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Welcome to our blog!

Each week we will post blog pieces relating to pet bereavement and other animal-related topics. We hope you enjoy the blog and please share your thoughts and comments – we would love to hear from you!

Frozen in time: Understanding incomplete grief

At The Ralph Site, we will always reassure you that there is no right or wrong way to grieve for a lost pet. Our only hope is that, with time, the nature of your grief will change and make room for happy memories of your furry, feathered or scaly loved one.

If this doesn’t happen, it could be that you’re stuck in a state known as ‘incomplete grief’. Incomplete grief is when someone isn’t able to or decides not to express, confront or even experience the feelings caused by a loss. It’s sometimes described as an emotion ‘frozen in time’.

Pet loss and incomplete grief

After a pet dies, people often feel they can’t talk about their grief because their friends and family won’t understand.

Phrases such as “I can’t believe you’re still upset. It was just a cat/dog/guinea pig…” or “At least you can get another one” diminish the right of the pet carer to grieve.

With no bereavement leave for pet loss, we have to go straight back to work with no funeral or other rituals to mark our precious pet’s passing.

Life moves on. It’s common to feel grief has to be pushed to one side or that it isn’t ‘normal’ (whatever that is!) to grieve for long after losing a pet. These are just a few of the many reasons that pet loss grief often remains incomplete.

The symptoms of incomplete grief

Arguably, it can be difficult to distinguish incomplete grief from so-called ‘healthy’ grief at first.

Most grief experts agree that the symptoms of intense grief following a bereavement can still be experienced for up to two years after a loss.

It’s if they continue for longer that you might be dealing with incomplete grief.

So, what are the symptoms you might experience if your grief is frozen in time?

  • Sudden bouts of tears
  • Hypervigilance (always on the lookout for bad things happening)
  • Depression or numbness
  • Bursts of rage
  • Anxiety
  • Reliving your pet’s final days on a loop
  • Denial of your loss or minimising your feelings or their validity (“I know I shouldn’t still be upset” or “I’m not sad, I’m just tired”)
  • Guilt
  • Blame
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Being afraid to lose anything related to your pet or, conversely, throwing away every single reminder
  • Responding excessively to other people’s trauma as if it were your own

Incomplete grief can cause physical symptoms too – it’s most often associated with some chronic pain or illness (e.g. back pain, migraines, tics, muscle stiffness), obesity or eating disorders, digestive or bowel problems.

Six of the most common signs that your grief is blocked

In an article for Psychology Today, clinical social worker Bob Taibbi discusses six of the most common symptoms of incomplete grief:

1.      Irritability or explosions of anger

If you find yourself feeling constantly on edge or irritated by the smallest of things or you occasionally explode with anger over something that normally wouldn’t bother you, it can be a sign of pent up grief.

It’s a lot like a pressure cooker with no safe release – at some point, it has to let off steam.

2.      Continued obsession or missing your loved one

Of course, it’s inevitable that our thoughts will continually go to our lost pet when we’re grieving. But most people find that, with time (and it’s different for everyone), good memories eventually creep back in too. The grief remains but it gives space to other emotions.

With incomplete grief, however, your thoughts can get stuck in the moment of loss. You experience your pet’s final moments on a loop without reprieve. You can’t think of the life they lived or begin to create a life without them – all you see is the moment you last saw them.

3.      Hypervigilance and fear of loss

After a bereavement, it’s natural to feel fearful and vigilant about potential threats. You have experienced something so distressing that your brain goes into overdrive to protect you.

The problem with incomplete grief is that the sense of impending doom, that something awful is about to happen, can persist for months or even years.

If you feel constantly afraid, even though the worst has already happened and your pet has gone, you might need support to express your grief.

4.      Behavioural overreaction

When struggling with incomplete grief, people often go to one of two extremes, either becoming overly dependent on other people – or another pet – for reassurance and security or pushing everyone away.

Both responses are about self-protection and preventing future loss and pain. The problem is that these extremes can affect your relationships with people and with animals.

5.      Self-harming or high-risk behaviours

Many people turn to self-harm or high-risk behaviours to push away having to deal with feelings of grief. This can manifest as overeating, drinking too much, drug use, becoming a workaholic, not caring about your safety, or even doing high-risk sports in an unsafe way.

