How to Deal With the Loss of Your Pet 

Gracefully Greying
Gracefully Greying

| 3 min read

Close up view, portrait. Woman is with golden retriever dog at home
In this video, Gracefully Greying health correspondent Lila Lazarus tells the story of losing her dog, Yogi, and shares tools for getting through the grief. 
Our pets are sources of companionship, unconditional love and joy. The bond we develop with them is personal, meaningful and deep. Pets give us immense joy, comfort and support. And while studies reveal many health benefits of having a pet – including reduced stress, improved cardiovascular health and increased social interaction – dealing with the grief and loss when they’re gone can feel overwhelming.
Everyone copes with loss in their own way. Grief is different for everyone. The loss can trigger a series of emotions from anger to guilt to full-blown depression. But there are ways to get through the sadness, loneliness and emptiness that many experience when they’re gone.
Here are some tips that may help:
Feel it. Allow yourself to grieve. Losing your pet can be as painful as losing a family member. Feel the emotions that come with the loss. The pain comes and goes and people grieve in their own way.
Talk about it. Find friends, family members or even a support group to talk to. It’s helpful to share how you’re feeling. Don’t hold the pain inside. Find people who understand. Not everyone does, especially those who have never had a pet. Find support from other pet owners who understand the depth of the bond and lover we can have with our furry friends.
Journal about it. Write down your favorite memories or whatever comes to mind. Describe your pet and also your pain. Get it out of your head and onto paper.
Create a memorial. Put together a photo album, a scrap book, create a pet shrine or plant a tree in your pet’s honor.
Take care of you. It’s ok not to be ok, but you still need to take care of yourself. Get outside and get fresh air. Get exercise. Motion will move your emotions. Be sure to get enough sleep and find support.
Write a letter. Put pen to paper and write an actual letter to your pet. Let them know what they meant to you and how hard it’s going to be without them.
Gracefully Greying puts a spotlight on those who are 50+ or are helping aging parents and family members. A weekly livestream on social media platforms highlights relevant information and meaningful discussions about growing older and staying young in heart and mind. Lila Lazarus is an award–winning news anchor and health reporter who speaks five languages and holds two master’s degrees. She has covered the news all over the world. Lila believes we all can infuse our lives with passion and excitement and leads by example. Lila is the Health and News Correspondent at Gracefully Greying.
Photo credit: Getty Images

A Healthier Michigan is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.
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