These ideas for finding peace of mind after you put a dog to sleep are inspired by readers’ comments. For many dog owners, grief is compounded by guilt and regret after a dog is euthanized.
The Paw in Hand Devotion Garden Stone is a lovely way to remember your dog. The stone reads: “Our pets lead us from patience to love, and then to loss….but it is always a journey worth taking.” Finding peace of mind after putting a dog to sleep isn’t about avoiding the pain. It’s about walking through it so you can come out into the light on the other side.
Here’s what one reader said on How to Know When to Put Your Dog Down: “I had to put two of my dogs down and it was the hardest thing I think I’ve ever had to do. One of my dogs we’ve had for 17 years. Saying goodbye was unbearable. She was blind and going deaf. She would go to the bathroom on herself and it was hard to see my dog suffering but what was worse was putting her down! My other dog was 12 years old and he had arthritis really bad. I was there as they were going to sleep and saw the life leave their eyes. I crawled into a ball just bawling in the middle of the room. I am suffering from nightmares now. The guilt I feel is unbearable. How do I find peace of mind after putting a dog to sleep?”
Finding Peace of Mind After Putting a Dog to Sleep
Saying good-bye to a dog you love is one of the most difficult things you’ll ever experience. There are no easy tips on how to find peace of mind, but I do have a few ideas for coping after putting a dog to sleep.
Honor your dog’s life
Losing our dogs is devastating because they are such an ingrained, important part of our lives. My dogs go on most of my errands with me – to the bank, library, church, and even my vacations. They’re almost always by my side. That’s why it’s hard to know how to find peace of mind. After putting a dog to sleep, we lose a crucial part of our lives. Losing a constant companion is like losing a limb.
We’re also deeply attached to our dogs on an emotional level. Dogs are a constant source of unconditional love, loyalty, physical affection, and laughter. They’re vulnerable and authentic, dependent and invaluable. Putting a dog down is like shutting off a light that has burned brightly in our hearts and lives…and this, too, is why it’s hard to know how to find peace of mind.
If you feel responsible for putting a dog to sleep, you may find it helpful to read Dealing With Guilt When You Caused Your Dog’s Death helpful.
Write a tribute to your dog
One of the most important tips on how to find peace of mind after putting a dog down is to take time to write about your dog’s life. The act of writing will help your brain process the shock of losing your dog, Putting your feelings into words will allow emotional expression, which will eventually calm your soul.
How do you write a tribute to your dog? Try answering these questions:
- Who was your dog? Think of his personality, bad and good habits, likes, dislikes, etc.
- What was your dog’s favorite toy or game?
- Describe how your dog was part of your daily life. What will you miss most?
- Was your dog’s death a surprise, or had you prepared yourself for putting your dog to sleep?
- How did you get your dog? Tell the story of bringing your dog home.
- How did your dog change your life?
It may take several hours to answer these questions. I encourage you to give yourself at least a week or two to work through your tribute. Don’t rush it. Allow yourself to feel the pain of putting a dog to sleep. This is how you find peace of mind: by wading through the feelings of shock, devastation, anger, and despair that arise after putting a dog to sleep.
Consider planning a short memorial service for your dog. Read Cremation Urns for Your Dog’s Ashes for ideas on how to say goodbye.
Give yourself time to grieve
Eventually, your heart will heal. You’ll begin to remember your dog with more love than pain, more lightness than despair, more faith than grief. You’ll learn that finding peace after putting a dog to sleep is a long journey that is different for everyone.
In How to Heal Your Heart After Losing a Pet: 75 Ways to Cope With Grief and Guilt When Your Dog or Cat Dies, I share the most valuable, comforting advice I found when I was dealing with the loss of my own dog, Jazz.
I interviewed veterinarians, grief counselors, and pet experts for the best ways to survive the death of a beloved dog, and I included stories from real pet owners who coped with guilt and grief in sometimes surprising ways.
You’ll learn that the pain of putting a dog to sleep does ease – especially if you allow yourself to try different suggestions for how to find peace of mind. If you give yourself time and space to actively grieve (as opposed to avoiding the pain of putting a dog to sleep), you’ll eventually open your heart to love another dog. You’ll be able to offer comfort to others and share hope to the hopeless.
Bow your head
As a Christian, I believe we can only know how to find peace of mind through God. As a reader of writers such as Brene Brown and Tim Keller, I’ve learned that resilience and healing only comes through a strong spiritual connection with something bigger and greater than ourselves.
I pray for healing and peace that surpasses all understanding to come into your life. May your heart be comforted and your soul lifted as you bow your head to your Creator. He loves you. He wants you to have peace of mind. He created you, and He created your dog. God knows how close you and your dog were. Your dog’s soul is resting in His perfect place, and your dog’s spirit will never leave you.
Your dog was a gift, a brief blessing, a glimpse of heaven on earth. May you be free of pain and grief. May you embrace the healing power of acceptance, and surrender to Jesus’ love and power. He knows what He is doing, and He loves you deeply. May you be filled with faith, freedom, and love.
For more tips on how to find peace of mind after putting a dog to sleep, read How to Cope When Your Dog Has Cancer.
I welcome your thoughts on grief and healing after putting your dog to sleep. Writing will help you process your thoughts and feelings, which can help you heal. I can’t offer advice, but your experience will help others learn how to find peace of mind.
“You have left my life, but you will never leave my heart.”