This morning, I read about Monty’s passing on Huffington Post. Tom Hanks had used his WhoSay account to say goodbye to his beloved dog Monty.
The blurb was “Monty. Deep brown eyes, noble demeanor, finest dog ever. A sad day. Goodbye Big Boy. Hanx,”
Although it was a brief description, more than 230 members of his tribe responded with their “so sorry for your loss”. As pet owners, this is one thing we have in common–one day in the near and far, to say goodbye to our beloved furry family member. I wondered if Tom had to make that fateful decision when Monty was going to take his last breath. Worry, guilt, despair, anger, are just some of the emotions that accompany “doing the right thing”.
What if it could be a different experience for all of the finest dogs ever?
What if you could be a change agent and leave a legacy behind?
As Sarah Sypniewski so eloquently put it, “But what if it didn’t have to be like that? What if there was a different way? What if you and your dog could actually enjoy those final moments—even days—together? What if you could do it on your own terms, free from desperate Hail Marys, medical procedures, and gripping stress?”
Sarah, her partner Kim, owners of Bark Pet photography joined us this summer as we celebrated the life of Casey Chew with a Life Celebration party. The next day was difficult, but with a sense of peace in being able to give Casey this final gift. (You can read more about it here, in the holiday issue of Citydog magazine.) Here is a video about Casey the morning of her transition.
It’s been 5 months since Casey’s transition. And her legacy to unfold daily. Last week, as we participated in the shooting of a documentary about pet loss (Furever, a film by fabulous Amy Finkel) thoughts of how to share this gift with the world kept coming up in conversation. Currently, I mostly work with clients who come to me after the loss of their beloved animal companion. I know in my heart that the experience of enjoying those final days and moments with Casey on our terms brought me much peace and comfort. It would pave the way for a different sort of grieving experience.
I shared the article with Scott Kemp of Fabulous Fido, and he responded with a wonderful life celebration of Suki and a photo.
“This is a beautiful article! We did something similar for our 10 year old flat coat retriever suffering from cancer. Suki put up a brave fight for about a year. Never a whimper or a complaint. It all become apparent one morning when she lost that sparkle in her eye and responsiveness to people. So that day, we arranged for the vet to come to our home. Prior to the vet, Suki and all her friends (our 5 other dogs) enjoyed a steak dinner. Suki loved car rides so she also had her final ride around the countryside. That night when the vet come to our home, we sat with Suki on her favorite couch with her laying on our laps. We all (dogs included) celebrated her life and companionship as our final good-byes were done in the comfort of her home and not on a cold steel table. She now sits in a box in the room where her favorite couch is and where she spent most of her time.
We deserve to treat our “companions” with dignity in their final days. It was a tough decision to make but Suki was ready.
Thanks for sharing.”
For all pet parents out there, know that you have the opportunity to create the most special lasting memory with your beloved animal companion, on your own terms.
A life celebration party, special car ride, steak dinner, these are just a few of the ways you can say goodbye to your beloved four-legged family member. The Sunday with Casey will forever be in my heart. Email me if you would like to share your tails of love, or if I can support you in creating a lasting legacy for you and your family. Even in loss, there are blessings–if we continue to ope our eyes and our hearts to them. For now, we bid a fond farewell to Monty as he joins his pals over rainbow bridge.