I'll wager that no one really likes to think about their own passing or possibly becoming incapacitated in some way. After all, we live busy lives. Presently, we live in a death-denying society. In years gone by and in some cultures, a person's death was celebrated, even sometimes before they died. The good news is that we are getting better at it and arrangements are made ahead of time. But all too often, pets are forgotten and become one more task or arrangement for someone else when a pet guardian passes onward.
Have you thought what will happen to your pet when you pass or if you one day you cannot look after him/her yourself anymore? Who would willingly adopt your precious pet family member? Most often when an animal guardian passes, their friends and relatives are in grief, too. It is possible that those left to tend the pet have neither a personal connection nor wish to now adopt the animal companion. As live, sentient creatures, the pet(s) will need immediate attention and care. Now what?
I recently heard of a situation where a deceased pet guardian had eight cats who now needed care and homing. Wisely, the relatives took them to a no-kill shelter where they were kindly cared for until the family was able to make contact with those who might want a free cat. They also wanted to ensure that the new guardians were genuine and loving people. There was a time frame for this to occur. After the deadline, the remaining cats would be place in the shelter's system for formal adoption. A bittersweet situation for these Sweet Ones. The deceased's family had reserved two cats for themselves of whom they felt were a living legacy. Again, they were wise and the shelter compassionate in understanding that the family needed time and lack of worry that these very loved cats were being well cared for in a time of acute grief.
It all worked out well for those who were adopted. Some new guardians took two. But one calico kitty was left behind. He was a grumpy cat and having a difficult time adjusting to kennel life at the shelter. It was a challenge for staff not knowing anything about his personality and needs. It could be that he was missing his Mom, home, freedom, and friends.
When an animal companion is removed from their home and separated from their family, it's traumatizing. Animals are fairly resilient to new homes given time. But the more information provided to the new guardian, the easier it will be for the pet to adapt to a new home. If the pet is having a difficult time or he/she appears to be standoffish, generally unwell, not eating or still in grief, it may be an occasion to speak to an animal healer to have some energy work done with the little one.
So how can you prepare for your transition prior to your Sweet One? Here are some things that can be done ahead of time. Completing this comprehensive list may make it easier for your think about the possibility. It could be a fun way to really think about your pet and how unique and special your relationship is with them. It may also be fun to engage children in a small project without revealing the true reason. This involves creating a personal profile of your pet family member.
After giving it some thought and taking action, completing this collection of intimate details about your pet may ease your mind about the 'what ifs'. It offers peace of mind knowing that your pet family member will be able to adapt easier to their new home which also reflects your loving relationship. So when it is time for your Sweet One to cross the Rainbow Bridge and meet you on the other side, I'll bet he or she will say, "Thank You." Truly a wonderful act of kindness paid forward.
Reana Selody Joubert
Pondering, mulling, musing with pen in hand about animals or people, sometimes family or sometimes wild. Oh, and news & events, too.
We acknowledge the First Nations of Musqueam, Tsawwassen, Tsleil-watuth, Qayqayt, Kwikwetlem, Katzie, and Kwantlen whose unceded land we
work, play, and reside. Thank you, Honoured Ones.
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