The death of a beloved pet can be almost as devastating as the loss of a family member. Many people love their pets so much that they eventually come to consider them members of their own family. So when these animals close their eyes for the last time, their owners are left with intense sorrow and overwhelming grief.
There is a strong bond that develops between humans and their pets, and no one understands this better than dog owners.
Dogs provide companionship and unconditional love and are often a great source of fun, laughter, and mischief. With time, they worm their way into their caregivers’ hearts and become an integral part of their lives. Growing up with a dog, or even having one in adulthood means having a non-judgmental companion who provides constant emotional support. It is easy to see why severing such a bond causes untold emotional pain.
When the death of a pet happens, it is essential for the owners to know how to cope with their loss.
Cope with the death of a pet
Here are some pointers that can help:
- Talking about the loss. Pet owners need to find people to talk to about the feelings brought about by their pet’s death. They need to find someone who will allow them to reminisce and talk about the memories they have. Pet-bereavement counseling services and pet-loss support groups can provide a safe place to do this.
- They are feeling grief and pain. Any death is traumatic and brings up a myriad of feelings — these range from anger and denial to guilt and depression. People process grief differently, and it is imperative for pet caregivers to allow themselves to feel all emotions associated with their loss. Giving free rein to their grief will enable them to move closer to acceptance gradually.
- Hold a burial ceremony. Many pet owners have found comfort in holding a simple service to say goodbye to their pets. Several organizations have come up with different ways of allowing people to do this. For instance, in North Carolina, pet burial companies can provide cremation and other services to help owners give their pets a memorable send-off. Such ceremonies can be incredibly cathartic.
- Memorializing the pet. Individuals can also choose to keep their pet’s memories alive in a variety of ways. The most common include planting a tree in their favorite backyard spot, donating money to a charity that cares for dogs, getting a plaque made in the pet’s honor, or even storing a part of their ashes in cremation jewelry.
- Getting a new pet. It is not a good idea to acquire a new pet when the loss of another is still fresh in mind. This is not fair to the new animal and pet owners should realize that one pet cannot replace another. Rushing out to get a new pet can create a host of unforeseen problems if you don’t cope with the underlying grief. It is always better to take time to heal first before looking for a new companion.
Owning a pet is a wonderful responsibility. While losing this friendship and companionship is a significant blow, owners should spend time reminiscing on the good times they had. Eventually, this pain passes, and the individual will then be ready to build a new relationship with a different animal.