Learning To Live Again Without Your Cherished Pet


Grief is an overwhelming feeling and emotion we have when a loved one dies, but in fact it is just the same after the loss of a loved pet. The death of our pet means the loss of such a precious love, a true bond that is sometimes difficult to put into words, only feelings can describe it.

The course of grief is unpredictable and no two people will experience it in the same manner. It often involves a constant wave of so many contradictory feelings. One minute we feel so overwhelmed by the loss of our pet, we wonder if we will ever feel like we did before our pet died. The next minute we actually feel reasonable – and then feel guilty for feeling ok ! Don’t be harsh on yourself for those thoughts and feelings – they are all normal. This is a roller coaster ride that we will all have to travel at some stage during our lives.

Crying is something we will do a lot of and don’t ever feel ashamed because of those tears. They are a release of pressure and are very necessary. Everyone’s pattern of grief will be different, even members of your own family will react differently to each other. When we attend a funeral for a family member or friend, we are able to talk about our loss and we do get sympathy, understanding and a lot of support from the Funeral Directors as well as family and friends…. it is a closure.

This doesn’t happen when we lose our pets and most times we try to handle this grief all alone. Talk about your pet with family and friends – you will find so many others have gone through the same heartache as you.

Making a memorial for your special pet is a great help in the healing process. Make a photo album or perhaps a scrapbook, plant a special rose or tree in your garden. There are memorial stones and plaques that can be placed on their gravesite or just somewhere in the yard that was their favourite place. There are support groups for bereaved pet owners that can be of great help at this time. Volunteering at one of the many animal shelters can also help with the grieving process. Your Vet should be able to put you in touch with these groups.

Acceptance will eventually come. It takes time and it takes patience. When we first get our new little pet, the last thing we think about is how long it will live, we just accept it will be around forever.

Given time, the healing will happen. You must allow yourself time to grieve, and remember it’s ok to do so. Grief is no doubt the most emotional and difficult time to try and get through. There is no easy way around it and no short cuts. It impacts on every part of our life, affecting our very day to day existence.

Do see a Counsellor if you need some help with your feelings. More and more resources ar becoming available to help bereaved pet owners. This type of change in our lives can be terribly difficult to accept, but it’s amazing how, given time, we do manage to adapt and can somehow move forward…

NB. The above information has been resourced from many and varied articles on Pet Loss, Bereavement and Grief.

Children and Pet Loss

It is difficult enough for us as adults to work through the grief and the loss of our pets. Often, for a child the loss of a pet will be their first encounter with death as pets have such a relatively short life span compared to ours. It will be confusing and upsetting but no less intense than for us. A lot of patience and explanations will be needed. Informing the parents of their friends, their teacher, their sporting coach and anyone who may be supportive of the child during this time can be reassuring. It may be of some help to sit and read one of the many, many wonderful books that are available on the market to help explain to a grieving child some of the subjects we, as adults will find hard enough to understand ourselves. With lots of reassurance a child will deal with pet death if it can be freely discussed in an open and honest manner.

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