If you are dealing with pet loss, then you are not alone. Millions of people each and every year lose a pet that is near and dear to their hearts. That, however, doesn’t make it any easier on you. Anyone that has to experience the loss of a dog will go through a grieving process. It isn’t easy, and it can in fact be one of the most difficult things that you ever have to go through. Here are a few helpful tips that will help you to cope with losing your beloved pet.
#1 – Understand that Your Feelings are Natural
When you lose a pet, you are going to have instant grief. This is something that is completely normal. In fact, if you didn’t grieve the loss of your pet, that would be the time to worry! Your pet was a significant part of your life, and they still are. You are likely to feel devastated, and some people may not understand that. People that don’t have pets may not be as empathetic as you would like for them to be.
#2 – Understanding the Stages of Grief
There are basically five stages of grief that you will move through. First, you may feel a bit guilty, or even responsible for the death of your dog. When this moves past, you may feel a bit of denial, not really accepting that they are gone. Then, you may feel anger, followed by a wave of depression. The final stage is acceptance, but everyone moves through these stages differently, and at their own pace. It may take some people longer than others to fully accept the loss.
#3 – Be Honest About How You Feel
Sometimes this is the hardest part when it comes to pet loss. The loss of a dog is hard enough, but when you have to open up and work through your feelings, it can get even harder. Locking away your grief won’t make it go away, so it is a good idea for you to talk to someone about it. You may talk to a family member of close friend, or you may even talk to a grief counselor if you feel like you need to.
#4 – Talk to Your Children
Children often times take the loss of a dog harder than adults. They usually don’t understand. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be honest with them. Don’t tell them that they ‘ran away’ or ‘went to sleep’. This can scar a child, especially as they get older. Talk to them, and use words that they understand. Surprisingly, they can be a huge help when it comes to coping with the loss.
#5 – Focus on Your Other Pets
If you have other pets, you need to know that they will also grieve the loss of the pet. They will notice that their companion is not around anymore, and they may even be depressed. This is why they might need a bit more of your attention. This will not only help them get through this time of sadness, but it will also help you!
#6 – Don’t Go Out and Get a New Dog Right Away
This is probably one of the biggest concerns that we face with people when they lose a pet. They want to go out and ‘replace’ them right away. While this may feel tempting, it isn’t really a good idea. You need the time to grieve before you focus your attention on building a new relationship with a new pet. Also, when you do decide to get a new pet, try to avoid getting a look-alike. Cherish your memories, then make new ones with your new pet when the time is right.
The loss of a dog is never easy. You really just need to make sure that you give yourself enough time to adequately grieve. Don’t feel like your feelings are stupid or unwarranted. They aren’t. You are feeling something natural, and as time goes by, the pain will lessen.