How to Cope with the Loss of Your Pet

April 22, 2022

You loved your pet and considered him a member of your family. You confided in him, carried his picture on your phone, and probably even celebrated his birthday. So, after the loss of your pet, it’s perfectly natural to feel overwhelmed by intense sorrow.

The Grieving Process

There is no right or wrong way to grieve, and grief looks different for everyone. You are likely to experience true sadness, and you may become depressed or withdrawn. Grant yourself permission to feel depressed, sad, angry, or to feel any other emotion. Don’t bottle everything up, as this can only lead to more intense feelings later on. Here are a few suggestions to help you cope with the loss of your pet:

Spend Time Reflecting

Remember your pet fondly by reflecting on all the quirks and personality traits that caused you to fall in love with him. You may even find yourself smiling when recalling those times when he misbehaved.

Reach Out for Support

Don’t hesitate to reach out to others who have gone through a similar experience. A group of virtual strangers offering encouragement and support can be more effective than your social network at home. No one knows you personally, and you may feel freer to be completely open about the extent of your pain and suffering without feeling shame or embarrassment. 

·  You’ll find many online resources and support groups that may be helpful to you. 

·  Call your veterinarian or local humane society to see whether they offer a pet-loss support group or hotline or can refer you to one.

If Possible, Bury Your Pet Close to You

Consider laying your pet’s remains to rest in your backyard under a favorite tree or in a nearby pet cemetery. Having your pet near makes it easier for you to spend some time with his spirit so that you can continue the closeness of the bond you shared. 

*Discuss home burial with your local veterinary professionals as some options may require health department approval and/or special burial urns or caskets.

Set Up a Pet Memorial

If you don’t choose to retain your pet’s remains, you can still pick a spot in your home or garden for reflection and remembrance. Perhaps the place where your pet liked to hang out or doze. 

Consider purchasing and installing a pet memorial plaque to honor your pet’s memory. Another lovely idea is to have some well-chosen words (maybe a poem you’ve written) inscribed on a bench or memorial stone or in your pet’s honor and placed in your garden.

·  Donate to a local animal rescue or shelter in honor of your pet and at the same time help animals in need.

Create a Memorial Page on Social Media 

Consider setting up a memorial page in honor of your pet and invite a select group of people to share in your loss. You can invite them to view and post photos and memories of your pet and leave comments and condolences. A memorial page also serves as a pick-me-up for you when you’re feeling down. 

When the Loss of Your Pet Is Unexpected

If you’ve lost your pet unexpectedly, his death will have undoubtedly hit you especially hard because you had no time to prepare for it. The fact that you did not have a chance to say goodbye can be emotionally devastating, and you will most likely be suffering from disbelief and shock. In this situation, some grief counseling may be especially helpful.

The Loss of Your Pet: Final Thoughts

Although it may seem that you will never recover from your loss, remember that time will soften the pain, and you will heal from your grief. Finding the best ways to cope with the loss of your pet can bring you closer to the day when memories will replace tears with smiles.

End-of-Life Care in Your Pet’s Own Home

Look for vets that provide in-home care for pets. If you live in the greater Seattle area, Compassion 4 Paws is here for you. We help you and your family say goodbye to your beloved pet in a compassionate and caring way. Get in touch with us for more information. 

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