Coping With the Loss of a Pet

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coping with the loss of a pet

I know how impossible it can be, coping with the loss of a pet.

You want to lie in bed and cry. Well, why not? I’ve done it, and it’s certainly better to cry it out to release your grief, then to keep it bottled up.

Just please make sure you don’t get lost in it. If you’re having trouble, get grief counselling, find a support group, and you are more than welcome to contact me as well. I am a certified Pet Loss Grief Support Coach.

Here are some ideas/tips/suggestions that may help you

Don’t let anyone tell you how you should feel. That goes double if it’s coming from someone who doesn’t share their life with animals, or has never experienced this kind of loss.

Honour your grief, don’t deny it, don’t repress it.

Surround yourself with people who understand – pet loss support groups, chat rooms, hotlines and counsellors. Volunteering there can also help.

Keep a journal where you can record your thoughts, feelings and memories.

You had a routine, and now it’s changed. Start a new hobby, try a new activity.

Remember the good times.

Create a memorial – a plaque for your garden, plant a tree, make a scrapbook…

Having a funeral is a way for you and your family to openly express grief.

Go to the beach and watch the waves – do something peaceful and contemplative.

Why not get some books and read about other peoples’ experiences? It helps knowing others have been through similar.

The human-animal bond has no strings attached, not something we experience too often in our human relationships is it? Honour what you had, treasure it.

It is not unusual to find it hard to sleep or eat, but making yourself sick won’t help. Take care of yourself.

Your other pets may be experiencing the loss of their mate, so keep an eye out for changes in behaviour, eating… Stick to the same routine they’ve been used to, and give them some extra TLC.

After experiencing the loss of a pet, many people say they are not prepared to live through that again, while others run out too quickly to try and “replace” the one that’s gone. Give yourself some time, and when you’re starting to feel more like yourself, consider bringing a homeless animal into your life. You still have a lot more love to give, and offering a home to an abandoned animal is a wonderful thing to do, not to mention how great it is for the soul.

Coping with the loss of a pet – conclusion

There are lots of options available, including online pet loss grief support, and local pet bereavement support groups. Many shelters also run regular groups, so contact your local shelter to see if they have one. If they don’t, why not offer to help them start one?

Here are a few sites that may help. I do not personally endorse any of them, I just provide them for you as a place to start.

Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement

Pet Loss Grief Support, Rainbow Bridge & Candle Ceremony

Blue Cross Pet Bereavement Support

I know how difficult coping with the loss of a pet can be, so please ask for help if you need it. 

Coping With the Loss of a Pet
Hindy Pearson
Helping people care for their senior dogs
I am a certified dog trainer and pet care consultant, specialising in working with rescue dogs and first time pet parents. I foster and adopt senior and special needs dogs, and advocate for shelter adoption of all animals, particularly older dogs and cats. I am currently working on a spay/neuter program in Spain.

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