6.      Apathy or numbness

Another symptom of incomplete grief is a low-level but ongoing state of depression, apathy or numbness. It’s like someone has laid a heavy, muffling blanket over all of your emotions in an effort to suffocate the grief.

How to cope with incomplete grief

If you think you might be suffering from incomplete grief, you might want to try the following:

  • Say what you wish you could have said to your pet

When a pet dies, we don’t always have the opportunity to say goodbye or to tell them what they mean to us. We don’t get to say that we’re sorry or that we would have saved them if we could.

But just because your pet is no longer here doesn’t mean that you can’t speak to them.

Many people find it helpful to write a letter to their pet, telling them everything they wish they could have said at the time.

  • Acknowledge and move towards what you’re avoiding

Incomplete grief often involves avoidance, of emotions, of memories, of topics of conversation, or even of people and places.

For example, you might feel that you can’t face looking at pictures or videos of your pet. You might avoid places you loved walking your dog or the sunny spot in the garden where your cat used to hang out in the spring.

If other family members try to talk about your pet, you might go silent, change the conversation or walk out of the room.

It can be helpful to name the things you are avoiding out loud, either to yourself or to someone you trust. Even better, think about ways that you can start moving towards that you’ve been trying not to face.

  • Look at how you can break your current thought or behaviour patterns

If your thoughts have been stuck in a loop since your pet died or went missing, it’s important to try to break the cycle in some way.

You can do this by challenging your thoughts. With a thought like, “He wouldn’t have got out of the garden if I had checked the gate was locked”, remind yourself that “I did not let him into the garden with the intention of harm. I let him into the garden to have fun and enjoy the fresh air. I let him in the garden because I wanted him to have a good quality of life”.

Similarly, if you’re using certain behaviours to manage or avoid your grief, you will need to look at how you can break the patterns.

If you spend the evening bingeing sweets and biscuits in front of the telly, for example, could you swap your treats to a healthier alternative or increase your activity by going for a walk before you sit down for the evening?

It can be really tough to do this alone so how about enlisting the help of a friend or family member as an accountability partner?

  • Consider counselling

Overcoming incomplete grief isn’t easy. Many people find that they are better able to manage all aspects of grief with professional support such as counselling.

There are dedicated pet bereavement counsellors throughout the UK.

The Blue Cross also runs a fantastic Pet Bereavement Support Service and helpline. Alternatively, most regions have self-referral counselling services or support that is accessible via your GP.

Your grief can change

Your pet would not want you to be frozen in the moment of their death.

You shared so much that was good and joyful when they were alive. Believe it or not, that positive relationship can continue even though they’re gone. Your pet can continue to enrich your life through the memories you made together.

Although you may be experiencing incomplete grief right now, with time and support it will be possible for your grief to evolve and thaw so that it’s free to be expressed.

Until that time, know that you’re not alone.

Very best wishes from Shailen and The Ralph Site team
The Ralph Site, non-profit pet loss support

Feeling happiness during grief (and then feeling bad about feeling good)

“I feel so guilty for feeling happiness during grief.”

Most of us experience this thought at some point after pet loss or, indeed, any bereavement. You may be struggling with it yourself.

Grief before we experience it

Before we experience grief for the first time, most of us have a fairly rigid expectation of what it should look like.

We believe that grieving people are constantly sad. We might even expect a never-ending stream of tears or feel slightly horrified when the bereaved person smiles.

Immediately after a bereavement, many people do find themselves in a constantly sad state of mind. In the moments after your pet died or went missing, you may have felt like you would never feel anything but sadness again.

Until you laughed for the first time.

Happiness during grief comes as a shock

The first time you laugh after a bereavement can knock the breath out of you and even make you feel a bit queasy.

It can be a complete shock.

You might ask yourself, how can I be laughing when he’s gone? Does this mean I’m getting over him?

The same goes for looking forward to something or feeling a moment of peace or joy.

The guilt that you felt something other than loss can be overwhelming.

Once it rears its head, you may feel like you need to hang on to your guilt because it will pull you back to thinking about your loss. Many people believe this is the only way to keep their loved one present.

The problem with guilt is that it keeps you stuck. And in the case of bereavement, it keeps you stuck in the exact moment that your pet left your life.

Happiness – even just small flashes of it – is perhaps our mind’s way of trying to unstick us.

Grief forces feelings to co-exist

As we talk about time and again on The Ralph Site, grief isn’t a linear emotion or experience, which is why it’s fine to ignore the five stages of grief.

