The first time I had to make the decision to euthanize a pet was a swirl of self-doubt. I was still pretty early to spirituality and connection to the Divine. I didn’t fully trust my intuition yet. I think cultivating self-trust has been a big part of my peace and how I thrive. It’s a big decision to trust yourself that the pain of continuing to live is right for an aging or ill pet.

If you want to read more about how I made that first decision with my beloved cat Bear, I wrote a piece about his euthanasia at home.

Hi, I’m Bevin! This is my dog Macy she was my Earthly companion from October 2004-March 2018.

In that process I knew I needed some kind of ritual to release him and to process my pain. I turned to experts in the field, the lesbian cat ladies who lived across the street from my mom at the time. They gave me a sweet ritual I’ve used with each pet since.

April and Gina told me to get candles in each color of the rainbow, to represent the chakras. Light them all at once with the intention of facilitating the spiritual release of the animal companion.

You can get candles from a bodega or a metaphysical shop. Sometimes the dollar store has candles but unlikely to have the whole rainbow. What matters most is intention not that you got all the colors correct. But sometimes doing what you can to follow protocol is part of the grieving process, too, so maybe gathering all the colors is something you endeavor to do to prepare.

The candles need to be someplace they can ideally just keep burning. Typically this is about a week but could be shorter. I think it’s fascinating that the candles burn different durations.

I like turning the rainbow candles into a whole altar space on the kitchen table. It’s very much the heart of my home and it gives me an easy place to glance at when I was missing my beloved.

I realized with this first ritual I liked having a place I could look to that helped me remember my pet. It’s so disorienting being used to a specific physical energy in your space that is suddenly gone. Pets are so intimate.

One of our friends sent flowers that came with a gorgeous fresh flower wreath–perfect for an altar space. I also went to two stores and couldn’t find rainbow candles so I just made it work.

When Macy passed away (perhaps the most anticipated death of my life because she was my longest companion–13.5 years old when she made her transition) the outpouring of love and gifts were unexpected and cherished.

Friends sent flowers, dropped off food and gifts and art. Having the kitchen table altar heaping with these offerings, her collar center among them, made it all so sacred. While I ached I still felt held in prayer.

It was beautiful and hard. I still have a giant 11 x 14 portrait of her up in my current RV. I like having her in eyesight and sometimes I still hear the tinkling of her shaking her collar in quiet moments.

I took lots of pics with her, even and especially on her last day.
Grainy 2004 photo!

Grieving an animal companion is a beautiful process. They teach us so much about unconditional love, and their shorter lifespans teach us about letting go. I am wishing you so much peace in this process of releasing.

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