Pets are so much more than just a plaything, they are another member of your family. If you talk to anyone who has ever had the privilege of having a pet, they are just the same as a son or daughter or best friend. Because pets truly are a member of the family, losing them can be absolutely devastating. So how do you cope with the loss of a pet?
For anyone who has experience the loss of a pet, no matter what the circumstances were, it can be very hard to cope during such a difficult time. Sometimes friends and family members may not understand why you are so upset, or may not be able to offer the support you need, while you maybe be facing expensive vet bills or just in general incredibly sad over losing one of your loved ones.
As you cope with the loss of your pet, here are some of the many things that you can and should do to help you heal and carry on with your life, while your beloved pet still lives on in your heart.
Mourning in Your Own Way
An absolutely essential part of the healing process is mourning. Mourning involves sitting with one’s grief, feeling it and processing it. You may not want to do your regular everyday activities, and you may want to stay home often as you cope with the massive loss. Give yourself some grace and leeway during this extremely difficult time. If you are normally someone who is constantly on-the-go or who is incredibly social, this forced step back from your everyday life may be just what the doctor ordered.
It’s very important to acknowledge your grief and truly feel it. Many people try to sweep the pain and emotions under the proverbial rug, without actually addressing these feelings. Doing so can lead to unhealthy coping mechanisms, like drinking or using drugs, instead of fully processing and working through the grief.
Have A Memorial Service
Another great way to help you process and cope with the loss of your beloved pet is to have a memorial service. Invite those who you love or who have had a relationship with your pet. Ask someone to speak if you feel it will be too much for you, or if you can, make your own speech about the pet whom you have loved for years.
Include anything that was special to your pet, like displaying their favorite toys, and make sure to put up lots of pictures so that guests can relive their fun times and connection with your pet. You can play the music that they liked, and share stories of your funny pet and the things he or she did.
This sort of memorial service can be incredibly cathartic, and can really help you on your road to healing from the grief. While it might seem very sad, for many people, a memorial service can feel like a happy time and a celebration of their pet. They may hear stories about their pet that they never have before or hear more about the connections your pet had with other people that you might not have been aware of. All in all, the experience should help you as you embark on your journey towards healing.
Enjoy the Memories
Spend time each day reveling in the memories that you have of the pet you lost. You can go through old pictures, watch old videos, or make a scrapbook of your favorite furry creature. Putting up pictures throughout your home will offer the comfort that your beloved pet is still with you, while also celebrating their memory. Keeping your pet’s ashes or even something as mundane as their favorite toy can truly help you to feel the presence of your pet, long after they are no longer with us. Keep their memory alive to aide as you heal from their death.
Therapy and Support
After the death of a pet, you may feel incredibly lost or lonely, especially if the pet was your companion for a long time, or had been with you during difficult times when you needed them most. This animal being gone can leave an empty hole in your heart. Reaching out for support from friends and family might feel embarrassing or too vulnerable, but doing to can help you immensely. Simply telling loved ones that you are struggling can get you some added support that you might not have even considered you would need.
You can also see a licensed therapist to help you process and deal with the grief that you are feeling. Therapists are excellent as you are dealing with the death of your pet because they offer guidance and listening in a judge free zone. They can ask key questions that will help you pinpoint issues and properly work through them. All in all, having a therapist can be a great way to continue to get through your grief and sadness after losing your pet.
Consider getting another animal
For some people, after losing a pet, the thought of getting a new one can be too much. They may feel that it is disloyal to the pet that they had for so many years and that moving on is akin to having a new significant other before they have even gotten finished with their divorce.
This is not the case, though. You have a lot of love to give, and giving it to your pet was not only good for him, but it was also great for you. Losing the animal that you gave so much to and took care of can leave a deep void. Bringing home a new pet who may come from unfortunate circumstances and truly needs a good home, can do wonders for your soul and will help you to have a purpose each day as you deal with the fallout after the death of your pet.
Losing a pet is absolutely devastating, but using the above tips, you can get through it and come out stronger on the other side.
Gary P. Cubeta
(Serving Americans In All 50 States)