N.B This post contains links that will redirect you to my Amazon Affiliate Program.
This is the hardest moment we have to face being a dog parent. Preparing yourself, before the rainbow bridge arrives, will help you handle the death of your Lhasa Apso. My own Lhasa Apso, Lucky, is seventeen years old and I am preparing myself mentally and emotionally now for that day.
Preparing for your dog’s death is emotionally difficult. Follow the 17 tips below, prepare yourself for that day when your beloved Lhasa dies. This is the hardest day you must encounter being a Lhasa parent, these tips can help in your impending separation.
Having an old Lhasa myself I am preparing myself emotionally and mentally now. These are the steps I am taking. If your Lhasa is nearing the rainbow bridge period, read on and prepare yourself.
- Accepting their death
- Spend more time together
- Talk to your Children
- Comfort for your dog
- Spend More Time Together
- Comfort Your Dying Dog
- Do Dogs Show Signs That They Are Dying?
- The Decision You Have To Make
- That Guilty Feeling
- Forgive Yourself
- Why is it Painful to Lose your Lhasa Apso?
- Greiving for Your Lhasa Apso
- Organizing the Cremation
- Chosing a Memorial Stone
- Life Goes On
- Chose a New Pet or Not
- Some Useful Numbers Where You can Get Help
Accepting Their Death
Accepting the fact that your dog has a shorter lifespan than you will help, they are therefore, unfortunately, going to pass over the Rainbow bridge before we do. This passing away when it occurs will affect you emotionally to such a degree that you might need outside help with the loss of your pet.
As your Lhasa Apso becomes older you will notice they are less active, just like old people, they will sleep so much more. My own Lucky sleeps nearly all day now, his cataracts have made him totally blind, it is so sad to see him looking up at me, but I am nowhere where he is looking. Nearly all of his teeth have fallen out and to put the cherry on the cake he is completely deaf.
Talk To Your Children
If you have young children then you must also talk to them explaining that your beloved K9 family member is very old and like humans will die soon. Preparing your children beforehand will relieve you of trying to explain to them when it’s too late. They are going to be very upset and will ask you so many questions. You don’t have to go into fine details if your dog is suffering from cancer or another disease.
Young children as they grow up with a Lhasa Apso, that can live for as long as 14 to 20, will talk to their pet as they would to one of their friends. There will be an enormous bond between them. Chloé my daughter who is now 24 years old has been with Lucky for 17 years, treating him just like a baby at first, pushing him around in a pushchair, then as he grew she put ribbons all through his hair.
Even now when she goes skiing on a winter holiday she takes Lucky along, puts on his little snow boots to keep his feet warm and free from salts on the footpaths. You can read all about taking your Lhasa Apso on a winter holiday on this post which I am sure will help you when you take your Lhasa Apso skiing.
Spend More Time Together
Now that you have noticed death is approaching I advise you to spend much more time together. Since I have created this website about Lucky I am setting aside special time for him now. Once he has gone it will be too late to have these precious moments together. Although we no longer chase each other around the garden we do have walks together. I even use the time brushing him to be close together, talking loudly and closely into his ear hoping he can still hear me, giving him a massage at the same time, I know he really enjoys that.
As you spend time together, why not capture those moments with a camera and build up an album of photos so that you can remember the good times together. When you’re feeling sad and down, missing your pet, you can reach for your album of photos and reminisce, this will help in your grieving. Having a small box with some personal items from your dog will give you a physical remembrance, to hold and smell their presence.
Comfort For Your Dying Dog
If your Lhasa Apso is old or has an illness that is terminal then you will, of course, want to make their last moments with you as comfortable as possible. You do not want to see your pet in pain and suffering so do consult your veterinarian for painkilling medication. After so many years together your pet is going to need you more now than ever before.
An older dog without a terminal illness is going to need a quiet and calm environment, having less children and visitors coming to your home will assist in this calmness. Going for leisurely walks together and stopping frequently so they do not become too tired. Profit from these rest moments during your walk to caress and talk to your pet to let them know you love them.
Once home make sure that they are comfortable in their bed and have familiar items around them that they have grown up with. These could be their special sleeping blankets or a soft chewy toy that they enjoy. Extra spoiling will give them additional comfort, this could be allowing them to sleep at the foot of your bed, or moving their own bed closer to you in the evening whilst you are watching TV or when you go to your bedroom, why not bring their bed inside so that they sense your closeness to them.
Do Dogs Give Signs That They Are Dying?
As that dreadful day approaches do dogs give any signs that they are about to die? Signs can manifest in different ways. Your dog may become very tired in a short period of time. They could also start to lose interest in you, probably not wanting to welcome you home. They can also go off their food and water.
