We all have been in situations where we are confronted with a person suffering a loss. This can be tough – for everyone. What do you say? You want to say something that will make them feel better but if you say the wrong thing it can make them feel much worse. So, what to do in this situation?
Acknowledge their pain.
Clicking the image below will take you to a very good (and short) article about how we tend to try to make it better by showing that it could be worse. It’s called “conversational narcissism” and unless we are self-aware in the moment I think we all are prone. So, take a moment to read this. You will improve your conversational skills and be more prepared the next time a grieving friend needs support.
This article was in the New Your Times recently and talks about several things that are relevant in making the decision to choose hospice or palliative care for your pet. Just as with other forms of treatment, cost is a factor that must be considered. The writer of this article, Ana Homayoun, had pet insurance which covered a lot of her hospice expenses. Insurance can be very helpful but not all insurance policies cover hospice care so it is important to ask about this when choosing a policy.
Ana also talked about reading a book by Atul Gawande called “Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End.” While this book is about human patients the message can apply to any living being. What really is most important – the quantity, or the quality of the life (QOL) you have left? The book helped Ana make choices for her dog Masonthat improved her life as well as his. (By the way, if you haven’t read the book I highly recommend it!)
While we do have more advanced treatment options for our pets than ever before (including specialty surgeries or chemotherapy and radiation) we need to balance the potential risks and benefits of those choices with the potential benefits and outcome with palliative treatment options. In some cases palliative care can deliver the same life expectancy as with conventional therapies and with better comfortand QOL.
And finally, when the end came the author received excellent care and guidance for both herself and her dog. Caring is what we do best.
Article: NY Times Article
I get a lot of calls from pet parents who share their pet’s condition and are looking for more information about in-home euthanasia for “when the time comes”. When I talk to them about considering hospice and palliative care options for their pet in the meantime, they frequently respond with something like “Oh no, doctor! He’s not ready for that yet!” Often the truth is that the pet is very uncomfortable has been ready for this care for quite some time.