Caregiver Grief: End-of-Life Considerations

Human-Animal Bond

As caregivers, we sometimes can get focused on our desires, needs, and expectations.  This stems from a focus on the human-animal bond between ourselves and the animal.  While loving and supportive, we can inadvertently ignore another important contemporaneous relations.  That is, the animal-animal bond.

Bella and Tara

Many of us remember the touching video pieces from 2006.  An elephant named Tara was a member of an animal sanctuary outside Nashville, TN.  Tara became fast friends with a stray dog named Bella, and the video followed a critical illness of the dog.  The loving elephant held vigil while the dog recovered.   

Sadly, the animal sanctuary reported that Bella the dog passed away this week.   It’s touching to read that Tara has sought out her sister elephants to grieve the loss of her friend.   (Read press release from elephant sanctuary)

Honoring the Animal-Animal Bond

We should always keep this extraordinary bond in mind as we care for the dying.  I believe the animals understand full well the nature and extent of end-of-life and they may want to participate or honor their fellow animal in their own way.  We should always try to respect and promote this bond, which has nothing to do with us.  This includes anticipating and honoring their own grieving process.  The value, and service, is watching the beauty unfold, completely free of human intervention.

Have a peaceful and loving day!

Doug

 

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