Is it the End of the World? Coping With Pet Loss
When a pet approaches life’s end, there isn’t a single owner out there who easily embraces the change. While we know the chances of outliving our pets is extremely high, we still walk along the path enjoying life’s moments together, paw in hand. Even if we know death is around the corner (as in the case of a long illness), pet loss continues to challenge people who have loved and cared for a best friend.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve had two years or two decades with your pet, the emotions surrounding pet loss run deep. Similarly, the events that preceded your pet’s passing are very significant. Often, accidental injury or poisoning can cause an early death, but these cases don’t necessarily impact owners more than those who have months to consider diminished quality of life or prepare for a pet’s passing from illness, disease, or old age.
The bottom line is that pet loss is hard, and it affects all pet owners in various ways.
Pain, Guilt, and Grief
Pet loss can trigger different feelings. Primarily, owners feel guilt over certain decisions or events that resulted in death, but societal perceptions about how to “get over” pet loss impact grief and mourning. Certainly, pet owners are expected to simply move on quicker from pet loss than losing a human friend or relative. However, depending on the relationship between owner and pet, the grief can be the same.
Dealing With Pet Loss
We offer pet loss support on the first Wednesday of every month. Join us at 1 p.m. EST for a discussion designed to help you carry the weight of grief and discuss the possible ways you can honor your pet’s life. Keeping grief, anger, and sadness inside prohibits healing; we’re here to help you address emotional pain. Understanding the feelings you’re going through can help with the process.
Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns about our support group.
There are other coping strategies that may help you face pet loss, such as:
- Honor your pet with a dignified funeral or pet memorial. Choose your pet’s final resting place wisely (consider certain city ordinances and public areas beforehand).
- Pay tribute to your pet and say goodbye in ways that are meaningful to you.
- Continue to give other pets in your care the attention and affection they deserve; doing so will help you cope. Plus, they’re also grieving their lost companion.
It’s devastating to let go of a friendship that sustained you through good times and bad. It’s not uncommon to consider adopting a new pet soon after the death of a best friend, but it can be beneficial to wait until you’re truly past the grief and pain associated with pet loss. Until then, keep your pet’s memory alive through any number of shared activities you enjoyed together, allowing your heart to heal. After that, you may be ready to embark on the path of pet ownership once again.
Please let us know if you need help dealing with pet loss. The team at Barton Heights Veterinary Hospital is always here for you.