Compelling reasons to change how we do pet end of life
Updated: Sep 29
One of the questions I am most frequently asked is Why are you a death Doula for pets as well as people? My answer is invariably: Because I love animals! So for me, providing support for owners, better enabling a pet to die with the person or people that are most important to them right there - is a no-brainer. This is particuarly the case when we have a vet provide assisted dying, and it can be incredibly painful for the owner to stay in the room to watch their pet's final moments.
However, any death - human or non-human - can be frightening if we are all alone, in an unfamiliar or unwelcome place, or if we are confused about what is going on. When we feel frightened we want the ones we love close to us for comfort and reassurance; our pets are no different. Don't forget, our pets have been domesticated over long periods of time and both pets and companion animals are used to having us around. Dogs are especially close to humans, having co-evolved with us for thousands of years.
So if you are at the time when your pet either needs to be put to sleep, or they are entering end of life and/or active dying, having a calm, empathetic animal lover like myself by your side can help both you and your pet. With my support you will be better able to focus on your furry, feathered, or scaled friend, and they in turn will be calmer and more peaceful about the presence of the vet if you are doing end of life at the animal hospital, or about their loss of function, vision, and sensation if you are with your pet at home.
There is the other side of the coin to consider also - pets whose owners leave them to die alone with veterinary professionals are terrified, confused, and upset. The vet staff then have to deal with both ending the life of an animal - one they may know well, if you are like me and have been attending the same vet hospital for many years - as well as processing their own response to the bewilderment and loss the animal experienced as their owner had left them alone.
This article allows vets to be honest about how frightened and lost the animals are when their owners abandon them for the last minutes of their lives - the vets and vet nurses find this aspect of their jobs incredibly stressful and would like owners to change they way we 'do' the process of euthanising our pets. Having an End Of Life Doula for both yourself and your pet therefore makes very good sense.
If you have a senior or terminally ill pet and would like to know more about my services for EOL Doula work with animals and owners please do not hesitate to contact me. You have choices that can make your remaining time with your pet the best they can possibly be, and I specialise in helping this happen for my clients.