What Aging Pets Tell Me They Need – 5 Big Mistakes Pet Parents Make

Angels Appear in Many Shapes
October 22, 2018
Are You Struggling with the Loss of a Beloved Pet?
January 9, 2019

 I’ve made mistakes in the past…have you?

The years slip away and before we know it our beloved pet has moved into their senior years.

Old age is not a disease.

There is no cure.

We all have an expiration date.

I’ve made mistakes #3 and #4 in the past. But not anymore.

When the time comes for your senior pet to finish out their final days, months, or years keep these very important things in mind:

    1. 1. Don’t say you’ll never get another dog, cat, horse, parrot, or pet. I’ve never had a single deceased pet tell me they are ‘jealous’ of the new addition to the family. Quite the contrary. They actually benefit from the love that you share with your new pet. As you express love, that goes out into the Universe and your departed pets can feel that love. So find yourself another companion.  Your departed pets will be so happy to see you move through your grief and into healing.

2. Don’t get a new pet before they go.  With only a few exceptions, older pets do not like changes to their routine.  A new pet is often a bit much for them to handle and most prefer to spend their ‘twilight time’ with you. This “twilight time” is what I refer to as the time before pet transitions or leaves this Earth and their physical body behind. This is a sacred time and they will cherish as much of your love and attention that you can bestow upon them.

3. Don’t stress over your pet or make their illness or health issues #1 in your life. Illness and injury are signs of weakness in the animal kingdom and your pets want to be perceived as ‘happy, healthy and whole’ at all times. If you focus only on their failing health you can actually make it more difficult for your pet to feel good about themselves before they go.

4. Don’t become overly emotional when the day comes to say goodbye. Too much of any emotion will be hard for your pet to take in their compromised state. Stay calm and create a gentle space where they can leave their body the same way they arrived…with dignity.

5. Don’t leave them alone in the room when the veterinarian injects the life-ending drug. Stay with your pet no matter how hard it is. They need you more than ever at that final moment and if you leave they will stress out and try to find you. You are the most important person in the world to them and you need to be with your pet.

Above all, talk to your pets out loud before they go…

and share all your precious memories with them. Ask your departed loved ones to greet them.

Celebrate the time you shared and honor the love and companionship they have provided.

If you enjoyed this article or have a story you’d like to share please comment below.

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Karen is an award-winning animal communicator and best-selling author who specializes in pet loss and the afterlife. She has documented her journey with her heartwarming and inspirational books, The Pet I Can’t Forget, The Amazing Afterlife of Animals and Hear All Creatures.
She also offers a free app and animal communication coaching programs for all skill levels as well as loving support and guidance for those struggling with the loss of a beloved companion.
Karen is the CEO and founder of Painted Rain Ranch Animal Sanctuary a non-profit charity that serves as a final refuge for elderly, special needs, and abandoned companion animals. Karen saves the pets no one else wants on her 30-acre farm in the Inland Pacific Northwest. Proceeds from Karen’s books and coaching benefit the animals at the sanctuary.
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  1. Trudy says:

    Excellent advice. Thank you!

  2. Karen Zimmelman says:

    Karen, thank you for sending this 5 point mistake email. It was perfect timing, in August my 16 year old Saturn (feline) was found to be in severe kidney disease. Since that diagnosis a supportive protocol has been implemented. When I received the blood results I knew we were dealing with what will be her fatal end. For now, I am focused on the supportive treatment/aid she needs to keep her comfortable and know that one day she will let me know when it is time to let her go. Your message was a gift to me, reminding me of all the things you know and I share. Open myself up to seeing things through her eyes.
    Over the years have have done many communications for me and my feline children. I have always been grateful knowing I can reach out to you for your loving, compassionate support.
    Thank you,

    • Karen Anderson says:

      My dear friend, Karen…thank you for sharing this note. I am so sorry to hear about Saturn’s health issues.
      You are an amazing mom and she is so very lucky to be loved by you! I’m sure she is in good hands and has the very best of care.
      Timing is divinely involved, I’m sure.
      No coincidences in my world.
      I’ll keep you both in my thoughts and prayers and I know when her time comes to send her on her journey she will love you more than ever for the magical and amazing life you have provided.
      Sending love and prayers xoxo Karen

  3. Jan says:

    Thank you for this article.
    My kitty Squeaky is 11 and has asthma, so I know we don’t have much time left together.
    I appreciate the concept of the twilight and will be more attentive to him during this time.
    #4 is pretty impossible as I’m quite an emotional person. However, I think he knows and understands me by now!!!!
    I will do my best to let him have a natural passing.

