Understanding and Coping With the Loss of a Pet: 3 Things All Pet Owners Have to Know

Anyone who’s a pet owner and considers their pet to be a relative and good friend knows how heartbreaking it may be when our beloved companion dies. The bond we establish with your pets can leave many of us feeling a powerful sense of loss and sorrow that is very much the same as losing an immediate family member. There are several important things that every pet owner needs to understand if they’ve just experienced the increased loss of a pet, or facing hard choices one may face with the expected loss of a pet.

1. It’s Normal to Feel Grief Over A Pet.

Experiencing grief over the death of a pet is normal and natural, so don’t feel embarrassed or ashamed to grieve over your pet as you’d grieve over a person. The connection pet owners have using their pets is significant. Some pet owners have raised their cat or dog since they certainly were a pup or kitten, and it is only natural to feel as though we are not only a pet owner, but in addition a parent that’s nurtured and bonded to a pet. Pet’s have personality and intelligence, and provide a continuing source of unconditional love and acceptance, which is a profound need in living a wholesome and meaningful life. There may be people who “don’t get” the animal-human bond, and won’t understand the pain you pain. Your feelings are valid, and you’re not alone.

2. Understand What Grief Can Mean for You

There’s no right or wrong method to grieve over the increased loss of a loved one because people experience grief in their particular way. People tend to see the increased loss of a pet just like they’d a person, that may involve the 5 stages of grief and loss that include: denial, anger, depression, bargaining, and acceptance.

The increased loss of a pet could be a surreal experience as you discover yourself going throughout your daily routines and finding it hard to just accept that the pet is really gone. From coming home to work with them greeting you at the doorway, to taking them for a walk, it’s hard to assume that them not being there. Depression is tricky emotion because it’s an all-natural a reaction to grief, but also can end in being struggling to cope with your feelings. Severe depression that is ongoing can feel draining and develop into you dwelling on your sorrow as opposed to processing and working through it gradually.

Grief can involve feeling an expression of guilt if you’d to euthanize your pet, or feeling responsible for them dying, which will make it very difficult to work throughout your grief. Pet owners can also feel anger at themselves or others if their pet was killed untimely by being hit by a car or falling ill. Anger is also an all-natural emotion, but must be tended to when it becomes so intense that it keeps you from working throughout your grief.

Acknowledge that which you are feeling and then register with yourself. People struggle with a loss when they do not make an effort to grieve, often believing it will just go away.

3. Process Your Grief

Pet owners can fall into the trap of hiding their feelings in order to appear strong and calm for the benefit of others, or to avoid feeling judged or ashamed for feeling vulnerable about the loss. When you have begun to acknowledge that which you are feeling, find a way to state it. Expressing what we feel in the midst of our sorrow can include crying by ourselves and with others. What can be very helpful in the grieving process is finding what helps you the most. Remembering happy memories with your pet and sharing stories with family can allow you to and others know the way much your pets mean to people.

Expression emotions and memories through stories, reading poems such as the rainbow bridge for pets, or writing a thanks letters to your pet can allow you to and children in the grief process. Changing your daily routine to complete the time you and the family would’ve spent with your pet can aid in accepting losing and moving on. Having a memorial aware of the family such as a photo of you and your pet, or having keepsakes such as their collar might help preserve their memory while acknowledging them being gone.

4. Help Your Children Learn About Grief

Students are never too young or old to grieve over the increased loss of a pet. Discussing the increased loss of a pet with the entire family gives everyone to be able to understand death, remember their pet fondly, and work through grief at their particular pace. Being honest with them about the increased loss of a pet may be the first time they will learn what death is, and will provide you with an opportunity to talk for them about fears or misperceptions that they may have about death. If you inform them that their pet was “put to sleep,” then ensure that they understand the difference between ordinary sleep and death to avoid confusion and possible fear about sleeping. You are able to comfort them by telling them that their pet is free of pain, but avoid telling them that their pet ran or went away because they may believe that they may come back. Children need time for you to work through grief and loss before adopting a brand new pet. It’s better for children and all pet owners to adopt a brand new pet when they’re ready to go on and build a brand new relationship after a period of grieving the loss.

Is There Someone Who Can Help Me With This?

The main step you can take will be honest about your feelings. Don’t deny your pain, or your feelings of anger and guilt. Only by examining and arriving at terms with your feelings could you commence to work through them. Working through feelings of loss with another individual is certainly one of healthiest ways to handle it.

Often we turn to our family and friends over the increased loss of our pets, as frequently they will understand what you’re going right through and even grieve with you. If you do not have family or friends who you can go to for support, or if you want more help working throughout your grief, then find a service group or therapist for grief counseling.

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