By: Dylan Fredette
Coping with the loss of a pet is one of life’s most difficult and painful challenges. The pain is similar to the loss of a dear friend or close family member. After all, pets are family, and their loss leaves an undeniable hole in our lives. There is no one, uniform, right way to grieve. We all experience loss differently. However, when experiencing the loss of a pet, it is important to lean into positive and healthy coping methods.
No one expects you to have it all together after the devastation of losing a pet. Make room for grief and let your feelings out. In fact, expressing your emotions is one of the most important healing actions you can take! Talk to your loved ones and confide in them when you are struggling. They will be there to support you with a shoulder to cry on. Remember, refusing to acknowledge your negative emotions can lead to serious consequences. Pushing down feelings that need to come out can lead to anxiety and depression. Instead, honor where you’re at an let it all flow!
Your local veterinarian is an invaluable resource! Your vet has doubtlessly helped countless families through the loss of a pet. They will have valuable advice based on years of experience and may have suggestions for resources to help process your grief, such as books or support groups. Joining an online support group and reading/talking with others about similar situations will help to remind you that you are not alone. Perhaps more importantly, you never have to be! Sharing and processing grief with others is extremely valuable. Your new support system will be able to share their experiences and the tactics they learned to cope with the loss of a pet.
After you have given yourself the time and space necessary to grieve, you can prepare a memorial for your pet. For many pet owners, this is a popular and deeply healing process. A dedicated pet memorial can be a beautiful way to honor your pet’s memory. It also keeps their presence alive in your home! Consider gathering your favorite photos of your pet, as well as their favorites toys or collar to dedicate a space in your home to your pet. You may also find comfort and joy from a custom stuffed animal of your pet! When you’re grief gets the better of you, you can go to the memorial and feel their presence while reliving their memory.
While it’s important to allow yourself to grieve, sometimes a healthy distraction is extremely important. One of the best things you can do for yourself is to keep your mind occupied with something you love! Now is an excellent time to discover a new hobby or rediscover an activity you haven’t done in ages. It may sound simple, but it helps so much! Additionally, it’s also very important to keep your body healthy. A healthy body supports a healthy brain and vice versa! Take a nice long walk outdoors or commit to a workout regimen. Anything helps and makes a massive difference.
We know that grief looks different for everyone, and we want to extend our deepest and most heartfelt condolences for the loss of your beloved pet. However, we hope these tips will help you cope and process your grief in a healthy, productive way. No one is ever ready to send their friend across the rainbow bridge, but it’s all part of life. Pets are irreplaceable parts of our family. They deserve to be remembered in the best way possible!
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