You feed me, you walk me, and most of all, you love me. Now you ask what I need? What can I say when the answer will break your heart? How do I put words on what you already know deep inside; the only answer is to let me go, to say goodbye.
I opened my emails and started reading. The sender wanted to know what she could do to change the outcome of her dog’s prognosis. She had tried desperately to save her life, and now her cancer had spread; the six-year-old Labrador had just weeks to live. The woman worked tirelessly cooking special foods to coax her animal friend into eating; all the while scrutinizing her for any sign of improvement.
Meanwhile, the Labrador prepared for her inevitable departure. Her body spoke volumes; she knew the time was near. The other animals in the home held a quiet vigilance while respecting her need to be alone. Her closest animal friend curled up next to her to help alleviate the pain and offer his support. After round-the-clock care, this beautiful soul died quietly when her human mom left the room.
We may recognize some of the signs that a transition is near. Your animal will sleep more as he increases his time in spiritual dimensions. His focus now is letting go of his body and any energetic connections to life. We can help by being calm and allowing him, this time, to concentrate on what’s ahead. If we are having difficulty letting go, animals often help by leaving in our absence.
The next email involved a 14-year-old Chihuahua, who passed before we could talk to him. Once in spirit, he communicated he was grateful to reassure his human mom that he was okay. This Chihuahua needed her to know that he did not experience any physical discomfort when his soul left his body, contrary to all indications. He explained when humans experience physical trauma we detach from our bodies and become an observer; we don’t feel pain because we’re not there. His mom was greatly relieved, commenting it was a “huge weight off her shoulders.”
Some people report seeing their animal leave his body through their chest or crown chakra when transiting. You may also sense or feel their energy separating. Flower essences or homeopathic remedies can help cut attachments, easing the letting go, during the animal’s passing. Both remedies help humans and other animals in the home to deal with grief.
The 14-year-old malamute in the following e-mail stated he wanted to leave on his own, without assistance. Though it was difficult for the family, they honored his request. Now they wondered if they should have done more to make him comfortable during those last days.
Having to make life or death decisions for animals in times of crisis or transition is something no one wants to think about. How do we know what is best? Some animals are stoic, making it difficult to assess their pain level.
First, it’s important to remember that animals accept death as natural. They understand our bodies are temporary; we are a soul with a body. Every animal has desires or feelings about leaving. Some will stay longer if they pick up our fears or until we are comfortable with their passing. A lost cat asked her human for permission to let go when she was dying; she knew she was unable to make it back home. Animals will also withdraw emotionally and physically if they don’t want a surgery or if their family isn’t listening to them. It is not unusual for an animal to transition after completing their life purpose.
How do we know when it’s “time” and if they need our help? Common signs the end is near are a loss of interest in life, sleeping more often than not, and being unable to go outside on their own or even get up. The biggest telltale sign is refusing food and when they stop eating.
Assessing your animal’s quality of life is certainly a gray area and is subject to interpretation. Veterinarians report we tend to focus on one particular thing versus looking at the whole picture when making an end-of-life decision. We wait for that final symptom before taking action when every other area is giving us a clear message. They ask that we don’t wait until our animals suffering becomes unbearable and remind us it’s better to be a little early than too late.
Some people say they “just knew” it was time; they looked at their cat and felt it intuitively. We can ask animals to give us a strong signal and show us what it is. My cat alerted me she was ready to leave when she came out from behind the loveseat after a week. She made a clear declaration by sweeping her head side to side refusing food and pain medication.
In the end, we try to do our best to help and support our animal with their passing. We’ve had the privilege of sharing their life, and creating special memories, and now, we can look forward to the time that we will see them again.
In loving memory of Griffin
9/06/03 – 5/16/16