Grieving the loss of a pet can be one of the most difficult experiences a person can go through. Pets provide us with companionship, love, and security, and losing them isn’t easy.
If you're grieving the loss of your pet, it's important to allow yourself to mourn in whatever way feels right for you. There are no set rules for grieving, but there are some things you can do to honor the memories you have with your pet and move forward in a healthy way.
1. Give yourself permission to be upset
Try not to listen to the voices in your head that tell you not to be upset over the death of your pet. Just like losing a human being, the loss of a pet can rock our worlds, so don’t try to pretend you’re totally fine. Cry if you need to, and let yourself feel all the emotions that come with the grief.
2. Honor the memories
Take some time to look at old pictures or videos, and maybe even share them with friends or family. Take some time to honor what you’ve lost by reflecting on what you had. This might get emotional, so be patient with yourself if you can only do this a little at a time.
3. Give a little love
There’s a quote that says, “Grief is just love with no place to go,” and sometimes, after we lose a pet, we can find a lot of healing in giving some love to other animals. Volunteering at our local shelter or pet sitting for a friend is a great way to help move through the grieving process.
The most important thing to remember is that grief is not ‘one size fits all, so try not to base your journey on what everyone else is doing. Even if you lost the family pet, try to remind yourself that everyone will feel the loss differently. Everyone will have different responses. While leaning on family members can be important, make sure it comes hand in hand with giving yourself time to yourself to grieve the special relationship you had with your pet.
If you’ve lost a pet this year, what’s something that helped you make it through?