In his book A Grief Observed, C. S. Lewis wrote, “For in grief nothing stays put. One keeps emerging from a phase, but it always recurs.”

In other words, you will bounce between many different emotions – often repeatedly – as you process your bereavement and begin to make sense of your loss.

And the thing with the human brain is that we can experience multiple feelings at the same time.

It’s entirely possible to feel heartbroken and happy or sad and relieved. The existence of two or more emotions at the same time doesn’t cancel any one of them out – they’re all valid, real and appropriate.

Grief, perhaps more than any other experience, forces emotions to co-exist. People often feel two completely opposite emotions in a single moment.

For example, if you have a living pet companion, you may find yourself appreciating and laughing at their antics more because your sadness about your deceased pet has highlighted how precious each moment is.

Of course, dealing with conflicting emotions can be hard. For most of us, the biggest fear about feeling something positive after a bereavement is that we’re beginning to ‘move on’ and leave our lost loved one behind.

Let yourself feel all of your emotions

It may not come easily but there’s something very liberating about accepting that happiness and grief can exist at the same time.

This means that you can feel all of your emotions, good as well as bad, without worrying that you’re betraying your pet in some way by ‘letting go’.

In reality, your grief will probably stay with you forever, even though it will evolve and reshape many times. But life, with its relentless forward motion, will push you to move with it and gradually experience more than just sadness.

Your pet would want you to be happy

As we’ve often said, one of the most wonderful animal traits is an ability to live in the moment.

Your pet wouldn’t want you to stay stuck in sadness. They would want you to be happy.

Another perspective that you might find helpful is that your pet deserves to be remembered through your happiness too. When they were alive they bought you joy, comfort, companionship and so much more. That’s why you miss them so much. It seems unfair perhaps to wrap their memory in sadness – at least long-term – when they only ever gave happiness.

If the roles were reversed and your pet had had to go on living without you, I’m sure your one wish would be for them to live a full and happy life. It’s what they would wish for you too.

Happiness during grief can be a gift

Many people are eventually able to find strength from pet loss. A pet’s passing is a sharp reminder that life is short – there is no shame in finding happiness in the time we’re here.

All being well and with time, you will stop feeling guilty about laughing and feeling joy.

Hopefully, you will be able to smile at your happy memories of your pet and they’ll suddenly feel present again – a loved one who lived, not just the loved one that died.

Until that time, know that you’re not alone.

Very best wishes from Shailen and The Ralph Site team
The Ralph Site, non-profit pet loss support

Eleven small gestures that will comfort someone who’s grieving for a pet

We’ve talked in a past blog about how you can support someone who is grieving the loss of a pet. In today’s blog, we’re revisiting this subject with some suggestions about small gestures that can make a big difference during a time of loss.

1. Share a memory

When a pet dies, it’s easy to feel like no one really understands the depth of the loss. By sharing a good or funny memory you have of the animal who has gone, you are telling their bereaved family that their pet mattered to you too.

2. Write a card

Pet bereavement doesn’t share the same rituals as human bereavement. Yet there is growing recognition that, for many of us, pet loss grief is comparable to the grief we feel when a human we love dies.

Sending a sympathy card is a small but powerful gesture to show that you recognise your loved one’s pain.

3. Listen unconditionally

If your grieving loved one feels up to talking about their loss then please try to listen unconditionally. You might be tempted to try to focus on something you see as positive (“At least you can get another cat”) or talk about a time you lost someone (“I felt just the same when …”) but this can end up trivialising the bereaved person’s feelings.

It can be hard but one of the kindest things you can do is just listen.

4. Acknowledge how bad things feel

In conversations about grief, sometimes the very best thing we can do is to acknowledge that things are sad, shocking or unfair. Having someone say, “That must feel really awful” can be a lot more comforting than having someone say, “She had a good life” or “At least it wasn’t a person you’ve lost”.

5. Tell your loved one that you’re thinking of them

Being sad and grieving is a lonely experience. It can mean the world to receive a text that says, “I’m thinking of you”.

6. Offer some practical help

Even simple everyday tasks can feel impossible when you’re grieving. People often say things like, “Let me know if I can help in any way” but the bereaved person may not follow up on this.

Instead, try saying, “I’m popping to the shop now – what do you need?”, “I’d like to cook a meal for you. Would that be OK?” or “Let me pick the kids up from school tonight so that you can have a break”.

