Dealing with the loss of a pet can be devastating. If you’ve ever been through it, you know.
We recently lost three of our sweet furry family members in the span of two weeks. Each having been with us for some of the best parts of our lives. We loved Mocha for more than 19 years, Maya for almost 13, and Remington for 6. Devastating seems to be the most fitting word. There are waves of grief and sadness. However, we are hopeful that even though our fur babies are over the rainbow bridge that we will emerge from this funk in time. We are trying to focus on wading through our loss, rather than ignoring it, and also these coping ideas.
Why Does the Loss of a Pet Hurt So Much?
Our pets are not just animals. For many of us, we share an intense love and bond with our pets. We’ve cared for them and shared a life with them. They have grown up with us and are true members of our family. Our pets become as much a part of our daily ‘routine’ as our small children do. They both depend on us to meet some of their most basic needs. For some of us, caring for a pet provides a sense of purpose. Taking all of this into consideration, being overwhelmed with grief and a deep sense of loss is normal.
Others May Not Understand
Some people simply may not understand the depth of your sorrow over the loss of your pet. That’s ok. We all deal with grief and loss in our own way. Regardless of how your sorrow manifests, you do not ever have to feel guilty or ashamed about grieving for the loss of your friend. Most importantly, try not to allow anyone to tell you what you should be feeling. To many of us, a pet’s friendship is as important as some of our human friendships.
Taking Your Time
For some people, grieving the loss of a pet is similar to grieving the loss of a person. Therefore, it cannot be forced, hurried, or be expected to end in a specific timeframe. Grief will last as long as you are processing those emotions. This is normal. Some begin to see rays of light in the upcoming weeks and months. For others, the process can take years.
Things to Do to Help Cope with the Loss of a Pet
When you’re ready, there are things to do that may help you to feel better.
- Create a Memorial for Your Pet: Planting a tree, creating a photo album, sharing memories with others help to create a legacy to celebrate the life of your beloved pet.
- Take Care of Yourself: Be intentional in caring for your physical and emotional needs. Make a point to eat healthy, sleep well, and spend time with other people.
- Care for Your Other Pets: Your other pets may feel the loss, too. Try to maintain their routines and your level of care for them.
- Reach Out to Others Who Have Lost Pets: Forums, message boards, local communities can be helpful in supporting you during a time of loss
- Holding a Service:Rituals, such as funerals, can help us express our feelings and have a sense of closure.
- Professional Help: If grief is persistent and interferes with your daily life and ability to function normally, speaking with a professional can be helpful.
You Are Not Alone
If you find that others in your circle do not understand your grief over the loss of your pet, know that we are here for you. If you want to talk about all the great memories you had with Fido, we’d be happy to listen. And we will certainly understand.