early in your time with your companion, but it was a commendable decision that helped save your dog from a life in an animal shelter (or worse). Studies show that senior dogs have it roughest in shelters, as many would-be adoptive owners turn to younger pups instead. You’ve made your dog’s life much better in his later years, and you’ve no doubt received a lot in return. Dogs make us happier and healthier in measurable ways, studies have proven, and you seem to feel strongly about the value of your time with your dog.
But while those facts can provide a comfort right now, there’s no denying that you’re facing a tough decision. Nobody wants to put down their dog, but when a dog’s quality of life has deteriorated enough, experts generally agree that it’s crueler to avoid the tough task. If you’re having trouble making the call, consider discussing the matter with your vet. Filling out a quality of life test (many helpful versions are found online) may also help give you a more objective look at your situation. With the support of a vet or a clear answer from a test, some of the pressure and pain will be lifted from you.
If you do decide it’s time, you’ll turn to a vet to handle the job. You can even have a vet come to your home or another space to make the event less stressful for your dog. Your vet will also counsel you about how to handle your pet’s remains. Cremation is a very popular choice, say providers of pet cremation in Charlotte, North Carolina. From there, you can choose to bury, scatter, or keep the ashes.
It’s never easy to say goodbye to a beloved pet, but you should know that you have support systems you can lean on. Don’t be afraid to reach out to a therapist or take advantage of on-campus counseling resources during this difficult time.
“A dog is the only thing on Earth that loves you more than you love yourself.” –Josh Billings