7. Be careful about the language you use

The language we use to talk about death is interesting. It’s such a daunting topic that people often slide into euphemisms such as “passed away” or “no longer with us” to talk around the subject. Some people find this comforting but others don’t. Many feel it’s okay to talk about death and dying – after all, that’s what has happened.

Our advice is to follow the lead of the bereaved person or even to ask them outright what language they feel comfortable with.

8. Give your loved one something to hug or hold

Part of the pleasure of caring for an animal is the tactile connection you make with them. If your loved one doesn’t have any other pets, they may be missing the comfort of holding and stroking their companion.

Sometimes, giving them a cuddly toy, pillow or even a blanket to hug or hold can be soothing. They’ll probably appreciate a hug from you too!

9. Check in with your loved one regularly

If support is offered when someone’s grieving, it’s usually in the days and weeks immediately following the bereavement. But grief can hang around for a lot longer. Pet carers often appear to be coping well because it’s what our society asks of them, but your loved one may struggle without their companion for a long time to come.

Try to check in with them regularly to ask if they’re okay, offer support and let them talk about their pet if they want to.

10. Contribute to a cause in honour of your loved one’s pet

If you’d like to do something to honour your loved one’s pet, perhaps you could donate to or volunteer to support a cause in their name?

For example, you could tell your grieving friend or family member that you’ve donated some blankets to the local cat rescue or sponsored a dog in kennels. It’s a way of keeping the pet’s memory alive in a positive, life-affirming way.

11. Refer your loved one to further sources of support

Sometimes people who have lost a pet need some extra support. It can be helpful to talk to others who have experienced a similar loss and understand its impact.

If you feel that your loved one needs more support, you could tell them about pet bereavement counsellors, The Blue Cross Pet Bereavement Service, Paws to Listen grief support from Cats Protection, or The Ralph Site’s private Facebook group.

Above all, just remind your loved one that they’re not alone.

As always, very best wishes from Shailen and The Ralph Site team
The Ralph Site, non-profit pet loss support

Lessons in Pet Loss Grief

Before you experienced pet loss grief for the first time, it was probably something you hadn’t thought about much.

Why would you?

No-one wants to think about how a relationship will end when it’s in full swing.

When you bring a pet into your home, there’s the first rush of love and excitement – the getting to know you phase – before you settle into the rhythms and routines of everyday life.

Then, one day, pet loss and grief take centre stage, either completely out of the blue or as a slow, creeping presence that you realise is edging nearer.

However it comes, your bereavement can turn your world upside down.

In this week’s blog, we’ve put together a list of 45 things we wish we’d known about pet loss grief before it happened:

  1. No matter how prepared you think you are, you’re never ready for the death and loss of a loved animal friend
  2. You can wish for the ‘perfect’ death for your pet but sometimes death will have other ideas – that isn’t your fault
  3. Everyone grieves differently – there is no right or wrong way
  4. Every loss is valid – don’t let anyone tell you that your loss doesn’t matter
  5. Grief is a journey, not a place to stay
  6. There is no such thing as closure, only time and a gradual acceptance
  7. Grief has no timeline – you can’t rush it or ignore it and, in some way, it will stay with you forever
  8. Pet bereavement is often known as a disenfranchised grief because it’s not widely recognised in our society
  9. A sudden or traumatic loss can shape your grief – not getting to say goodbye is heart-breaking
  10. In many ways, every death is sudden
  11. Bereavement isn’t just caused by death – a missing pet or pet taken due to a relationship break-up can be just as devastating
  12. Guilt is a common emotion to feel when you’re grieving
  13. You might feel angry too
  14. You’re the only person who has a right to say how you feel
  15. It’s fine to ignore the idea that there are five stages of grief!
  16. Anticipatory grief means you may start grieving for your pet while they’re still alive, especially if you have a terminally ill or older pet
  17. You may find it hard to sleep after your pet dies
  18. Some people experience anxiety or depression following pet loss – help is available
  19. Your routine may change when your pet dies, especially if they were your only pet – it’s natural to grieve the loss of familiar routines
  20. “Why?” and “What if?” are impossible questions to answer – the secret is to find a way to accept not knowing (“If only” won’t help you either)
  21. Grief lasts longer than sympathy
  22. People often feel awkward about death and may say the ‘wrong’ things by accident – they still care
  23. Not everyone understands how much losing an animal friend can hurt but there are some wonderful people who do
  24. If someone offers support, say yes
  25. Life after euthanasia can be full of conflicting emotions – you’re not alone
  26. Small pets can be a big loss
  27. You can’t officially take pet bereavement leave in the UK but there may be ways to have some time off work if you need it
  28. Some people feel they want a new pet in their life straight away while others don’t feel ready for some time (if ever) – there are still ways to spend time with animals
  29. If you have other pets, they may grieve too
  30. You may find memorialising your pet comforting – a way to celebrate their life
  31. Special days and anniversaries can be hard to deal with
  32. Grief is like a ball in a box
  33. “Grief is just love with no place to go.”
  34. Grief can make you question many things but that isn’t always a bad thing
  35. Your pet’s last day or the circumstances of their death may play on repeat in your mind for a long time – it won’t always be that way; gradually, happier memories of their life will surface
  36. You can’t protect children from pet loss grief but you can help them cope
  37. Sometimes your grief will get worse before it can get better
  38. Grief can make it terrifying to love another pet because of the fear of facing the same feelings again one day (but remember all the good times that come before bereavement)
  39. You can’t compare grief or losses, even though people will try as a means to comfort you
  40. Many people find it helpful to speak to a pet bereavement counsellor or speak to other bereaved pet carers in a forum like The Ralph Site’s Facebook group
  41. It’s OK to cry
  42. It’s also OK if you can’t or don’t want to cry
  43. Life will never go back to how it was before your loss but you will find a new ‘normal’
  44. Be kind to yourself always
  45. Nothing will ever change the love you had for your pet

