Dealing with Pet Grief

July 28, 2017

Dealing with Pet Grief

It can be very difficult for pet parents to lose a beloved family member and a best friend who provided companionship and love to the whole family for a number of years before passing. Getting through the period which follows is never easy, and is likely to be felt more keenly by young children for quite awhile.

Knowing how to deal with your grief, and your family's grief, during these times can be especially important, because even while you recall the love and happiness provided by your lost pet, eventually the normal activities of life have to be resumed. Here are a few suggestions for coping with your grief over the loss of a beloved family pet.

Avoid Self-Recriminations

One thing you really must do is avoid any kind of self-blame or self-recriminations. Whatever the reason for your pet's passing, quite often simple old age, there really wasn't anything you could have done, nor could anyone else have intervened to change things. Beating yourself up over the loss will only prolong the sense of loss and anguish, and it will delay emotional healing. It is far better to accept the fact that it was just your pet's time to move on to the Better Place and recall all the good times you shared.

Support Groups

You'd be surprised how many social groups there are for dealing with the loss of a beloved pet friend, both online and offline. Online forums might be better in some ways because, at any time of day when you're feeling a little depressed, you can log on and talk to someone who has had the same experience. These may be the best people to talk to, because they understand what you're going through, and they have had to cope with grief in the same way you have to. A friendly and sympathetic voice can be a world of comfort at a moment when you're feeling particularly sensitive about your loss.

A New Family Member

One obvious possibility is seeking out another member to join your family. Your lost pet can never be replaced, but another pet with an entirely different personality and a unique appeal all its own can help to fill the ache in your heart and provide a new vessel to pour out your love and affection on. You may not be prepared for this step for quite awhile after losing a loved one, and this is understandable, but it's still a very realistic option for when the time becomes appropriate. 

Keep in mind that there needn't be a clean break or switching over from your previous pet to this new one. You can allow yourself to continue to grieve in your own way for the loss you've suffered, even as you search for a new family member. There is no set time when grieving should end, and a new pet should be embraced - let it all happen naturally, at the normal pace of life.

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