Coping with the Loss of a Pet

Anyone who has experienced the loss of a pet knows how heartbreaking it can be.

About two years ago my family lost our beloved curly-haired Maltese, Casper. Our family had Casper for over 10 years and it was like losing a member of our family.

The coping process for the death of a pet can be difficult. It can also be difficult for others to know how to console a loved one who has experienced the loss of a pet. Consider some of the remedies below to get yourself (or a loved one) through this distressing time:

Acknowledge the loss. Don’t avoid your feelings. It is healthy to acknowledge your grief and console it in a healthy manner. One great way to acknowledge and celebrate your pet’s life is by holding a memorial. This can be something as simple as planting a tree in your backyard in remembrance of your pet and saying a poem upon burial; maybe even include a plaque at the bottom of the tree to show it is in honor of your loved pet.

Be open to receive support. If you feel comfortable, talk to those around you that you are close with. There are also various pet bereavement support groups with others who are feeling the same way as you.

Listen. Offering a friend support through a time of grievance can simply mean listening to them. This can help them relieve their frustration and sadness. If your friend is not ready to discuss their loss, simply being present, giving them a hug, or sending flowers can be great ways to show you are there for them to lean on.

Take your time. Everyone deals with a loss in their own way. Take your time in recognizing your sadness and taking as much time as you need to grieve. It is healthy to accept the reality of your loss, and take steps to deal with it. Do things that make you happy – maybe go for a bike ride or color in a coloring book meant to help with loss and healing.

Hopefully these coping remedies will help you through your difficult time. The grieving process is different for everyone. Be kind to yourself. It is okay to be sad about the death of your pet and take the healthy steps towards acceptance of your loss. For more assistance, consider contacting your local Humane Society or speak with your veterinarian.

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Photo Credit: A Healthier Michigan

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