Pets

Handling pet death

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  • Aug 15th, 2021 12:38 am
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[OP]
Sr. Member
Jun 11, 2006
550 posts
568 upvotes

Handling pet death

I’ve never owned a pet growing up, and currently only have a fish (really, owned by my daughter). I think I would actually like a dog, but my spouse so far is a nay. Plus, we are a busy household already so not in the near future anyway. But maybe one day :)

That said, one of my hesitations about ever getting a dog is that I’m not sure I could handle the death of one. The thought of having to decide to put a pet down/losing one seems traumatizing, and I don’t even have one! I guess people know this going in, but for me, it’s actually a big deterrent. Is it odd to think this way?
5 replies
Deal Fanatic
Mar 21, 2010
6576 posts
3732 upvotes
Toronto
Look at it from the perspective that the only reason a loss would be painful is because it's a loss. You are moving on from many years of good times. You miss out on those good times by being deterred by the prospect of loss.

That's not to say it's easy, at all. I've had several pets and mourned all those that passed. Those were difficult times but they came at the end of many years of love and joy. I feel privileged to have had them in my life, loss and all, and I would instantly make the same choices again.
Member
Oct 13, 2014
407 posts
695 upvotes
Toronto
This is exactly why I also didn’t want to fully adopt a dog but due to circumstances we ended up fostering an elderly dog indefinitely until the end of his life.

It is incredibly difficult to make the choice and go through with the decision to put your dog down but as previously mentioned, it gives so much perspective. The only reason life is worth living is because it is finite and the death of our foster dog really made me appreciate what we all have in the moment and we will forever cherish the memories we have of him.

So your concern is shared by others. It’s perfectly valid. I hope I’ve shared something useful to you.
Deal Addict
Oct 21, 2006
1078 posts
585 upvotes
it's a pet ffs, you will get over it and move on

don't deny yourself (and possibly your family members) of the joys of owning a pet just because you are too emotionally fragile to handle the loss
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jul 4, 2009
1595 posts
960 upvotes
Windsor, ON area
stack1 wrote: I’ve never owned a pet growing up, and currently only have a fish (really, owned by my daughter). I think I would actually like a dog, but my spouse so far is a nay. Plus, we are a busy household already so not in the near future anyway. But maybe one day :)

That said, one of my hesitations about ever getting a dog is that I’m not sure I could handle the death of one. The thought of having to decide to put a pet down/losing one seems traumatizing, and I don’t even have one! I guess people know this going in, but for me, it’s actually a big deterrent. Is it odd to think this way?
Everyone is different, and everyone handles things differently and if you've never been through pet loss, then you can't really gauge how you would do.

Maybe start off small... You've already done fish and seem ok with it, maybe move up a step and try a guinea pig. They're cute, docile and live about 8 years.

I am a big worrier, and the worse part for me is not the death part, it's the sickness before. Taking care of a sick pet and worrying about their quality of life is hard. You want to make the right decision for them and you don't want them to suffer. In the end, I chose to have another dog after my last one died, because I think it's worth it. The joy a pet brings is worth the sadness their death brings.
Newbie
Jan 1, 2007
6 posts
3 upvotes
Vancouver
The death of a pet is absolutely traumatizing in it's own way, as others have mentioned. You will mourn their loss as you do the loss of other relationships with those you love. That said, I echo the sentiment above in saying that you can't live your life in fear of a pain which will ultimately come. You love your parents knowing you'll lose them. You make friends knowing they may die and you will mourn them. All of these things enrich your life, despite their hardships and potentially heartbreaking endings. Don't hold back due to fear.

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