You’re not alone

Whether you lost a pet today or years ago, we hope this list gives you some comfort and serves as a reminder that, however you’re feeling, you’re not alone.

If there’s anything you’d like to add to the list, please leave a comment below.

As always, very best wishes from Shailen and The Ralph Site team
The Ralph Site, non-profit pet loss support

The right time? Measuring your dying pet’s quality of life

As pet carers, the decision about whether or not to have a precious animal companion euthanised (or ‘put to sleep’) is one that many of us will have to face. If you have a pet that’s terminally ill or very old, the chances are that the topic of euthanasia will be on your mind.

You may have a lot of questions.

Should you let nature take its course? Is euthanasia preferable to a ‘natural’ death? Will you know when it’s the right time?

The question of timing can be one of the most daunting – we don’t want to let go too soon but what if we leave it too late?

People will often tell you that you’ll know when it’s the ‘right’ time to euthanise a pet but the reality is that it isn’t always obvious, especially if your pet is experiencing a slow decline.

Quality of Life

The concept of a ‘quality of life’ recognises that life is made up of good and bad experiences but that there must be a balance between the two. This is particularly discussed in the context of animal welfare.

We all know that poorly animals can have good and bad days, just like humans, but many feel that when a tipping point has been reached and an animal has more bad experiences than good because of their health – and if there is no reasonable hope of recovery – then we have to ask whether there is still an acceptable quality of life.

Knowing this, experts have devised a number of different systems for measuring an animal’s quality of life.

It may sound dispassionate but some people find that these systems can help you to review whether or not your pet is suffering at a time when it’s hard to see clearly.

The right to five freedoms

One such system is the ‘Five Freedoms’. According to the Animal Humane Society, these are internationally accepted standards of care that affirm every living being’s right to humane treatment. These standards were developed by Britain’s Farm Animal Welfare Council in 1965 and adapted by the Association of Shelter Veterinarians for companion animals in shelters. 

Although the Five Freedoms initially related to husbandry practices when keeping farm animals, they are a good starting point for assessing your pet’s quality of life.

1.      Freedom from hunger and thirst

Every animal should have access to species-appropriate food as well as fresh water.

We can use this freedom as a measure for quality of life.

Is your pet able to eat and drink? A good quality of life is often still possible with a change of diet, hand feeding and other adaptations. However, if your pet is no longer physically able to eat or drink, it may be a sign that their body is shutting down.

2.      Freedom from discomfort

Animals should have the right type of environment, including shelter and somewhere comfortable to rest.

If your pet is no longer able to rest without discomfort or move easily within their environment then this can be another sign that their quality of life is decreasing.

