We associate the word bereavement with loss, death and mourning. The sadness can begin as we realise that our friend is getting older or perhaps is experiencing a chronic or terminal illness. The greying muzzle and the slower pace become signs that we can’t ignore. Our first tears fall when we realise that time is limited.
But this ultimately is a natural part of life, and that is how animals view it. They live in the moment and don’t ponder the days to come. What they do feel however, is our energy, so if we focus on fear and worry they can take on this unease,
In most cases, when an animal comes into our lives we have years of joy, adventures and a wonderful bond. While we are responsible for their care, feeding and health they in turn give us joy, play, protection and a companionship that is different but equal.
When we realise that we have an ill or ageing animal this balance gradually shifts. They become more dependent upon us for their care and this takes time and special effort. We have committed ourselves to their care and give it gladly, but it does impact on our time and convenience. True love requires that we look with honest eyes upon our friend, and meet his needs at every step.
At the Healing Animals Organisation we believe that joy can be found in all phases of life. A HAO registered healer who specialises in Bereavement can help both you and our friend as you walk this path together.
Caring for the Carer
To be at our best to care for our friend requires that we care for ourselves. The analogy of putting your own oxygen mask on in a plane before helping others is appropriate here. Our animals cannot receive and benefit from our care if they feel our stress.
A Precious Time
Rather than focusing on what may come, this can be a precious time. Our animals constantly teach us throughout their lives yet never more so than when they reach their golden years. A senior dog or cat, budgie or rabbit shows us how gentle days and quiet time together can take our relationship to a deeper level. It is a gift to care for an animal who has always ‘been there’ for us.
Keymos is a beloved companion to Susan who is a HAO Graduate Healer. As a senior dog Keymos is a large boy, a Weimaraner who had slowed down a bit with the years.
At 12, Keymos was diagnosed with cancer of the spleen. Although the prognosis was grim, Susan and her partner Dave studied and fought to give him everything he needed to heal. Against the odds and with great care, nutrition and healing, he did. By 14 Keymos had experienced some months of raspy breathing as the cartilage in his throat became brittle with age. Weighing the risks of corrective surgery the decision was taken out of their hands one day when surgery was required. Keymos came through brilliantly, breathing freely, and went home to heal. Two months later he was suddenly hit by a gastric torsion; a condition when the stomach twists over in the abdomen causing a life threatening condition. Two emergency surgeries in one week challenged his body and life force to the limit. During the long night of his second surgery, the vet staff watched during the hours as Susan and Dave lay with Keymos amongst his tubes and monitors. They had called with the news that his body was failing and they didn’t believe he could survive. Susan had called her fellow HAO healers and asked for distant healing for her boy. She said “We went in, ready in our hearts to say good-bye to him.
We told him how much we loved him, shared stories with him, and told him it was OK to pass on if he needed to. That we loved him so much that we wanted him to be at ease, that we would miss him but always have him with us.” Sometime in the dark he began to rally, and the vet staff said he was making medical history. When dawn came he was stable, and looking for breakfast! Susan and Dave went home to get some rest and two days later Keymos went home with them. And he healed. Later that summer, his back legs became paralysed when a disk in his lower back went out. Surgery was an option and by then Susan and Dave were clear in their intention: “Our job is to give him every opportunity that we can to allow him to heal. If he is meant to and wants to heal, he will, and if not that’s his path. We don’t ask him not to leave us, we tell him to do what he needs to do, with our love.” Susan is convinced that the real key to Keymos surviving four major conditions was relieving any stress on him by releasing their needs.
Now close to 16 years old, Keymos is still rehabilitating his back, and has a cart to get around. Some people look at the cart and think ‘oh the poor dog’ then they look at the dog and think again. He is alert, happy, and totally in charge of the younger dogs in their home. His need for care has been long, and his carers are fortunate to have pet insurance to help with the expenses. But their bond has deepened even more and caring for him is a joy. He still plays, still enjoys cuddles, catching a ball and sharing popcorn. Vet care, healing support, real food and most of all, real love keep him thriving.
Keymos at 15 years of age, recovering from back surgery to repair a slipped disk. His cart lets him run and play with his family, and you can tell how happy he is. People look at the cart and think “poor dog!” then they look at the dog and change their minds.
Putting Their Need Ahead of Your Own
Keymos’s story highlights an important lesson for us all. Our animal companions may fight to stay with us when they know we can’t yet let go, regardless of their own pain or effort. We would never truly want that.
If They Need Help to Leave
We all desperately hope that we will never need to make such a decision for our friend. As guardian to our beloved, the time may come that the question of euthanasia has to be considered with your vet. Having done all you can for your pet throughout life, you need to do all you can to give them the blessing of a smooth, gentle transition. It can be a decision that demonstrates the amazing amount of love you have for your pet. Talk through it with your vet, your pet, and your family. This helps reduce much of the anxiety, and you may find that it brings an understanding of what your animal friend feels and needs. You may find that they welcome your help. You may find that they aren’t quite ready. But you both deserve the love and respect required during this time.
Our animal friends give us is an understanding of a life well lived. Learning to be in the moment with them is a priceless gift you can share. A HAO Animal Healer can help you find this still point. Then whatever comes brings only further love.
Finding a Healer
A registered HAO Animal Healer can help in so many ways:
- Guiding you to take that bit of time to relax together furthers your already close bond
- Relieving stress and anxiety helps soothe the mind, body and spirit
- Digestion can be eased and sleep deepened
- Learning to meditate and heal with your animal friend opens your awareness so you can move forward and not dwell on the unknown.
- Healing and relaxation can replace turmoil with comfort and calm for both people and animals.
To find a Healing Animals Organisation Healer in your area, please click here