How To Deal With The Loss Of A Pet

  • 17/11/2020

Pets are an essential part of life. They’re your support system during difficult times and the reason you wake up with a smile every day. You want them to stay with you forever, but eventually they pass on to the rainbow bridge in the sky.

Losing a pet is devastating, but you don’t have to feel lost and alone. This is how to deal with the loss of a pet. Process your grief and cope in healthy ways so you can celebrate their life and help your heart recover.

1. Explain Your New Reality

Many people have pets for the sake of their kids. Growing up with animal companions results in positive child development that leads to more successful lives. Children learn responsibility, respect and love from their pets. Now that source of companionship and learning is gone.

Explain your family’s loss in a way your kids can understand. Talking about death prepares them for loss later in life so they handle it in healthier ways.

2. Feel Your Feelings

Everyone experiences grief in different ways. You’ll likely feel intense emotions following the loss of a pet. One day, you could feel overwhelmingly sad. Other days you might focus on your anger at their death or lingering guilt.

It’s tempting to box away your feelings to deal with them later, but make sure you feel them now. Emotions are how you process your grief and continue to recover. Walk through your emotional journey without judgment towards yourself.

3. Reach Out to Others

Do you have friends or family members who have lost a pet in the past? Reach out to them to talk about your feelings. They’ll bond with you over their similar experiences and mention what helped them through the pain.

If you loved your pet like they were your child, it’s important to find others who felt the same way. Talking with someone who appreciates pets less than you will only leave you feeling disconnected and alone.

4. Establish a Legacy

Whether your loss was sudden or expected, pets leave a hole in your life when they pass. It’s challenging to comprehend how such a loving member of your family left behind only a water bowl or collar.

Establishing a legacy for your pet may help you cope with your grief. Make a photo album that documents their life or choose a memorial tree for your garden or yard. Reaching out for something tangible when you feel their loss is one way to feel connected with your pet even after they pass.

5. Remember Your Mental Health

Your mental health will struggle as you learn how to deal with the loss of a pet. You may battle more intense depression or anxiety. It’s essential to remember to care for your mental health instead of just accepting your emotional state.

When you have the energy and ability, try free self-care techniques that soothe and comfort you. Think about ideas like:

●      Taking a nap

●      Relaxing in a bath

●      Watching your favorite movie

The best self-care habits for you will depend on your interests and what makes you feel better without hurting your physical or mental health. Overmedicating or intense exercise routines are just a few examples that will only numb your heart instead of helping it heal.

6. Decide Their Next Step

After your pet passes, they need your help to take their next step. Talk with your vet about cremation or burial options. You’ll make this choice based on what you prefer and your financial limitations. There are also a few mitigating factors to consider.

Cremating your pet is more budget-friendly than a casket, but it may feel like a dramatic step when you’re not ready to say goodbye. Burying your pet in your backyard gives you a place to connect with your pet when you feel lonely. It also allows natural decomposition to occur over days or months while your pet grows into your chosen memorial tree or flower bush.

Research the local rules and regulations regarding pet burial before making this decision. Your Homeowners Association (HOA) or city government could prevent a burial to preserve nearby water sources or avoid attracting larger animals to the neighborhood to dig up the remains.

7. Give Yourself Time

Some people don’t form strong emotional attachments to their pets, but others do. Give yourself time to grieve. Even if some members of your family feel fine after a few days or weeks, it could take longer for you to process your loss.

Don’t rush your heart to recover by a specific deadline. According to a recent survey, 53% of people feel an expectation to move on three months after a loss. Emotional healing doesn’ work that way. You’ll feel better if you give yourself the time and space to recover without comparing yourself to others.

8. Talk With a Professional

You might feel like the loss of a pet isn’t significant enough to require therapy, but sometimes it is. Pets are members of the family, especially if you lived alone and they were your source of constant companionship. Talk with a professional if you feel overwhelmed. No one has to journey through grief alone, no matter who passed on.

Stick With a Routine

Death is a shock. The sudden finality of it can cause you to lose touch with your routine. As you figure out how to deal with the loss of a pet, stick with a routine as much as possible. The regularity will ground you while you learn to say goodbye to your pet.

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