When someone you love passes away, it's normal to feel grief, pain and expect family and friends to provide comfort and support.
Sadly, you do not get the same support when a family pet passes away. Some people still do not recognize how central pets can be in a person's life, and many may not get why you're grieving over "just a pet."
The Loss Of A Pet Hurts. A Lot.
Most of us share extreme love and bond with our pets. For us, a family pet is not "just a cat" or "just a dog," but rather a beloved part of our family, bringing friendship, fun, as well as a joy to our lives. A pet can add structure to one's day, keep you energetic and social, help conquer problems and obstacles in life, and sometimes give you a sense of purpose. So, when a cherished pet dies, it's natural to feel racked by sorrow and loss.
The pain of loss can feel frustrating and set off all sorts of uncomfortable and challenging emotions. While some people might not recognize the depth of love you had for your pet, you must never feel guilty or embarrassed about grieving for a furry friend.
While most of us process loss in different ways, the degree of pain you experience will commonly depend upon things as your age and personality, the age of your pet, and the circumstances of their death.
The role a pet plays in your life can additionally have an influence. For instance, if your pet is a service or therapy pet, you'll not only be suffering from a loss of an animal companion but also a loss of a coworker, the loss of your freedom, or the loss of emotional support.
If you are alone and the pet was your only companion, overcoming their loss can be more challenging. And if we're incapable of keeping up with treatment costs to lengthen your pet's life, you may also feel a profound sense of shame.
While experiencing loss is an unavoidable part of having a pet, there are healthy ways to manage your grief. When the time is right, maybe you can also open your heart to another pet buddy.
The Grief Process
The grief process differs for each person. However, the procedure generally starts with denial, which offers protection until the grieving person can recognize their loss.
Some owners might attempt bargaining with a higher power, themselves, and even their pet to recover life. Some may feel anger or a sense of guilt in the things they did or did not do; they might think it is unacceptable to be so hurt.
After these sensations subside, pet owners might experience genuine grief or sadness and become depressed. Acceptance happens when the reality of the loss is appreciated, and the pet is remembered with a reduced amount of sorrow.
How Does One Cope With The Loss Of A Beloved Pet?
Sorrow and grief are normal reactions to death. Like sorrow for our close friends and loved ones, sorrow for our pet companions can only be managed gradually, but there are healthy methods to cope with the loss. Right here are some recommendations:
Don't let anybody tell you how to feel, and don't tell yourself how to feel either. Your grief is your own, and no person else can say to you when it's time to "get over it." Allow yourself to feel your emotions without humiliation or judgment. It's alright to be upset, to sob, or not to cry. It's also all right to laugh, to find some seconds of delight, and to let go when you're ready.
Reach out to others who have lost family pets. Have a look at online message boards, pet loss hotlines, and pet loss support systems. If your very own family is not thoughtful regarding pet loss, find somebody who is. Often, a person who has also experienced the loss of a precious pet may be better at understanding what you're experiencing.
Let rituals help you heal. Pet memorial services can help you and your family members to freely express your feelings. Don't mind people who say that it's petty to hold a funeral for a family pet and do what feels right for you.
Create a tradition. Preparing a memorial, growing a tree in memory of your pet, compiling a picture album or scrapbook, or otherwise sharing the memories you have with your family pet, can develop a tradition to celebrate the life of your animal buddy. Remembering the fun and enjoyment that you shared with your pet can help you move on at some point.
Care for on your own. The stress of losing a family pet can deplete your overall energy will. Taking care of your physical and emotional needs will help you get through this challenging time. Hang around in person with people who respect you, consume healthy foods, get plenty of rest, and work out frequently to release endorphins and boost your state of mind.
If you have other pets, keep your routine. If you have other pets, you can make it through with them. Pets can also experience loss when a family pet passes away, or they may end up being distressed by your intense grief. Keeping their daily routines, or even boosting workout and play times, will not just benefit the remaining pets but can also help you.
How To Deal With Other People Who Devalue Your Grief?
One facet that can make grieving for the loss of a pet so hard is that everybody shuns pet loss. Some family and friends may say, "What's the big deal? It's just a pet!" Some individuals assume that pet loss shouldn't be as painful as human loss or that it is somehow unacceptable to grieve for the loss of a pet. People who do not have a pet of their own cannot appreciate the companionship and love that an animal can offer. When faced with these people in your grief process, remember:
- Do not argue with others about whether your sorrow is appropriate or otherwise.
- Accept the reality that the best assistance for your grief might come from outside your usual circle of family and friends.
- Seek out other people who also have lost pets, those people who can appreciate the magnitude of your grief and may have the ability to recommend ways to mourn the loss of your pet healthily.
While grief is an individual experience, you need not go through your loss alone. Many forms of support are available, like pet-loss support hotlines, online and offline pet-bereavement therapy services, articles, videos, and other resources.
Other ways to help you heal:
- Acknowledge your grief and give your consent to share it.
- Don't think twice to reach out to others that can offer a listening ear. Do a little research online to find resources and support groups that might be helpful to you.
- Write about your grief, either in a journal or a poem, essay, or short story.
- Call your veterinarian or regional humane society to see whether they offer a pet-loss support group or hotline or refer you to one.