Losing a beloved pet can be devastating. After all, our pets are a big part of our families. Nothing can prepare you for the wave of emotions you feel when they pass away.
Everybody deals with grief in different ways. But there are things you can do to help ease the pain during this difficult time.
Our pets aren’t just animals, they are our best friends and loyal companions. You’ll never want to forget the precious times you had together, but here are a few ways to help you make the grieving process a little easier.
Feel into your emotions
Do not try to ignore the sadness or pain you feel about losing your pet. Take as long as you need to sit with your emotions to allow yourself to heal over time. Giving yourself permission to grieve will help you process the death of your pet.
You may start to feel better after a few weeks, or you may need longer – months or even a year. It is a similar process to losing a human family member, so do not let anyone tell you your feelings are not valid. Take that time to let whatever feelings and emotions come to you.
Talk to someone
It is not healthy to keep your thoughts and feelings locked away. You may find talking about your lost pet helps ease the pain. Look at photos and reminisce with friends and family about the wonderful times you had together.
If you don’t want to talk to people close to you, find a support group local to you or online. It will help to speak to people who are going through the same situation.
Release any feelings of guilt
It can be easy to blame yourself when your pet passes away. Especially if you had to make a difficult decision to put them to sleep. We can find ourselves asking a range of ‘what ifs’ about the choices we made when they were still alive.
This only adds to your grief and makes you feel worse. Know that you did the very best thing for your pet to release their pain and suffering. Sparing them from those difficult end of life stages is the kindest gift you can give.
Hold a ceremony
Hold a ceremony in your garden to help family and friends say goodbye properly. Although they can be gut wrenching for most, they can also be extremely therapeutic. Many people find great comfort in holding memorials services to remember the good times, helping them lay their cherished pet to rest and find some closure. You might want to buy a little headstone or a memorial plaque where you bury your pet, so you feel you can visit them and have something to remember them by.
Choose a way to remember your pet
Finding a meaningful way to honour your pet is a lovely way to keep their memory alive. There are plenty of options to choose from, but make sure it feels right for you and your pet. You could plant a small tree in your garden, create a memorial patch you can visit, make a donation to charity, or keep them near you in a memorial urn.
You could also consider making an online tribute to your friend. This is a great way to connect with others who have lost a pet. It may make you feel less alone and also give you a chance to share your happy memories and pictures with others. Two popular sites are Blue Cross for Pets and Pet Remembrance.
Whichever way you choose to cope with the loss of your pet, give yourself the time you need to grieve. Never feel guilty for the way you are feeling if others don’t understand. Our pets mean the world to us and everyone reacts differently.