The Grief of Losing a Pet
The Purpose of Pets in our Lives
Thank you to all my followers and friends who supported me during the loss of my beloved best friend Marlewy my Dog. I am at peace with the belief that she is now happy, having fun eating her favorite foods and onto her next journey.Pets teach us kindness and compassion. They love unconditionally. Pets are a beloved member of the family. This past weekend the love of my life, my baby Marley a Soft Coated Wheaton Terrier, went to doggie heaven to play with her pals.I grieve her loss yet celebrate her life and the love and companionship she gave me. Each time I walked in the door she would jump up on my shoulders and greet me with a sloppy kiss and sometimes even a little excitement pee. When my life was in the dumps and I couldn’t face another day, I knew when I went home she would be there to greet me, to love me and we would share happy moments playing together. Marley was beautiful, soft, elegant, statuesque and a true Queen.
Grieving the loss of a Pet:
The more significant your pet was to you, the more intense the emotional pain you’ll feel when they pass. While some people may not understand the depth of feeling you had for your pet, you should never feel guilty or ashamed about grieving for an animal friend.7
Grieving is a highly individual experience. Some people find grief following the loss of a pet comes in stages, where they experience different feelings such as denial, anger, guilt, depression, and eventually acceptance and resolution. Others find that their grief is more cyclical, coming in waves, or a series of highs and lows. Still, even years after a loss, a sight, a sound, or a special anniversary can spark memories that trigger a strong sense of grief.
The grieving process happens gradually. It can’t be forced or hurried. There is no “normal” timetable for grieving. Some people start to feel better in weeks or months. For others, the grieving process is measured in years. It’s important to be patient with yourself and allow the process to naturally unfold.
Feeling sad, shocked, or lonely is a normal reaction to the loss of a beloved pet. Experiencing these feelings doesn’t mean you are weak or your feelings are somehow misplaced. It means that you’re mourning the loss of an animal you loved, so you shouldn’t feel ashamed.
Trying to ignore your pain or keep it from surfacing will only make it worse. For real healing to occur, it is necessary to face your grief and actively deal with it. By expressing your grief, you’ll likely need less time to heal than if you “bottle up” your feelings. Journal about your feelings and talk about them with others who are sympathetic to your loss.
Here are some suggestions to help when mourning the loss of your best friend. Use these healthy ways to cope with your loss, to comfort yourself, and to begin the process of healing and moving on.
Don’t let anyone tell you how to feel, be patient and kind with yourself.and don’t tell yourself how to feel either. Your grief is your own, and no one else can tell you when it’s time to “move on” or “get over it.” Let yourself feel whatever you feel without embarrassment or judgment. It’s okay to be angry, to cry or not to cry. It’s also okay to laugh, to find moments of joy, and to let go when you’re ready.This is the first key to dealing with your grief effectively. Our losses are real, painful, and evoke a variety of feelings and memories. Any time you find yourself wishing you were better, wanting to be “past” it, remind yourself that your emotional processing has no set endpoint. You’re in mourning and, by pressuring yourself, you only make yourself feel worse.
Reach out to others who have lost pets, find an ally. Reach out to friends and family who have experienced the loss of a pet. Check out online message boards, pet loss hotlines, and pet loss support groups. If your friends and family members are not sympathetic about pet loss, find someone who is. Find at least one safe person you can talk to about your loss. If you can’t identify someone who is safe, call your veterinarian and ask for the name of another pet owner who recently experienced a loss, or look into joining a support group specifically for pet loss. Often, another person who has also experienced the loss of a beloved pet may better understand what you’re going through.
Rituals can help healing – Create a Legacy – Memorialize your pet. A funeral or ceremony can help you and your family members openly express your feelings. A celebrating of their life, show photos, videos talk about all the fun times you shared with your pet. Preparing a memorial, planting a tree in memory of your pet, compiling a photo album or scrapbook, or otherwise sharing the memories you enjoyed with your pet, can create a legacy to celebrate the life of your animal companion. Write down your thoughts and feelings or by sharing your pet’s story with your ally. When did you get your pet? What are some special memories? What were his or her personality features? What will you miss the most? This overview helps solidify the things you want to make sure not to forget. Remembering the fun and love you shared with your pet can help you to eventually move on.
Dispose of possessions gradually: Often, we encounter the food bowl, bed, or blankets and are unsure of what to do with them. The first step can be to move them to a different location from where they usually were. For instance, take the bed out of your bedroom. This helps the transition and lets you move the items before you remove them. When you are ready, put your pet’s tag on your keychain. Seal his or her belongings in a trunk. Donate the bed to an animal organization.
Seek professional help if you need it.If your grief is persistent and interferes with your ability to function, your doctor or a mental health professional can help. There are many books and resources online to help you through the grieving process. My suggestion is to focus on the good times and the joy they brought into your life and know they are in a wonderful place called Pet Heaven, sharing time with their friends, playing, and enjoying their life waiting to see you and once again be a part of your life.