In most homes, a pet is as much a part of the family as anyone else, and when they pass away, it can be very hard to deal with the loss. Whether you’re mourning a dog or cat who has been part of your family for a decade or more, or a hamster or guinea pig who only lived a few years, the fact is that you shouldn’t feel guilty or silly for feeling upset when they die. In fact, it can be highly traumatic. With that in mind, here are some of the best ways to cope with losing a pet.
Share Favorite Memories
When you think back on all the good times you’ve had with your pet, there are sure to be some lovely memories. It might be the time you took your dog for a walk and he splashed around in a muddy puddle, or perhaps the time your cat decided she would start joining you for dinner. It could be the day you brought your fish home and set up the tank. It could be anything, and there are dozens of different memories to bring to mind.
It’s a good idea to share these memories with people. Perhaps the entire family could sit together and recall fun times with the pet they loved so much, or maybe you feel you would prefer to write down the memories and share them with strangers online (or keep them to yourself). Do whatever works for you; by thinking of and ideally sharing these memories, you can smile at the good times, and that will make you feel better.
Have A Funeral
Sometimes, what makes a pet’s death harder is that it can be very sudden. Your dog, cat, rabbit, and so on might be perfectly fine one day and gone the next. It can also be upsetting if you have to take them to the vet and the only option is to put them to sleep. Everything can feel very unfinished, and that’s not good for the grieving process. This is why giving the pet a funeral can work well.
You can go as far as you want to in terms of the funeral. Some people like to simply make a space in the yard for burial and say a few words with the family. Others like to make it an event, with food and drink. They might organize an engraved brick as a memorial, and there could be music playing. Big or small, having a funeral is a great way to say goodbye, and it will help you have closure on a sad time in your life.
Join A Support Group
In the modern world, mental health is seen as a much bigger priority than ever before; therefore, there are many support groups for people who have gone through trauma. Talking through the pain in a group can be extremely helpful.
When you have lost a pet, it could therefore be a good idea to find a pet loss support group. When you join, you’ll find many people who have all gone through the same thing as you, and although everyone grieves differently, you will have that one bond in common. This is a space in which you can talk about your pet as much as you like, and if that will help you grieve in a healthy way, it’s an ideal thing to do.
Image Credits: REVOLT