Your dog may become so tired that they lay in the same place all day not moving, this will lead to messing themselves by not going outside to the toilet. If we look at these signs from our dogs, they are also typical signs of humans that are dying.
Difficulty in breathing varying from heavy and long drawn out spaces between each breath. Your pet dog knows their time is approaching to go over the Rainbow Bridge, they may come towards you more looking for your support, love and care. Talk to them softly, stroke them gently. Try to reassure them that you are there, and will be there next to them at the end.
The Decision You Have To Make
Part of preparing yourself for your pets passing away is at some point you are going to have to make a very difficult decision. If your beloved Lhasa Apso is suffering from a lot of pain you will need to decide weather to let them continue suffering. Or take them to the vet’s to be put to sleep. This choice will end their suffering. Although a heartbreaking decision which will tear you apart, it has to be made, and you alone are the only person what can make this decision.
Talk to your veterinarian, with their experience they will be able to assistek in making the decision easier for you. They will explain to you the reasons why that choice must be made. Allowing your suffering pet to live on is your last hope to stay with them. This choice is selfish and does not show love or compassion.
That Guilty Feeling.
Being a pet parent has many responsibilities, from the first day to the last day you will feel responsible for everything concerning your dog, including things out of your control, when your dog has to go over the Rainbow Bridge is the ultimate example.
When a situation occurs which you are unable to handle, you will feel guilty because of the outcome.
Feeling helpless and not being able to save your dog will bring on many emotional feelings. The most difficult to overcome personally is the feeling of guilt, this will be more profound especially if you had to choose to have your pet put to sleep.
Although having to choose to put your pet out of their suffering is enormously hard to accept I would like to tell you a story of one of my friends. This friend of mine had a Jack Russell that followed him everywhere. This little dog was once torn open buy a wild boar, luckily the veterinarian saved him and stitched him up. All was well until one day sadly when moving his car my friend unintentionally drove over his Jack Russell and killed him by accident.
My friend was heartbroken of course, that guilty feeling he must have had at that time would have been more difficult to deal with than if he had to put him to sleep. He killed his dog accidentally, he would never have done this purposely, this is where he needed to get over his guilty feeling and the shame that had engulfed him.
It is natural to feel guilty after your pet’s death, the first thing you must do to overcome your guilty feelings is to forgive yourself. Not as easy as it sounds, if your guilty feelings are left inside they will devour you. Although it may take time you have overcome this emotional hurdle, thereafter your life can continue normally.
If your pet was suffering from a terminal illness putting them to sleep has relieved them of enormous sufferings. Try and remember this as you forgive yourself, choosing the terrible choice you had to make could be classed as a farewell gift, the gift of taking away suffering.
Remember all the positive moments and things that you did together, positive thoughts will overcome negative thoughts and help you to forgive yourself.
Why is it Painful to Lose your Lhasa Apso?
This question can be answered by one word, Love.
More than likely in your teenage years you had a boyfriend or a girlfriend that you were deeply in love with. Then one day he or she decided to end your relationship, wow weren’t you heartbroken that time? It was painful to lose your partner.
The same applies when we lose our little four-legged friends. Most Lhasa Apso parents acquire their new love when they are a few weeks old. You grow up together and an unbreakable bond is formed, teaching them potty training, obedience, laughing at their comical antics, they are just like having children.
That moment when they leave us and pass over the Rainbow Bridge will be so painful, the same pain you felt when you were a teenager, the same pain as if we have lost a child, the same pain when we lose a family member.
Grieving for your Lhasa Apso
After accepting the passing away of your pet, the guilty feelings you had, the process of forgiving yourself will have taken its toll on you emotionally. Once these first three processes have been overcome it is time now to attack the final process, grieving.
How long will it take to grieve and overcome the loss? It varies enormously from person to person. In some cases, the person may never overcome the loss of their pet and will grieve always over them. Having your little four legged friends removed from your life, obviously, you will miss them.
At the beginning of this grieving you are going to be constantly thinking about them, this is normal of course. At the start you’re going to feel really sad, as the days and weeks go by you will start to have better days and your sadness will even out. After a few months your happier days will overcome sad days and you will be able to remember your little friend with happy memories.
There will be a empty space in your heart that needs to be filled again. I have said to myself when my Lhasa Apso Lucky passes over the Rainbow Bridge I will never have another dog because I know my heart would be broken again. If you are in the same mind as I then try and fill that empty space with a hobby or meeting new friends where you can talk about your pet who has crossed the Rainbow Bridge.
