Saying Good-Bye to a Beloved Pet

Honoring a pet’s life—by choosing to end it.

There is nothing worse than receiving news that your pet is ill and won’t recover. The hard reality smacked me in the face on August 20, 2012. We took our pit bull, Halie, to the vet because she wasn’t acting like herself, and the doctor had grim news: At the age of 10½, Halie had full-blown cancer.

I never expected her life to be cut short. Working at a pet hospital, I saw how hard it was for people to let go of their pets—some people holding on too long.

We let her go two days later. I held her paw, sobbing. My husband held her face. I decided to let her go even though I wasn’t ready, because I didn’t want to watch her lose her attitude or her ability to walk and enjoy food and car rides.

Before saying good-bye, we stopped at Borg Images to take a few final pictures. Having pets is the purest love I’ve experienced, and that’s why it hurts to let go.

—Harmony Gallegos, owner of Harmony and Pets in Eden Prairie

Navigating the Grief

  • Affiliated Emergency Veterinary Services in Eden Prairie offers a monthly pet loss and grief support group. Call 952.746.5752 for details.
  • Chanhassen-based Nelli Designs (nellidesigns.com) sells personalized pet memorial candles
  • A helpful book is Dog Heaven: Somewhere Over the Rainbow Bridge, by Maria Hanson.
  • If you’re considering laying your pet to rest at home, take a look at the products at pawpods.com.