Good morning, all. I wanted to share something my husband Eric and I did for our pets, when Kramer died. It was the best thing we could have done for them. It’s a little morbid, but it was for them, not us.
After Kramer was put to sleep at the vet’s (we were there), they gave us the body which was presented in a heavy-duty cardboard white box, shaped like a coffin. We brought Kramer home, and put the box on the floor. We had our other dog Gandolf in the room in a “down and stay” and brought each of our 3 cats to the box. We opened it, pulled back the black bag, and exposed Kramer’s side of his face. We held each cat, and let them sniff the box and leave at their own pace. Gandolf was last, as we need to keep hierarchy in our house, as Gandolf is prey aggressive. So, when the cats were done, we broke Gandolf from his stay, and he came to the box, sniffed Kramer’s exposed side of his face for probably a good 5 seconds. The sweetest thing is that after Gandolf circled the room (Eric was in a chair, and I was on the couch), he laid down next to the box. After a little while, we wrapped Kramer back up – we never touched him – and taped the box shut, to bring him to a pet crematorium.
I share this with you because this past week has been gentle and non-stressful in the house for the animals. There is no pacing, winning, cat crying, nothing. There’s no searching for Kramer. We’ve obviously had to do some readjusting, but Gandolf, who is so anxious anyway, is okay. The cats are okay. It brought them closure, and I’d recommend doing the same for anyone who has a multi-animal household. Again, it’s not for you, it’s for them.
In a way we tried, but failed, to do the same thing. Our vet loved Boscoe and she came to the house to release him so he could do it upstairs in my bed in his favorite place and a place he felt loved and safe. When it happened, Gigi, who was downstairs, let out a howl after about 20 seconds that was really heartbreaking. I think the whole family felt bad because it was clear that she had smelled it after a bit of delay or in some other way knew what happened. I just wasn’t really thinking of her and I should have. Buddha, my kidney failing cat of 17 years and Boscoe’s best friend, stayed up there with him and knew what happened. After he “got the picture” he jumped down and left the room. We made sure that Gigi could smell and see Boscoe as the funeral people brought Boscoe down the stairs and before he went out the door.
But we did learn a big lesson there. It’s much harder for them to not know and then realize it than to be a part of the process and have their feelings validated. Buddha handled the situation after much better than Gigi, and I think it was because of that one mistake.
I am such a Wuss -every time I read something like this – I start crying right at my desk at work. Good thing I can blame it on allergies. If the time ever came for me to have to do this – I probably would have to get my son to help. I am no good when it comes to things like this. Hopefully not only did this ceremony help with closure for the cats and for Gandolf, but for both of you as well. I have read that when a person dies and they hold a wake or sit shiva- it helps the community and with the families healing. This strikes me as being similar, and I never would have thought of it. Thank you for sharing.
I too am a wuss when I read something sad to do with dogs! Michael and I support Guide Dogs for the Blind (think they’re known as seeing eye dogs in the US) and every quarter we receive their magazine. It always contains obituraries for those dogs that have passed away and I weep buckets every time I read the wonderful comments made by owners about their best friend! I didnt cry when I read about Kate’s ceremony though, because it was such a lovely thing to do for the other animals. I firmly believe they do form attachments to each other and they do feel pain when they lose a friend.
I was considering something similar with letting Josie know about Jordan’s passing, but it didn’t work out. My husband had elbow surgery the morning before, the pain meds didn’t work, so everyone (well, except Josie, snuggled in her pillow) was up all night long … me monitoring him and Jordan, Rob in pain, and Jordan gazing at the stars in the yard or sleeping in his pillow. I had to take Rob back to the doctor in the morning, and then when it was clear it was time for Jordan to go to the vet, the best I could do was have Josie sniff him before we left the house. I did consider taking her along (and she was trying to go with us), but just couldn’t deal with carrying Jordan, sheperding a one armed heavily medicated man, and then another frantic hopping dog — it was just too much. I also couldn’t consider bringing him back because of Rob’s situation, and it was the end of the vet’s office hours on a Friday. I didn’t think about asking to bring him home and then return him for cremation (Not in a position to bury him without cremation, either).
Okay, don’t laugh or think I’m weird — I do occassionally work with a pet communicator, and we did talk to her a few days later and she said Josie knew he was gone, and was a bit miffed we didn’t bring her along to the vet, but the situation was explained and she was okay. She also said she did get to say her goodbyes, and that he’d actually, “already been gone for a while.”
We picked Jordan’s ashes up yesterday as well. They’d been at the vet’s for a while, they said they called but must have misdialed. But all is okay, probably better there was a bit of a gap of time before I picked them up. I did take Josie with me to go get them. :-> Now we’ll have to continue the conversation on another day with, “What do you do with the ashes?”. They’re on the mantle for now, but I think I might eventually want to bury them. No really special place beyond our garden comes to mind, but our long time neighbor warned me that the previous owners of our home had buried a very large dog in one of the flower beds a number of years ago (we’ve been there for 12, and it was way before our time), so I’ll have to stay away from that side of the yard!
We have Whisky’s (and my other dog Rebar) ashes up on a special shelf in the dogs’ room, along with their collars and “bling”. I intend to do a little memorial thing around it with pictures and stuff…. Just haven’t gotten there yet. My mom enlarged a photo of Rebar and used a piece of his favorite old blankie as the mat around it in a beautiful frame…. Moms are great.
I thought about burying in the yard sans cremation, but the chance that one of our others would unearth the body is too high…. I wouldn’t be able to handle that….
We have Hoover’s ashes/box under the desk where he used to love to lay. His collar is wrapped around it. Still miss him after all this time. We had the pups say good bye to him at the house. They knew….. It is funny because Jodi now does things that Hoover used to do, she never did them when he was around.
