Losing a pet can be an extremely difficult event in your life. Your pet was your companion, your friend, and part of your family. Still, it’s an unfortunate reality that pets do not live as long as humans.
Getting through the period of grief following the loss of a pet will be a challenge, but these coping ideas may help ease your pain.
1. Don’t be afraid to express your grief.
Sometimes, the worst thing we can do in times of grief is suppress that grief and try only to move on. You’ll never fully get over the loss of a beloved pet, but instead, your grief will change.
For now, let yourself feel sad about your pet’s passing. Show your emotions and talk with friends and family about it. At the same time, remember that eventually, the deep-cutting pain will evolve into something softer and easier to manage. It’s possible to move positively into the future while still cherishing the memories of your old friend.
2. Spend time with those you love.
We form special bonds with our pets, but it’s important to remember that there are other people and animals in our lives as well. If you have children, do something fun with them — if possible, remembering your pet together. If you have other pets, make sure to continue their routines as usual.
3. Keep their memory alive.
One of the most challenging aspects of losing a pet is being frightened that their memory will be forgotten. To address this fear, consider creating a memorial for your pet.
This could be a special tree that you plant in their honor, a nicely-framed picture of them, or even a donation to a local charity that you feel a connection with via your pet.
4. Re-evaluate your identity.
Many people identify as a “pet owner,” and while this is perfectly fine as part of your identity, it also means that losing a pet will feel like losing your entire identity. This can be devastating.
Your pet was undoubtedly a huge part of your life, but you’re more than that as well. Take this time to re-evaluate and adjust your identity as it will help tremendously with the mourning process.
If you have questions about caring for a pet who is ill, or if you’d like information about grief support groups in your area, your veterinarian can help. Sunset Veterinary Clinic is happy to speak with you any time. Please feel free to contact us today for more information.