Members of the family
People love their pets and consider them members of their family. Everyone knows how I feel about my pets…they are part of my family. At work I am the designated “GO TO Person” to discuss any animal situation. I know all my coworkers’ pets by name and get updated pictures of every celebration. I hear about vet visits, potty training, obedience training progress reports and much more.
Since they are members of our families, it is not unusual to feel overwhelmed by sorrow when a pet dies. Animals provide companionship, acceptance, emotional support, and unconditional love during the time they share with us. If you can understand and accept this bond between humans and animals, you've already taken the first step toward coping with pet loss and you will know it is okay to grieve when your pet dies. Understanding how you grieve and finding ways to cope with your loss can bring you closer to the day when your memories will bring smiles instead of tears.
What is the grief process?
The grief process is as individual as the person, lasting days for one person or years for another. The process typically begins with denial. You may feel guilt about what you did or did not do. Sadness, grief, and depression are very common emotions after the loss of a pet.
Coping with grief
· Acknowledge your grief and give yourself permission to express it.
· Cry. Let your tears flow for that special friend.
· Don't hesitate to reach out to others who can lend a sympathetic ear.
· Write about your feelings, either in a journal or a poem.
· Prepare a memorial for your pet.
· Volunteer with an animal rescue. It may be too early to think about adopting another pet but you can help care for pets in need. This will help you deal with the loss of your precious friend.