One of the most unfortunate realities of owning a pet is at some point you’ll have to face the loss of your beloved companion. The sad truth is almost all caregivers go through this experience because humans outlive animals. While this can be difficult and painful, some people deem it inappropriate to grieve for a pet because they find it shameful.
What these people don’t understand is that animals provide companionship, unconditional love, emotional support, and acceptance. That is why pet owners confide in their animals, celebrate their pet’s birthdays, and carry pictures of them everywhere they go. So, even though other people don’t understand the special bond you had with your pet, you still should not feel ashamed about grieving for an animal friend.
Coping with the death of a pet is not easy. To help you get past this difficult time, here are some healthy ways to deal with your loss. But first, you need to understand that the grieving process is a highly individual and personal experience. For some people, it can last for days or weeks. And for many others, they continue to grieve for years.
Often, the grieving process happens gradually. It usually elicits a mix of emotions such as denial, guilt, and anger. But regardless of how you grieve, try to be patient with yourself and let the process take its natural course. Things will definitely get better with time.
How to Cope with the Loss
Do Not Hide Your Feelings
It’s normal to feel a sense of emptiness after the loss of a beloved pet. Trying to ignore your feelings or keeping them bottled up inside only makes it worse. In order to initiate the healing process, it’s important to face your grief so that you can start to deal with it and heal. You can do this by crying, talking it through with other pet owners, or writing about your feelings in a journal. Signing up for pet loss counseling services is also recommended if you have no one who can lend a sympathetic ear.
Hold Bereavement and Memorial Rituals
By choosing to hold a funeral, both you and your family members can openly express your feelings. Some people also choose to do something in memory of their pets like plant a tree or create a photo album. Taking such steps to remember your pet can help you overcome your loss and start to remember your pet with smiles instead of tears.
Consider Joining a Pet Shelter
The loss of a pet can affect retired people even more than younger adults. For working people, they can distract themselves with work. But if you’re in your golden years, your pet may have been your sole companion and now you face the very real possibility of not outliving a new pet should you decide to adopt another one. With that in mind, the act of helping a homeless pet at a local animal shelter may help you with your grieving and sadness.
Move On With Life
Although it’s a sad thing in life to have to say goodbye to a dear friend, it’s no reason to neglect yourself to the point where you fall into depression. In your time of grief, make sure to look after your physical and emotional well-being as this will help you get through the difficult process. Other pets also experience grief and can become distressed when they see you drowning in sorrow. So, if you have more than one pet, try to maintain your normal routine if only because you don’t want to affect those who love you. While getting another pet is also a viable option to go on with life, don’t rush into this decision because a new animal cannot replace the one you lost. Make sure to give children, older family members, other surviving pets and yourself ample time to grieve and come to terms with the loss before getting a new pet.
Article courtesy of 50 PLUS REPORT Online Magazine.