How are pets impacted when a spouse dies?

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My friend, Dr. Guy Pidgeon, was CEO at the Animal Medical Center in New York City for many years, and was exposed to many challenging situations involving pets. One of the most challenging situations can occur when a spouse passes away. When a person’s human partner passes, there are many issues to cope with. The surviving spouse’s feelings may range all over the spectrum. Family pets also suffer from such a loss. More often than not spouse and pet provide each other with friendship and consolation. The pet may be an endeared last living link to one’s deceased partner. Sometimes pets are upset enough that tranquilizers or anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) drugs may prove helpful.
At times, however, a surviving partner may move or may not want to be tied down with the pet; or, if the pet had really been much more of a companion to the deceased, a spouse may decide that they have to find it a new home or, depending upon circumstances (old and ill, extreme behavior, unable to adapt to a new home), euthanize said animal. Occasionally such a decision may result from not being able to control the animal, physically or behaviorally. So, upon a partner’s passing, there may be significant issues and decisions to be grappled with. Pet lovers, therapists, relatives and rescue groups are all available.
Have you thought about this issue, or had to deal with it in your experience?


© Dr. Charles A. Cohen and PetsOnTime, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Dr. Cohen and/or PetsOnTime is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Dr. Charles A. Cohen and PetsOnTime with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Posted in Pet Care Tales | Tags: ,
How are pets impacted when a spouse dies?
This post has 1 comment.
  1. Dr. Cohen says:

    I should add that drugs used for management of anxiety may include anxiolytics such as Xanax® or its generic equivalent zolazepram,tranquilizers such as acepromazine (a handy drug, but not as physiologically appropriate) and over-the-counter agents (appealing, but for significant issues not so great). Don’t forget giving you pet extra attention and reasonable exercise are also useful.

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