Yes all our pups have bling… They love their tags… Whisky Girl Beagle would put up such a FUSS when she was “naked” while we put her new tags on….Shotzy is the same way! The boys, not so much
Susan, you aren’t weird. Luana and I have had readings with a pet communicator as well; in fact, we had one over the weekend. She also communicated with my late parents. For any disbelievers among you (and I doubt there are many on this blog), let me tell you – she told us things she NEVER could have known beforehand.
I hope that when my baby passes away that I will have the strength to do some type of ceremony for her.
This is completely off topic however I have a female beagle and she has a urinary tract infection for the second time (she is only 4). the vet says this is not common but I don’t know what to do to prevent it from happening again. To top it off this time the antibiotics did not work so they are going to have to do a culture and figure out diff meds to give her. The vet told me that by the time I brought her it was really bad but my baby hides it really well and there was no change in her behavior I really only noticed because there was blood in her urine and she was having accidents.
I hate to know that she was in pain for a long time before I took her in and that she still is now because the infection is still there. My vet prescribed special food that I have started to give her but if anyone else knows what could be causing this or what I can do to prevent it in the future please let me know?
Or if anyone has had a similar issue what can I do to check her out on my own so I can make sure she is not suffering in silence.
Shardae, I’m not sure what her regular food was, but once the current issue is settled and she doesn’t necessarily need to be on the food the vet is recommending right now, you may want to investigate moving her over to a raw diet. Sensitivity to certain food ingredients can manifest itself in UTI’s (I’ve been told that skin, ear and UT issues are all related, and those in turn can be related to thyroid issues, as they were with Josie until she started taking thyroxine). There are some really good ready-to-serve brands available, so you don’t have to cook from scratch.
Back on my soap box, check out The Whole Dog Journal. http://www.whole-dog-journal.com . Tons of info in a monthly publication for only about $20 a year, and they have great books and shorter pamphlets available for sale as well. And they regularly do food reviews.
Whisky never had a UTI that we knew of, but similar symptoms with the tumor in her bladder…. I’m not trying to alarm you, especially since the ultrasound is EXPENSIVE, but you might want to ask your vet….
And the good news is that if it is a tumor they respond very well (typically) to medication.
Funny this comes up now … Josie has been acting weird and I initially attributed it to Jordan’s passing, but it’s gotten weird enough that I took her to the vet yesterday. Yup, a UTI, and because she’s had them on and off for 3 years, they’re recommending an ultrasound to rule other stuff out (Good news is blood test results are all normal, but a couple of things are minorly odd). So, that adventure is coming up. I’m too tired from Jordan’s care to worry about it right now, hoping I get a bit more of a break before having to deal with another senior dog chronic condition. Sigh …
I hope that is not the issue because she is sooo young. Like I can not imagine her having to deal with that so young but I really appreciate the advice. I am going to mention it to my vet tomorrow when she goes in for her culture to determine what meds are going to work.
Susan glad to hear that the blood test are all normal and maybe Josie is just missing Jordan and grieving.
How very sweet. When our first Beagle, Preacher, was dying at the vets office, they called and told us to come quickly if we wanted to see him one last time (kidney failure). We loaded up his friend, Jennie (Beagle/Corgi mix) and drove to the vets office. Preacher was in one of the big kennels and I got in with him and held him and then my husband put Jennie in with us. She was able to sniff and snuggle with her buddy and she walked out when she was ready. I was very young and expecting a miracle so I didn’t let the vet put Preacher down at that moment, which in retrospect would have been the kind thing to do for him. The vet called the next morning telling us that Preacher had died during the night – I hope in my heart that the vet euthanized him as soon as we left, because he was in pretty poor shape. I still get misty thinking about that night and how the two best friends shared a last sweet moment. I know that Jennie comforted Preacher, and then she comforted us for many more years.
Some years ago my sister did the same thing when Oso died. She was a BIG dog, but Peg put her body in the back of the truck and brought her home for Bear to sniff.
Peg also said there was no pacing or looking for the missing pack member. Bear was clearly mourning, but he understood what happened, and that’s a blessing. I have plans to do the same when the time comes with my dogs.
Well, here I go again,I’m just going to cry. We have a lovely memorial for Rosco on our mantel. We weren’t with him when he died and I regret that decision all the time. He had emergency surgery to “save” him. I never had a dog before and I should have let him go peacefully. We loved him so much.
I’m currently almost to that place again. Abbey is holding her own, but we are pretty sure (it’d take several thousand to confirm it for our old girl, but then what would I do at that point) she has cancer. Interesting thing: her daddy (my husband, John), whom she worships and adores, is in hospice with glioblastoma multiforme. She hates riding in the car, but now that she knows she’ll see her daddy, she not only willingly gets in the car, but she barks if I’m not fast enough with the leash. And when I bring Elvis and Abbey in the building, Abbey trots very happily to the end of the hall where John stays. And she spends most of her time either on or near his bed when she’s here. When I take her back home again (they can’t be here if I’m not, but when I’m here–which is pretty much all the time at this place–they are here and even stay the night), I have to practically drag her, and then she seems old and frail again. BTW, while she’s here, she is up to her old mischief that she hasn’t done in quite some time…sneaky girl, getting into the wastebasket, trying to steal her daddy’s food, barking for hers when it’s time.
I just wonder if their link is closer than I ever imagined.
Tam, our hearts are with you. Wow, what a difficult time. I think their link is very close, and in a lot of ways, I think they know and “see” more than we do because they’re not cluttered up with a lot of the extraneous stuff that can distract us from what really matters. Of course, distract them with some goodie in a wastebasket or cat litter box and it’s another story …. :-> (Have to add some humor or we’re all going to be blubbering messes!).