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When it's time to say goodbye to a pet

One of the most difficult things a family does is say goodbye to a beloved pet. It’s a particularly hard experience for children, many of whom have never dealt with the loss of a loved one (animal or human).

Jen Nickens offers a special service for families who are putting a pet down. She often works in conjunction with a local veterinarian who comes into the client’s home rather than taking the ill or aged pet to an office.

“Having a ceremony or ritual at the end of a pet’s life is really great for kids,” said Jen. “It’s a way for them to have closure and send their pet off on its transition.”

Jen typically starts by lighting a candle and gathering the family around it.

“I have each family member tell their favorite store about the pet,” she said. “It’s really a great time to share those positive memories.”

At this point, the veterinarian typically has started the process and will sedate the pet. For those who have never witnessed a pet being put down, the standard process is to give the pet a dissociative injection, which essentially sedates and calms the pet prior to the final injection.

“One this occurs, I do a little energy work on the pet, and ask that the everyone send their energy to help the pet make the transition,” she said. “We tell the pet to go to toward the green light or even if they see someone they know waiting, like the children’s grandmother, to go toward that energy.”

Pets, like humans, are able to sense love and compassion. Jen said that she senses that pets welcome this security as they transition.

“Any creature that is transitioning wants to feel at peace and loved,” she said. “It doesn’t matter if you are an animal or a human being.”

As the veterinarian completes the process, which typically happens quite quickly, Jen will often ask the family to sing a song for the pet.

“As we transition, our senses are still in place to the end,” she said. “The sense of touch and of hearing is there, and this ritual helps families have that last communication with the pet.”

Once the process is complete, Jen said that many families choose to keep the pet and to bury it in a special place.

“I like to provide this service to our clients because it helps families make it through a very traumatic, difficult event,” she said. “It really does bring a sense of closure and allows for a healthy goodbye to a beloved pet.”

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