Coping with Losing a Pet
By Craig Davis, CEO and Chief Happiness Officer at Vet-Organics.com
For some, the loss of a pet is equivalent to losing a child or close family member. While many people who don’t have pets have a hard time understanding this, here in the pet community (and at Vet Organics), we genuinely understand just how special pets are and how devastating losing one can be. At first, simple routines without your pet, such as a morning walk, make each day feel extremely empty. If your pet shared a close bond with another member of your household, you both may be facing an unfamiliar and seemingly lifeless world during this hard time. Although this period is difficult, there are a few steps you can take to help get you through the worst of it. We’ll explore some of these options below.
It’s Okay to Grieve
Don’t be discouraged by others who say, “It’s just a dog. It’s not like it was your child or anything serious like that.” It’s okay to grieve. Take some time to decompress in any way that feels right for you. You may need a period of crying, which is totally fine. Or you may want to visit some of your pet’s favorite spots to think about your best times with them. The point is, do what feels right to you and don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. If you can, try to take some time off from work so you can really let yourself grieve. After all, you took care of this pet like a child so it’s only natural to feel really empty when they’re gone.
While you’re grieving and letting it out on your own, you want to be careful not to close out others in the meantime. Therefore, it’s a good idea to find support. You’d be surprised by how comforting visiting with friends and family who knew your pet the best can be. Reminisce on the good times that you guys shared together and laugh a little. A simple, shared laugh can be just the medicine you need. These days, many people turn to Facebook to share the sad tidings, finding an outpouring of support.
Create a Memorial
Just because your pet has left the physical world doesn’t mean they’re gone forever. A good way to remember your loved one is to create a small memorial for them in a special place in your home. You could add your favorite pictures of them or even their favorite toys. The idea is to keep their memory (and presence) close by at all times.
Hold Off on Adoption
For many people, the void is so overwhelming that they feel the need to find a new pet shortly after some time has passed. We encourage you to seek adoption or a new puppy or kitten only when you have properly healed and not a moment sooner. Don’t be mistaken; losing a pet is a very difficult thing to go through. It’s important to take the time to grieve properly (for however long it takes) and know that it will get somewhat easier over time. Let your pet’s memory live on in the most positive way possible. (If you found this article of interest, you might also like to read a related post on Vet Organics’ blog: Considerations for Holding a Dog Funeral.)