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Reflections on Pet Loss from Your Family Veterinarian

It's been two weeks since we put our dog to sleep. I still notice the empty space in our bedroom where she slept at night and find myself wanting to go and grab her a treat from the treat jar in the morning. I know that others have experienced this void as well.

At the same time, I realized how lucky we were to have her in our lives and that we had time to realize her time was coming. She had arthritis and her mobility was worsening so the conversation was broached many times between my husband and me. We were able to do it together with the family and we did not have to rush our mourning. I felt a little guilty because being her veterinarian as well as her mom, I knew months ago that we needed to consider her health and that the pain medication was losing its impact, so I made sure I took little moments out of my busy schedule to tell her how much I loved her. When I caught my husband doing the same, I knew we were both ready.

As your family veterinarian, we feel your sorrow. We understand what you are going through because we have struggled with the same decision that you may be facing today. We cannot take away your grief but we hope to soften it with providing your pet with a painless and peaceful process over the rainbow bridge. And remember, we love your pet too. We remember the puppy breath and kitten biscuit making. We remember their annual wellness visits where we watch their personalities shine through. And we remember their sick visits and making sure they got the best treatment they deserved. And we are there for you when it is time for us to have a more difficult conversation. One that may be hard to have. I've been asked many times in this situation the question "when do we know?" My answer is still the same, trust your gut instinct because your heart will never be ready.

We are there for you after you have said goodbye. We are here to listen about the memories that they provided you. We are here to laugh with you and shed tears with you. And if you need more, we are here to provide you with places that provide extra pet grief counseling. I remember after graduating that I thought the hardest part about losing your pet was the day it took place. After I experienced it myself, I realized what was hardest was walking away and returning to an empty home.

- Dr. Stephanie Goodman 

Dr. Goodman and Lola

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