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Clients have so many concerns at the end of a pet’s life:  Is she suffering?  Do I need to euthanize him?  How will I know when it’s time?  Is he hanging on just for me, or does she want to stay?  She died last week and I can’t help it, I have to know she’s not angry with me.

From my perspective, pets seem to understand that they’ve had other lifetimes, with more to come.  it seems to make them more tolerant of various indignities and this is comforting.  For example, I once had a cat tell his human not to worry about the chronic kidney failure.

“I’ve never had it before,” he told me.  “I thought I’d try it this time.”

(Wait, what?)

Then there was the cat who’d grown terribly thin but his doting person never noticed until after the cat died.  The human was distraught but later the cat told me, “I didn’t want her to notice so I hid it.”

He had his eye on a new adventure and he was eager to make his transition.  The woman saw him; she fed and petted him, he slept on her bed. But the cat hid his weight loss from her like a baggy sweatshirt.  Now that’s power.

The standard poodle had cancer.  Take the leg, said the vet at the nationally-ranked animal hospital. 

I don’t want my leg removed, the dog said.  Tell her, he urged.

I told her; she went on to have the leg removed.  He should have lived for some time but I marveled; within three weeks he’d found a way to die and when I checked in with him he couldn’t have been happier.  He’d been sorely inconvenienced, hadn’t he?  But he was so compassionate toward his person and why not?  She’d done the best she could.

I see how freeing it is for pets to be out of the body.  Lots of floating, and emotional and physical lightness.  Some are aware of their people’s sadness, but most have a neutrality that’s comforting.   Well, she’s sad but it won’t last forever.

Some show me how their passing makes room for the person to step up and show what they’ve learned from the pet.  I experience the energy of jobs well done, and the energy of completion.  I see lots of pride.

What I don’t see is anger at the person, frustration, unfinished business, sorrow.

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