Coping with the Loss of Your Pet

Learning more ahead of time about options concerning your pet’s death, and what to expect when you lose a pet, can help you and your family cope with this difficult loss. Planning ahead for our pets has many benefits and it’s easier to do when you’re not feeling the grief of your loss.

Is it normal for me to feel so angry/sad/confused after my pet has passed away?

Many forms of grief are completely normal. The most distressing are hallucination-type experiences that leave an impression that you are hearing familiar sounds of your pet. Some people even think that they see their pet out of the corner of their eye, especially after just waking.

Often, it is the most responsible owners who feel guilty and confused about the choices they made regarding the end of their pet’s life. Occasionally, a person may feel temporarily angry with their veterinarian or others involved in end-of-life issues. These feelings of anger may be our attempts to distract from the ultimate encounter with the sadness of the loss.

What are some things I can do to work through my grief?

The most important thing is to recognise that the loss of a pet is a serious event that society does not always respect. Your first task is to take care of yourself. Grief is a normal process, and time really does heal.

Sometimes it helps to create a special place in your home to which you can go when you want to remember your pet. Although remembering may be painful at first, eventually that pain will turn into sweet memories. How long should we wait until we get another pet for the family?

Even though your house feels very empty, and your young children may be asking for a replacement right away, it is best to wait at least one month before bringing home a new pet. If you feel attracted to a new pet, don’t worry that it is a betrayal of the lost animal. Your ability to give a good home to a new pet is really a compliment to your previous relationship.

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