If you knew that you only had a very short time left to live, what would you want to do? Likewise, if you knew your dog or cat had only a short time left, how would you (you and your pet) want to spend that time? Death is sad; memories are joyful. Why not make the most of your fleeting time with your beloved pet? Create the memories that are timeless while you still have time. Anticipatory Grief can begin long before your pet has reach that final day; but you can create a sense of calm and even joy by planning out this time to make the best of it. Consider making a special list of activities you and your pet will enjoy. Let's begin:
Evaluate your pet's condition. Is he/she in pain? Is he/she mobile? Does he/she have an appetite? Is there a breathing problem? Is there vomiting or diarrhea? Your bucket list will be determined by how much your pet is able to participate with interest. Therefore it is extremely important to know your pet's physical limitations and strive to improve your pet's level of comfort. This may involve administering medications prescribed by your veterinarian to control pain, or intestinal upsets, etc.
Put the pen to paper and write down a bucket list the things you know your pet loved, in their healthy state. These things may need to be modified now, but giving your pet an ounce of joy is better than none at all. Here are some examples:
- Take one last drive to a favorite park, camp ground, or beach.
- indulge in a favorite treat or food, or a special homemade or dog bakery made treat.
- Add more of those favorite toys to cuddle with.
- Spruce up their bedding so that it is extra comfortable. You can add a nice thick blanket or purchase more cushioned bedding.
- Spend more one on one time with you and your pet's favorite people, in a favorite spot of the house or yard. For example, your cat may like to be near a sunny spot by the window sill or under your desk.
- Snap those selfies and videos with you and your pet. Sing those songs to your pet. Say those favorite things he/she loves to hear.
- Aim for a calm and comforting atmosphere. You may want to play soothing music or use calming essential oils like lavender or chamomile in the room.
Your pet is not the only one who will benefit. So will you. And when the end has come and passed you will be able to relive the memories.