  4. Jennifer says:

    Wow, thank you for this kind gift.
    This letter confirmed so many things for me as I head into my pup’s Twilight years.
    I’m so happy to have found you.
    You are a Treasure to the planet.

    • Karen Anderson says:

      Jennifer thank you so much!
      I’m so glad this article resonates with you. Hopefully, you can move through the next Twilight Time with ease and grace.
      I’m happy you found me too!

  5. Krista says:

    I had to help my 2 days away from 12 yr old lab boy pass over in August.
    I have to admit…though I knew it was coming for a couple months, it was always just he and I and we were so bonded that in the last few days, almost every time I looked at him, I started to cry though I always told him by voice and heart how much he meant to me and how thankful I was we had each other and how he made so many people’s lives better.
    His illness did consume our days and nights as he lost his bladder often, so we had to plan carefully. So, it’s a bit hard to follow that advice sometimes. Though, I made it all seem like “these things happen” when I talked to him.
    I tried my HARDEST to be calm for him that last day and during the vet appt, but you’re right…he knew and it made him more anxious because I felt like my heart was being torn out, I just couldn’t stop crying.
    So, at the end of the day, I’d agree with your advice on getting a new pet while your pet is still alive, etc.. but I think it’s best to say, talk to your pet, talk to them often via your voice and heart…if they can, let them be their physical selves..on that last morning, my boy gathered all his energy and wanted to go for a slow jog…even though it hurt him I know… I couldn’t deprive him of that. Honor them..celebrate them.. connect with them.

    • Karen Anderson says:

      Thank you for your feedback, Krista and I am so very sorry for your loss.
      It sounds like you are a wonderful momma and it is very hard to stay calm, not lose it emotionally, etc.
      Difficult advice but it is what the animals need from us.
      I try to think of it like this too…
      Pretend you were not in the picture with your pet that they lived with their pack in the wild.
      What would their pack leader do when they were ill, injured or dying?
      Probably offer some kindness, gentleness, and comfort in a calm way.
      Never would that pack leader or any of the pack mates get overly upset.
      Animals instinctively know how to comfort and when.
      xoxo karen

  6. Lynn E chenique says:

    Thank you, Karen, so much for your e-mail, it was enlightening, as I was reading I couldn’t help thinking how emotional I acted with the loss of my Charlie. He was only 9 years old and suddenly got sick within two weeks, I had to help him transition.
    In the past, I have been emotional with the loss of all my pets. I can’t help it I love hard and grieve hard.
    Charlie’s brother is 11 years old and when it is his time I will remember the email you sent.you are an angel, the voice of our furry children thanks to you we can understand there needs.

    • Karen Anderson says:

      Lynn, thank you for your thoughts.
      I have also been emotional in the past with my own pets.
      It’s hard not to.
      I have done everything wrong. But pets are so forgiving and they understand on a higher level we are trying to help them.
      Now I know going forward what they need in their final moments.
      If we can make our current pets transition smoother and less stressful then that is a wonderful thing

  7. Dawn says:

    Thank you so much for this article.
    It has been 8 months since we helped our sweet boy Herbie transition to the other side. It was the hardest decision we have ever made. I am so glad we stayed with him through the entire process. I am guilty of number 3, his illness the main focus in our lives. We miss him terribly.
    Thank you

  8. Joan Pape says:

    Karen, thank you for these wonderful insights. I have passed similar advice on to my clients (I do Reiki/Energy healing for pets and animal communication). The thing I have been seeing WAY too much of lately is people getting puppies shortly before an elderly dog passes. I find I really have to bite my tongue! People need to understand that elderly animals will not magically become young and playful again if a new pup or kitten come into the household. As you know, it is quite the opposite effect. Thank you, thank you, for all that you do for humans and animals and sharing your wise insight.

  9. Dennis A. Johnson says:

    Read , The Last Battle
    I found it on the internet.

    • Karen Anderson says:

      For all those who are not familiar with this epic poem:
      The Last Battle
      If it should be that I grow frail and weak
      And pain should keep me from my sleep,
      Then will you do what must be done,
      For this — the last battle — can’t be won.
      You will be sad I understand,
      But don’t let grief then stay your hand,
      For on this day, more than the rest,
      Your love and friendship must stand the test.
      We have had so many happy years,
      You wouldn’t want me to suffer so.
      When the time comes, please, let me go.
      Take me to where to my needs they’ll tend,
      Only, stay with me till the end
      And hold me firm and speak to me
      Until my eyes no longer see.
      I know in time you will agree
      It is a kindness you do to me.
      Although my tail its last has waved,
      From pain and suffering I have been saved.
      Don’t grieve that it must be you
      Who has to decide this thing to do;
      We’ve been so close — we two — these years,
      Don’t let your heart hold any tears.
      — Unknown

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