As pet lovers, we understand the bond that is formed between us and our furry, feathered even scaly friends. They offer us unconditional love and companionship, becoming integral parts of our lives.
The hardest part of owning a pet is the inevitable farewell. The heartbreak we feel at the loss of our beloved pet. Coping with the grief of losing a pet is challenging and different for everyone.
We've come up with 10 ways that we hope help you to heal and find comfort after the loss of your animal companion.
Allow Yourself to Grieve
This is really important. It is totally normal to feel sadness, anger or even guilt at the loss of your pet. It is a profound experience and you should give yourself permission to mourn in the way you see fit and for as long as you need. Allow yourself to cry, suppressing your feelings will only prolong your grief. Don’t let anyone tell you how you should feel.
Have a Memorial Ceremony
A pet funeral or memorial is a very special way to say good bye. Lovingly wrapping your pet in a shroud and adorning it with ornaments and farewell messages provides some comfort to pet families that their loving companions are farewelled in a personal, respectful and dignified way.
Create a Memorial
Honouring your pet’s memory can be therapeutic. You could plant a tree or flower in their memory, or make a memorial space in your home with special photos and their favourite toys.
Some people choose to have special artworks done or have their pets photo on a mug so that they can have a coffee with them each day. Everyone will have their own way to remember their beloved pet.
Share Your Feelings
Talking to your family and friends can help alleviate the pain. Sharing how you feel, especially with others that also love pets as they will understand what you are going through.
If you don’t have family or friends to talk to, reach out to others for help. Remember grief is genuine and deserves support. Those who care about you will want to offer comfort.
If your grief becomes overwhelming or prolonged, seek professional help from a therapist or counsellor.
Write a Farewell Letter
Put your feelings in writing. Express the love and gratitude for the time you shared. It’s a beautiful way to say goodbye allowing you to reflect on the journey you shared. It can be cathartic and will leave you with a memory that you can re-read over and over again.
Seek Support Groups
There are so many pet lovers around the world so it makes sense that there are many online and in person support groups dedicated to pets. Joining one can connect you to others who understand that pain you are going through and provide a sense of community. Sharing your story and hearing others can be incredibly comforting.
Volunteer or Donate
Giving back is a lovely way to honour your pets memory. Maybe there is a local animal shelter you could volunteer at or an animal charity that you could donate to in your pets name?
Whatever action you choose, it can make a positive impact on the lives of other animals, and that, can only make you feel good!
Adopt or Foster Another Pet
While not everyone will be able to do this, getting another pet can help fill the void. Instead of buying a new pet, consider adoption or fostering.
Fostering may be a good short-term way to deal with loss whilst adoption gives new hope to abandoned pets.
Nothing will replace your lost pet, but it can offer love and healing. A new pet could be the start of a fresh chapter of companionship and love in your life.
Establish New Routines
Our daily routines often revolve around our pets. Meal times, walk times and play times.
After their loss it may be helpful to create a new routine. Find ways to reduce the feelings of emptiness and the gaps from not having to fill water dishes or clean hutches.
Exercise and Self-Care
We must not forget to take care of ourselves, regular exercise, a healthy diet and getting enough sleep can positively impact your emotional wellbeing. Prioritising your self care will help you get through the difficult days.
Everyone will deal with their pet loss differently. It’s undeniably painful , but the love and good times you shared will remain with you forever. It’s ok to move on, in time the pain will subside. Embracing the healing process allows you to find peace and acceptance whilst honouring your pet’s memory.