Are you having trouble adjusting to the loss of your furry friend? Pets are family, too, and mourning is normal.
As a pet owner, you know how very much your pets become a part of the family. You also know how well-loved those trusted companions are, and how very much they are missed when they are gone. Losing a pet can be a traumatic experience emotionally, and one that can take a lot of time to recover from. There are things you can do to ease the effects of grief, even if you can’t imagine life without your furry friend. Here are five tips for dealing with the loss of a beloved pet:
Saying goodbye. You don’t have to hold a funeral (although you can if you want to) to acknowledge the death of your loved one, but it is important that you pay tribute to your pet when it passes. This allows you some sense of closure, and also enables you to celebrate the love you have for your pet in a way that you can look back on and feel good about.
Knowing what to expect. You need to understand that you will inevitably go through grief in its many forms. These forms include anger, denial, guilt, and depression. Know that all of these feelings are a natural part of recovery, and acknowledge them as they arise, without judgment.
Expressing grief. In addition to recognizing and acknowledging your feelings, you also need to allow yourself to experience them fully. One of the worst, most emotionally harmful, things you can do with feelings of any type is to stifle or repress them. Therefore, when you notice that certain difficult emotions are bubbling to the top, don’t cap them. Express them. People express emotions in different ways, from writing a poem, to screaming, to punching a pillow. Do whatever it takes and, again, don’t judge.
Filling the time. There will be certain times of the day that you routinely spent with your pet, which you will have to fill with something else. Make a conscious effort to choose activities that make you feel good and that relieve stress. This is a great time to try something new. For example, if you took your dog for a walk every evening, then you may want to take up an evening yoga class instead.
Seeking support. It is likely that you know many people who have been through the painful process of recovering from the loss of a pet. Go to those people for emotional support. If need be, join a support group for bereaved pet owners.
Losing a pet is not easy, and nothing will make it easy. However, there are things you can do to ease the pain. Follow these suggestions to get through the hardest part, and remember that time heals all wounds.
About the Author: Bernardo Sartorius is a healthcare advocate and knows the emotional toll the loss of a pet can take on any loving caretaker. He enjoys writing about heart disease, mental health, candida and yeast infection issues, endocrinology, and more.