3.      Freedom from pain, injury or disease

The Five Freedoms state that animals should have freedom from pain, injury or disease, either by prevention or by rapid diagnosis and treatment.

But what happens when you can’t cure an animal because they are hurt beyond repair or terminally ill?

In most cases, it will mean looking at the other four freedoms. Is your pet still able to eat and drink? Can they sleep without being in pain or move around? Are they calm and relaxed?

4.      Freedom to express normal behaviour

Freedom Four says that an animal should be able to stand up, lie down, turn round, stretch their limbs and groom all parts of the body.

You may feel that ‘normal behaviour’ covers other things that your pet enjoys or needs, like being able to go to the toilet or showing interest in their surroundings.

If your pet is no longer able to express their usual behaviour then it’s important to discuss this with your vet, as well as your pet’s immediate family.

5.      Freedom from fear and distress

Freedom Five is about your pet’s state of mind as well as their physical state. Of course, it’s hard for an animal to tell us if they feel frightened or afraid but you know them better than anyone. If you feel that your pet is distressed and that their condition is unlikely to improve, you might want to consider euthanasia.

‘Quality of life’ questionnaire

Even with the Five Freedoms, it can be difficult to determine your pet’s quality of life. What if they’re struggling with one of the five freedoms but seem okay in the other four areas so far?

Another challenge that many of us face is when the animal’s quality of life deteriorates slowly or you’re presented with a diagnosis that tells you they will decline rapidly over a short period of time in the near future.

In all of these scenarios, when is the right time to consider euthanasia?

One helpful tool is a quality of life (QOL) questionnaire. This can help you to define your pet’s quality of life today and then monitor how it progresses.

A good example is on the Cinque Port Vets website.

As you can see, this questionnaire asks you to score your pet’s wellbeing in six key areas (score 2 for normal/good, 1 for poor/reduced or 0 for none):

  1. Mobility (Good/poor/bare minimum)
  2. Appetite (Good/poor/none – vomiting/nausea)
  3. Hydration/thirst (Good/poor/requires oral or intravenous (i.e. a drip) fluids)
  4. Interaction/attitude (Normal/reduced/none – only contact is when you instigate it)
  5. Toilet habits (Normal/reduced/little to no output)
  6. Favourite things (Normal/reduced/no interest)

You could also add categories for your pet’s heart rate, blood sugar or other measurable factors and score in quarter and half points if you notice a slight increase or decrease in any of the categories.

There are, of course, various other QOL scales/scoring systems. An online search will lead you to others to consider until you find one that works for you and your pet.

What the Quality of Life (QOL) score means

When using a questionnaire like this, it’s advised that you think about what the different overall scores mean to you.

For example, you could decide that a score of:

  • 12-9 means everything is OK for now – your pet is still enjoying their life
  • 8-6 means that your pet may need support from you or the vet – this could mean that their treatment needs adjusting to increase the score
  • 5-0 means that your pet’s quality of life is significantly lower than you would want it to be and it might be time to consider euthanasia

It can be helpful to have this sort of baseline in your head. That way, you can remind yourself that “Today’s QOL score is eight. It’s not time yet” or “His score is just four now, which means he’s got little to no normality in most aspects of his life”.

If you don’t have to make an immediate decision, you will probably find it helpful to track your pet’s QOL score on a daily basis.

With an elderly or terminally ill pet, it can be hard to pinpoint a clear downward turn in your pet’s quality of life as there is often a mixture of good and bad days.

You may find, however, that when you track the QOL score every day, you suddenly notice that you’ve hit a week when there were more fours and fives than sixes. Knowing this, you might feel that a tipping point has been reached.

Trust your instincts and intentions

In many ways, euthanasia as an option for our pets is both a gift and a curse. The ability to prevent unnecessary suffering when there is no hope for recovery is often described as the ‘last kindness’ that we can give our pets. Understandably though, it’s a decision that weighs heavy on pet carers.

Trust that your vet will advocate for your pet and will only suggest euthanasia when all other reasonable options have been exhausted.

While finding ways to measure your pet’s quality of life can be useful, knowing the ‘right’ time usually comes down to trusting your instincts and good intentions towards your pet. You know them better than anyone and you only want what’s best for them.

Different people make different decisions for their pets but that doesn’t make either person wrong.

Whatever you face right now, know that you’re not alone.

Until next time, very best wishes from Shailen and The Ralph Site team
The Ralph Site, non-profit pet loss support