Dealing with the loss of a pet is a slow emotional process which can be rather hard to handle for the pet lover. Pet loss grief is one of those things which can upset you for months and prevent you from returning to your regular life.
Any pet owner who thinks of her pet as a dear friend or part of the family, can surely associate with the tremendous pain which accompanies pet bereavement. Dog loss or cat bereavement can literally break your heart especially if you are of the sensitive kind.
Your pet has been a constant source of joy, comfort and companionship and therefore grieving the loss of a pet is the most common reaction.
Before discussing how to deal with loss of a pet, let’s take a quick look at the stages of grief after losing a pet.
Stages of Grief after Loss of a Pet
Different people react different after the loss of a pet. However most pet lovers are known to go through the following stages of emotion after a pet loss. While experiencing these 4 stages of grief is normal, getting over grief is the hardest part after the loss of a pet.
Guilt is often accompanied with loss of a pet and the owner might feel responsible for the pet’s death. In this stage one usually suffers from the ‘if only I were more attentive’ syndrome.
Denial of accepting the fact that your beloved pet is really gone can be extremely hard to cope with. We can’t get used to the fact that the pet isn’t there to greet us when we come home.
Loss of a pet invariably associated with anger towards the illness or the circumstances which killed your pet.
Pet loss, especially loss of a dog or cat loss can lead to extreme depression which might render you powerless to cope with the feelings.
Ways of Coping with Pet Loss
Allow Yourself Some Time to Grieve
When a pet dies the first thing you should do is get some alone time and try and vent your emotions. It’s very important to remind yourself that loving a pet isn’t any different from loving a person and after losing your pet you’d surely feel like crying.
Your feeling are definitely in their right place and after the loss of a pet you’d need some time to work through your angst.
So be kind to yourself and don’t rush to get over the grieving process. Make sure to allow yourself to feel whatever is going on in your heart.
Remember Your Pet
Even though remembering your pet might make you sad right after the death of a pet, it makes a lot of sense to remember your pet and cherish the memories together. Never try and pretend that you never had a pet.
Pet remembrance is possibly the only way to relive the lovely time you’ve spent with them. Making a scrapbook with pictures, notes and anecdotes about your pet is a good way to make yourself feel better after the loss of a pet. Consider digging up some pet memorial ideas from the internet to love and remember your deceased pet.
Volunteer at Your Local Animal Shelter
Getting a new pet after the loss of cat or a dog is never commendable. When your pet dies, you might not be emotionally prepared to deal with another pet in your household.
However, the process of helping a homeless dog or a pet in desperate need of human touch, might give you the much required comfort after the loss of pet.
Avoid Insensitive People
There are many people around you who might offer you condolences and add ‘it was just a pet’. These kinds of people can never appreciate the bond one can form with animals in the first place.
Though they might be willing to help, their kind words would end up making you feel worse.
This is a good time to seek out like-minded people who can give you the much needed care and support.
Talk to other pet lovers who would understand the tremendous grief you are going through. These are the kind of people who would empathize with you and give you valuable advice.
Wrapping it up
Loss of a pet is one of those events in life which can completely shatter you and leave you drained physically and emotionally. While grieving for your pet it’s important that you eat enough and get a lot of sleep.
Touching base with your therapist to help you cope with the grief can also be a good idea. Although losing your pet can be very traumatic, it doesn’t make any sense to shut yourself off or go into a phase of depression.