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Category Archives: Fostering Dogs

What Should You Do When Your Pet Dies?

A pet is more than a friend. They are devoted companions who become part of your family. Just as it is with the death of anyone close to you, losing a beloved pet can be a heart wrenching and difficult experience.

Why does losing a pet hurt so much?

Pets become a central part of your life. Playing fetch with your dog or snuggling up with your cat on the couch is as much part of your daily routine as eating meals or showering. It can feel traumatic and leave a profound emptiness in your heart once they are no longer there.

The death of a pet can hurt as much as losing a spouse, parent, child, or sibling. Animals show unconditional love. Their companionship can offer emotional support on bad days. Some pet parents will do everything from celebrate their pets’ birthdays to carry pictures of their furry companions in their wallets.

Forming such a strong bond makes it feel painful when they’re no longer there. It’s perfectly natural and normal to mourn the loss of a beloved pet.
Old Dog

Going through the grieving process with a pet

People who have never had a pet may not understand the bond shared between a pet parent and their pets. They may suggest it is only a cat or dog and to just go buy a new one. Remember that it is normal and healthy to grieve the lost of a beloved pet.

Pet parents go through the five stages of grief:

  1. denial
  2. anger
  3. bargaining
  4. depression
  5. acceptance

Grieving is different for everyone and has no set time limit or boundary. Talking about your pet and sharing stories is one way to help you cope while going through the stages of grief and eventually heal. Encourage children, teens and seniors alike to record their memories in a journal or through a poem or story or song. Let them know it’s okay to remember and work through the grief.

End of life care

When your pet nears the end of their life, it is important to make them feel comfortable. This can include things like surrounding them with a warm blanket or giving them a special toy.

Hospice care for pets is one option. Your veterinarian will offer guidance on how to care for an individual pet — that is tailored to their needs — as they near the end.

Euthanasia is sometimes necessary when a pet’s pain becomes too great. It minimizes suffering and allows them to die in peace if they are beyond the point of recovery.

What do you do if a pet dies at home

If your pet dies at home, you may want to bury them or cremate them and hold a funeral. This means you may have to hang onto the body for a few hours until arrangements can be made.

In these situations, it is important to keep the body cool for as long as possible. Store it in a cool place that will draw heat away from the body and preserve it for a short time, until you’re ready to bury or cremate.

Getting a new pet

Take time before looking for a new pet to replace the one you lost. Wait until you have had sufficient time to grieve. Pay attention to your feelings and only adopt a new pet once you’re emotionally ready.

Pet adoption resources

Once you decide to bring a new pet into your home, we can help. We are always on the lookout for loving homes for pets. Sometimes they are pets in our care at Paradise Pet Resorts, and sometimes we work with local pet adoption agencies like the Sonoma Humane Society.

Fostering Dogs: Here’s What You Need to Know

Foster A DogFostering a dog is a great way to help out your local animal shelter and pets in need. If you don’t have the time to adopt a pet, or need space to heal after the passing of a favorite pet, fostering can fill that much-needed animal connection. Yet it’s not all snuggles and long walks. When you foster, you take on the responsibilities of caring for a pet and addressing any underlying issues that affect that dog’s chances for adoption. Here’s what you need to consider before you sign up to be a foster pet parent.

  • Will your existing pets and family members welcome the new addition?

    If your dog dislikes high-energy dogs, fostering a pup might place more stress on your own pet. That’s not fair. If you have babies or toddlers at home, introducing a poorly socialized pet can cause trouble. In a worst case scenario, that dog could snap at a curious toddler who pulled his ears.

    From including her on leash walks to spending time playing with her or teaching her basic obedience skills, fostering is a lot of work for you and your family. Only agree to foster when it’s in the best interests of your whole family, human and animal.

  • Do you have the time and money to care for this dog?

    Many of the pets who need fostering have been abandoned by their owners or may have never had a home. They might not be housebroken or socialized. Some may have been abused and still carry trauma from that experience. Others may need surgery before they can be adopted. Even puppies and kitties need special care and training.

    Before you agree to foster a pet, make sure you have the time to work with your foster pet on any underlying issues so she can become adoptable and the money to spend on her care and enrichment. The shelter will often pay for medical care, but may not pay for needed supplies like puppy wee pads or special food if you have a picky eater. If you do not have the time and money for fostering an animal, there are other ways to support pets in need.

  • Are you prepared for the realities of fostering?

    In a best case scenario, your fostered pet will find a good home quickly, but this doesn’t always happen. Some pets stay with their foster parents for months. You could become attached while fostering. No matter how long the pet stays with you, you will have to say goodbye when she’s adopted. Can you give up your foster pet when it’s time?

Spend time thinking through these considerations. After reading this, if you feel ready to become a foster parent, go ahead with confidence. There are many rewards that come with fostering a pet, from knowing you made a difference to that animal to creating an empty kennel at your local shelter so another pet can find a forever home.