They are by your side with wagging tails and soft purrs through the highs and lows of your life. They love with no expectations. They bring laughter and cuddles and make excellent sounding boards. They are beautiful souls wrapped in furry bodies. The bond we share with our pets is special and it can be devastating when we realise they are coming to the end of life. It’s a sad and often difficult time, but it can also be a time of extreme gratitude and a time that reminds us to treasure every moment we have with our four-legged friends.
How to treasure your pet with a bucket list…
Show them just how special and loved they are with a bucket list of everything they adore. Here’s how to do it well in those final weeks, days and months…
You’re an expert when it comes to your pet and all their adorable quirks – you know what they love… and what they don’t…baths anyone?. When you’re making your pet’s bucket list, this is where you want to focus your energy. It’s not uncommon to find yourself writing a list of all the exciting adventures you’d like to have together. But instead, focus on the things you know your pet enjoys the most. Perhaps it’s food? Or maybe your pet is happiest with cuddles or toys? Whatever it is, you’ll often find it doesn’t take much extravagance to make them light up.
This is a good thing because oftentimes in the end stages of life your pet may not be feeling 100%. Feeling less than 100% means they will likely respond better to simple pleasures. The condition and symptoms your pet has will often impact what activities will be suitable and most enjoyable for them. It’s a good idea to chat to your regular vet about your plans. They may be able to provide further pain management techniques, appetite stimulants and nausea control to improve your pet’s final experiences or they could help you modify your list to best suit your pet’s current state of wellbeing.
Here are some of our personal favourite end of life bucket list items to help inspire you! Remember that certain activities might need to be modified to suit your pet’s unique needs.
1.Carve out Time for Cuddles!
Bask your pet in affection and adoration more than ever – because nothing is more pawfect than keeping your pet close and showing you care. Commit to making time for whatever physical contact your pet likes best (cuddles, pats, grooming) – it’s a lovely way to bond and to ensure your pet is feeling the love.
2.Be Beach Bums
There are plenty of pet-friendly beaches around, if your pet is a fan, take them for a trip. Let them rest or frolic on the sand, have a gentle walk or a quick dip.
3.Pet Play Date
If your pet is feeling up to it and isn’t averse to playmates of its own species, set up some playdates with their pet pals or visit a pet-friendly café or park where they can make new friends.
Some pets love feeling the breeze in their fur, not to mention sniffing like mad as they cruise around on chauffeured trips. If your pet loves the car, schedule in a few short trips – you don’t even need a destination – maybe around the block is all they need.
If your pet’s health permits, make a point of giving them their favourite treats and allowing them to indulge a little more than usual. You can also try your hand at creating some tasty, healthy treats at home for an extra special touch!
You’re not the only one that enjoys a little pampering. Pets also love a good massage, whether from a professional themselves or by you with instruction from your regular vet or pet health professional. Regular massages are not only a beautiful way to bond with your pet, they feel amazing and have an added stress relieving and relaxation-inducing bonus.
7.Presents for your Pet
Does your pet love the more material things in life? Spoil them with a few extra toys, scratch posts etc and make time to engage in some gentle play or simply let them enjoy the toys on their own.
The time we have with our four-legged friends is finite, so why not capture some beautiful pet and family shots? They’re sure to turn into treasured memories down the road and you’ll be grateful to have them to look back on.
Whether your pet has other four-legged friends or is more popular with the two-legged variety. Invite over other people or pets that are close to your pet’s heart, make some delicious pet treats, gifts, maybe even a cake and throw a special goodbye party for your cherished friend. It gives other pets and people who love your little one the chance to say their goodbyes too.
10.Relax the rules
Finally, consider relaxing the rules. Forbidden beds, couches, the occasional bit of slobber or pet hair don’t matter quite as much when faced with saying goodbye to your treasured pet. Why not relax the rules a little and enjoy letting them spend some time being even closer to the family.
Pets teach us that the most wonderful thing we can ever receive in life is love and that it’s also the best thing we can give. We hope these bucket list ideas will help you ensure your pets final weeks and days are filled unimaginable love and warm memories.