Pet Loss Grief Support

WHAT IS "NORMAL" GRIEVING?


It is certainly normal to grieve the loss of a beloved pet.  A pet gives unconditional love and loyalty.  We in turn take the responsibility of thier health, happiness and well being very seriously.  Of course every individual is different.  Grief, then, can take many forms and you may experience any of the most common forms, or you may grieve in a different manner altogether.  More than likely you will experience one or more of the following:


¨      Crying                                                

¨      Tired

¨      Can’t eat, sleep or concentrate

¨      Lose weight

¨      Feel irritated or restless

¨      Feel angry or guilty

¨      Feel apathetic and time stands still

¨      Dismay that others don’t share your grief like you think they should

¨      Trying to bargain with God—“If you let him live, I’ll take better care of him.  I'll take him for more walks, etc.

WORKING THROUGH THE GRIEF


Since we are all individuals, it is not a surprise that every person handles grief differently.  Most experts do agree though, that keeping the grief inside is not a healthy way to handle grief either mentally or spiritually.


Even so, some people are not willing to share their grief with others and do grieve in private.


Following are some tips on handling the loss of a beloved pet whether you wish to share your grief or keep it private.


¨      It can be very therapeutic to talk to a friend, your vet, or your pastor about the loss of your pet.  It is best, of course, if that person has cherished pets of their own.  Don’t be surprised if you have a dear friend who just doesn’t understand your grief.  People who feel that way simply have not been in your shoes.

¨      Hold a memorial service for your pet.

¨      Spend time doing creative things.  Sitting around doing little may be what you feel like doing, but it won’t help you overcome your grief.  You can take photographs, draw or paint, make a scrapbook, sew, knit, crochet, sculpt, write a poem, book or song, etc.

¨      Take walks in new surroundings and notice things.  Go to a place you have admired and take a walk there.

¨      Handle something you have wanted to get done like clean the house, cook, bake, clean the garage, plant a garden, cut down some bushes, etc.

¨      If you find yourself dwelling on your loss, focus on some of the fun times you had with your pet.  It is certainly comforting remembering you beloved pet.  Just make sure you not “living” in the past or the future.  Make certain you are taking advantage of the here and now and what is going on around you.

CHILDREN GRIEVING FOR THEIR PET


Remember that your children will also grieve the loss of their pet.  A memorial service is one thing that can help them, too.  This is especially true if they have not had a chance to say goodbye.  In some cases, the children are not home when your pet is taken and they didn’t realize that their companion would not come back.  A service will help them do that.


Also, be sure to have a talk with your children letting them know what is happening and that their very beloved pet will not be coming back.  Let them know that it wasn’t anything they did, but simply animals do not live as long as we do and that it is a natural cycle.  Once they realize this, don’t be surprised if the children bounce back more quickly than you do.  You may have more losses in your life that are triggered by the loss of your pet, and it may take you a bit longer. 

SHOULD WE GET ANOTHER PET RIGHT AWAY ?

Pets, like people are also individuals. Most experts advise that you should not try to get a pet to “take the place” of the pet you lost. You will not be able to do that. Your pet was its own person. Another pet will most likely have an entirely different personality even if it is the same breed as the beloved pet you lost. It may be difficult for you at this time to truly bond with your new pet until some time has passed. However, once your grieving is over and you simply want to add another pet to the family for itself, by all means look for one. YOU ARE JUST THE KIND OF "OWNER/PARENT/FAMILY" A PET DESIRES AND DESERVES!

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