I went to the monthly meeting at my local Humane Society yesterday. It was for pet grief support. I was the only one there besides the facilitator. We had over an hour as a 1:1 and discussing our experiences with our pet families and different perspectives to take on our time with them. It’s difficult not to focus on the endings that are inevitable with your pet babies. Blaming, control and remorse are fairly common. People don’t seem to discuss it often because they aren’t ever taught how to process an animal passing where we are the “parents”, we have the money, we make the decisions, we care more than letting it die naturally on it’s own in most case and we are the ones whose friends joke about our veterinary bills while suffering of a smaller being who doesn’t communicate with words lays heavily on our minds and our hearts.
When a family member or a friend dies it’s tragic or you know they have done all that they felt they could or needed to when it came to the care they wanted to receive to survive. It’s not our responsibility. You don’t tell yourself as someone leaves this world in a car accident that you are gonna beat yourself up about it for years because you didn’t invite them over for brunch and keep them off the freeway. That’s not how things work. You accept it was out of your hands and that maybe God (depending on your beliefs) had simply decided it was time to take them. Fate has a way of balancing out the world.
It’s hard enough when it comes to people. It’s even more difficult for me when it comes to my babies. I feel like I never did enough even though the level of care they often receive is much more than the national standard for a guinea pig, a hamster, a rat etc…
I ache for my rat because I know the pain of pneumonia. His was ravaging in a short period of time and no one needs to go through that. I have a pit left where my male guinea pig died of cancer. It sucks in people as it sucks in animals. No one needs to go through that.
But people do go through that. Animals go through that. Some lived and some died. Some make it through treatments and extraordinary medical interventions and some won’t. You can use your best judgement and still never feel comfortable that you made the right call. When it happens/ed to a person it was never up to you.
I was told at the meeting to take the next month and focus on the level of care that my departed babies had received in the entire time we knew each other and to take comfort in that. Several babies may have lasted years past their original cut off because I care that much to catch illnesses and afflictions in time in many cases. She told me that I’m here to learn and teach. I can learn from my experiences and pass it along.