When we lose a parent, spouse, child or a friend we are usually met with empathy. We are allowed to experience negative emotional and grief, but when we lose a pet – some people may try to belittle our pain.
Some people will even be so insensitive to comment something like: “Why don’t you just get another pet?”
If you are among those who have lost a furry best friend, someone who has loved you unconditionally – know that you are not alone and that you need to allow yourself to experience grief.
Here are some tips on what you can do to make yourself feel at least a little bit better:
Be patient and kind with yourself.
Our losses are real and evoke a variety of painful feelings and memories. Any time you find yourself wishing you were better, wanting to be “past” it, remind yourself that your emotional processing has no set endpoint.
Find an ally.
It will be so much easier if you find at least one safe person you can talk to about your loss. If you can’t identify someone who is safe, call your veterinarian and ask for the name of another pet owner who recently experienced a loss, or look into joining a support group.
Engage in rituals.
When a human dies there are some rituals that help us get some closure: Funerals, ceremonies, and anniversaries of the beloved’s death acknowledged. Create your own rituals for your pet. Have a ceremony in the dog park or hold a service at your home.
Dispose of possessions gradually.
When we encounter a food bowl, bed – we may start to feel even worse. The first step can be to move them to a different location. This will help you with the transition. When you are ready, put your pet’s tag on your keychain, it will help you to feel close to your late pets at any time.