How do you know when it’s time to say goodbye?

We understand that the needs of your pet change as they age.

Assessing the quality of life of your pet can be difficult. Quality of life means different things to each family that we work with and is highly dependent on the disease process your pet is suffering from and the overall personality of your pet. We are here to help you through this most important stage of life. The resources below can help to evaluate your pet’s quality of life in different ways. If you would like to do an assessment of your pet’s quality of life or discuss end-of-life care for your pet, please reach out.

Quality of Life Resources

Journeys Home Pet Euthanasia Quality of Life Scale for Pets

The University of Tennessee Quality of Life Scale

Lap of Love Quality of Life Scale

How Will I Know
It’s Time?

Pet Loss Support Resources

Pet Loss Support Group
What: This free support group is sponsored by Capital Veterinary Specialists and facilitated by Dr. Tracey Morse, Licensed Psychologist.

When: Held the first Tuesday of each month from 6 pm – 7:30 pm

Where: Morse Therapy Group, 1114 E Tennessee Street, Tallahassee, FL 32308

Reservations Required: To reserve a seat or for more information, please send an email to morse@morsetherapygroup.com or call 850-556-7944 x2. Please include name(s) of attendees, phone number or email address, and date attending. You can also call Capital Veterinary Specialists at 850-597-9764.

Helping Children When a Pet Dies

Death and dying are two of the hardest facts of life to explain to children. Very often, the loss of a family pet is the first encounter a child may have with death. A pet symbolizes many things to each child, such as a playmate and a sibling. A pet loves unconditionally, is faithful, patient, and always welcoming. This is a difficult adjustment for children when the pet dies and is no longer there to welcome them at the door, lick their arms and legs, and play.

Explaining Pet Loss to Children

Be open and honest – don’t lie or use euphemisms like “gone away,” “passed on,” or “lost” – this only clouds understanding and can increase fear. Use the words “death” and “dying” to make your meaning clear. Keep the explanation simple.

Make sure the child understands (at their developmental age level) what “dying” means.

Share your feelings regarding the death and validate the child. Let them know it is ok to be angry, disappointed, or cry.

Encourage conversations about the deceased pet and what the child misses about the pet. One of the best ways to explain pet loss to children is to read them a story.

Some Ways Parents and Caregivers Can Help A Child Memorialize Their Pet:

  • Have a memorial service/burial/placement of ashes.
  • Create a memory box or book.
  • Plant a tree or garden in remembrance of the pet.
  • Write a goodbye letter or poem.
  • Write or sing a song about the pet
  • Get a paw imprint from the pet
  • Draw or paint a goodbye picture.
  • Watch for your child’s cues that indicate he/she may be ready for a new pet. Children need some time between the death of their pet and caring for a new one.

Remember that children are quite resilient and usually are able to accept the death of their pets. However, if your child appears to be upset for a prolonged period of time or if you are concerned about their reactions to the loss of their pet, talk with a professional who is familiar with childhood grief.

Books for Kids

The Legend of the Rainbow Bridge by William N. Britton
Saying Goodbye to Lulu by Corinne Demas
The Rainbow by Bridge Niki Behrikis Shanahan
Goodbye Mog by Judith Kerr
I’ll Always Love You by Hans Wilheim
Dog Heaven by Cynthia Rylant
Cat Heaven by Cynthia Rylant
The 10th Best Thing About Barney by Judith Viorst