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How to Cope with the Loss of a Pet

September 13, 2021

how to cope with the loss of a pet

The relationships we build with our pets are quite extraordinary. We build friendship, and in return, we get steadfast love and loyalty from them. Our pets make great companions, especially in our gloomy days - which makes it even harder when we are suddenly faced with the loss of our furry best friend. In this article, we will learn how to deal with the loss of our dear pet and how we can move forward with hope.

Is it normal to be in pain after I lost my pet?

Many of us consider our pets more than just an animal, but as a beloved member of our family, or our best friend. So the pain of a loss may feel overwhelming and may trigger different painful and difficult emotions. However, no matter how painful the situation is, remember not to blame yourself too much. You should never feel guilty or ashamed as a pet owner, especially when you did everything to give your pet a happy life. 

While the experience of loss is part of caring for a pet, there is a healthy way to grieve and cope with the pain, come to terms with our grief, and after some time when we are healed, we can adopt another companion. No process is the same for everyone. Some people move forward faster than others, but it doesn't mean you cannot move forward forever. 

How do I grieve properly with the loss of a pet?

  • If you have kids, explain to them what happened in a manner that they will easily understand. Be honest but gentle with your child's feelings, and it is best to let them know that their pet will not be coming back. Please encourage them to cherish the happy memories of their pet with you, and even though all of you may be hurting now, things will eventually get better.
  • You and your family can grieve, no matter how long it takes. You have no obligation to move on instantly. Instead, face all your emotions and acknowledge them. Reach for help if you need it.
  • Let your emotions out. Sometimes we tend to shrug off our feelings, and we do not want to deal with our feelings in fear of getting hurt again and again. But if we're going to heal genuinely, we must let everything out and allow our family and friends to comfort us.
  • If you can, it is best to send off your pet by creating a funeral. This way, you and your family can formally let your pet go and give you proper closure. 
  • If the grief and loss get too much and you feel like you can't handle it by yourself any longer, consider joining a pet support group, so other people with the same experience can help you cope with your loss. You can also get a therapist to properly diagnose your condition and give you the right mental and emotional support. 

How do I move forward with the loss of our pet?

  • Immortalize your pet's memories by creating a photo album or a scrapbook, so you can browse your pet's photos whenever you miss them. Do this with your family, especially your kids, to make the experience more memorable and therapeutic.
  • Opt for a personalized memorial pet portrait. You can have a framed cartoon artwork of your pet that will surely bring happy tears to you and your loved ones whenever you see it in your favorite part of your home.
  • Volunteer at a local shelter to help other pets. These animals are usually abused and are left alone, and caring for them will make you feel good and give you a sense of purpose despite your grief.
  • Look after yourself. Even though you are grieving, do not abandon your basic physical and emotional needs. Eat right, take a bath, exercise, and resume your daily activities. These activities will help you boost your mood.

Should I adopt another pet in the future?

You will never run out of reasons to try and adopt another pet in the future. It is our nature to care for animals, and there is nothing wrong with wanting another pet after you have experienced a painful loss. However, no matter how tempting it is to rush in getting another pet to make you happy again, we suggest you allow yourself to heal first. Some people take months or even years to heal completely.

Remember that there is no particular timeline to mourn over your loss. Take all the time you need. And getting a new pet is a big decision that shouldn't be rushed. If you are up for it, engage in different pet care activities in shelters, as this will help speed up your healing process. Volunteering with pets is a great way to make you realize if it's time to get a new pet again.