Organizing the Cremation
When I was a youngster and lived on a farm we had many pets, cats and dogs, when these died they were given a burial in the grounds. Unfortunately with today’s laws on hygiene we are no longer allowed to bury our pets on our grounds, they must be cremated first. If you find this task too hard emotionally for you to organise, you can ask your veterinarian to make the arrangements in your place.
Depending on your wishes you could ask the crematorium to return your pets ashes to you, alternatively you could ask the crematorium to spread the ashes in an area of their grounds where you could place a memorial and visit from time to time.
If you prefer to have your Lhasa Apsos ashes near you at home, then keeping them in a beautiful urn especially for pets would be the best option. This is totally acceptable and you will have a constant reminder of the good times together. I have been looking at some models of urns for Lucky, he is so special to me at I would like his presence in my home when he goes over the Rainbow Bridge.
Here is one urn I have found that pleases me, the one I will be purchasing for Lucky, this nice small urn with a lovely little dogs paw on top appeals to me and I think you would find it ideal for our small Lhasa Apsos. You can view it on this link here. With a secure lid that screws down, making sure your pet’s ashes remain securely inside, no accidents can occur, because the lid cannot fall off.
Choosing a Memorial Stone
Once you have your pet’s ashes back at home or they have been spread in the crematorium you might like to purchase a memorial in their honor. Creating a memorial area in your own garden or in the crematorium grounds will give you that quiet place where you can be emotionally and spiritually together again with your pet.
The day when it happens and I receive Lucky’s Ashes and I place them in that urn, I will, of course, bury him in the grounds and to mark that place I am going to purchase a headstone, this will have a photograph of him, laser-cut into the stone, you can personalize the text as you wish, there are four different sizes available and I have chosen this one which is 11 inches by 8.5 inches
Life Goes On
How many times have we all heard that expression, Life Goes On, it’s easy to say to others, when it is us that are suffering those words are much harder to swallow.
The best way to face life head-on, after the death of your pet, is to pour out your heart to people, friends, and family that will listen to you, to take the burden off your heart. Unloading the burden that is laid upon your heart will help you face life in the future. As I said earlier, taking on a hobby, making new friends, will help you face life in front of you.
Choose a New Pet or Not?
Now a few months have passed by and you have come to terms with your loss, do you choose a new pet or not? I personally think at my age, I am 67, I would prefer not to choose a new pet but to carry on the rest of my time remembering the good moments with Lucky, the fun we had, the times he made me laugh with his special little character, the times when he made me mad, but these were few and far between. As all of us Lhasa Apso parents know our chosen breed has a special character, and temperament, if you are new to this breed or are considering purchasing or adopting a Lhasa Apso, It would be helpful for you to read about their temperament here.
You may decide that you want another companion in your life, this is totally acceptable, don’t rush into your choice, take your time. Do you want a small dog? or are you going to change breed completely and go for a large dog, bearing in mind large dogs do not live as long as small dogs
Having spent time grieving and mourning your last pet, which may have taken a few months. You now feel this is the time to acquire a new pet companion. When accepting a new pet they are not going to replace your last pet, just as humans all have different characters so do animals, your new pet will have their own character and their own ways which will be different from your last pet. Keep this in mind as you build a new relationship between you.
Some useful numbers where you can get help
I really do hope this post has helped you to prepare for your pets passing over the Rainbow Bridge or if it has happened recently then the second part of this post will help you grieve and overcome the loss of your Lhasa Apso.
Whilst compiling this post and learning for myself many tips I also came across some help phone numbers, they may be of use for you if you are finding it too difficult to manage on your own over the loss of your pet.
If you live in the U.S you can call; ASPCA Pet Loss hotline at 877-474-3310
If you live in the U.K you can call; Pet Bereavement Support Services at 0800 096 6606
If you live in Canada visit; Pacific animal therapy societies grief resources
Living in other countries visit; chances spot to find support near you
My personal Thoughts for You
My final comments are to any of you preparing the imminent death of your pet, probably your dog is suffering. For those of you that have recently lost your pet, and for those of you that have to make that terrible decision, whether or not you put your pet to sleep now or let them live on and suffer. My heart and my thoughts go out to you, I know you are going through a difficult time and you feel all alone at this time, in the decision that you will have to make, alone in your grief and mourning, alone without your four-legged companion beside you. May your God bless you all and give you the strength in this difficult time.
Although having had many pets throughout my life, each one when it passed away was heartbreaking. I know my turn is coming when Lucky is going to go over that Rainbow Bridge and I am going to suffer again.