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It's not always about the puppies and kittens..

In the popular HBO series, Game of Thrones, Arya Stark trains with the Braavosi master-sword fighter, Syrio Forel. He claims the only true God is Death.

There is only one thing you say to death:

“Not today.”

Unfortunately, for many of the families we help, sometimes today is the day.

Death always wins the fight in the end...

I spent some time this afternoon doing some grief counseling with a client who needed to euthanize her dog last week. She is an extraordinarily kind, compassionate, and sensitive woman. To the very end, she was completely selfless and wanted to do everything she possibly could to help her dog. Ultimately, she made the right decision. Her poor dog was miserable, and his behavior was deteriorating quickly.

Talking about death and behavioral euthanasia is not something anyone really “likes” to talk about. I don’t really feel qualified to help someone through that process. Working in this specialty it tends to just fall in your lap. After doing it so many times, I’ve started noticing a pattern. Below are the certain things I want all my clients to remember:

  • Quality of life is imperative. Quality over quantity. Don’t be locked in that abusive relationship with your pet. If you’re miserable, your pet is probably miserable too.

  • It’s. Not. Your. Fault.

  • Behavior disorders are a medical disorders. I compare it to liver disease. Lots of dogs may have elevated liver values for years and do fine. Others get sick and go down hill quickly. The same is true with behavior disorders. The brain is an organ; sometimes it’s sick.

  • There are lots of other people who have experienced this same awful decision. I’ve done it. My parents have done it. I’m sure plenty of you have too.

Find comfort in knowing you did what you could with the resources available. I can’t tell you how many times I look back on my own aggressive dog, thinking “if only I knew then what I do now…” We can’t change who we were back then, we can’t change the way things progressed. We can only learn from the experience.

Grieving is normal. Missing your pet is normal. You’re not alone. It’s not your fault.