How to cope with the loss of a pet

Posted by Argos. October 7th 2013.

As joyful and rewarding as having a pet can be, there are few days sadder than the day your beloved furry friend passes away. This can be a difficult time for owners, especially since it is a topic often avoided or seldom spoken out loud.

To help with this, here are some useful tips and advice on pet bereavement and how you can learn to cope with the loss of a pet.

A sleeping cat

Mourn

When you love and care for something or someone long enough, the species of origin never matter. Mourning is a natural process so it’s important you give yourself time to grieve for your loss.

Say goodbye

As with any parting, the hardest part can be not getting the chance to say goodbye. Your pet will have played an important role in your life, so it is only fitting that you give them a send-off in whatever way you see fit.

This could mean taking care of the body or remains or simply holding a small service to say goodbye. It doesn’t have to be a large or public affair, just something intimate that allows you to say goodbye in your own way.

Understand time frames

The simple fact of life is that pets do not live as long as us and while this is not something many people like to think of, there is some comfort in it. This arises when you consider the time frames involved with owning a pet. If your animal dies after living a long and happy life, which was good for its breed or species, then you can take solace in that fact.

If your pet has passed through illness or injury and before their time then the most important thing to focus on is the quality of their life, not the length. If you gave your pet a happy home then this should be celebrated, no matter how long it lasted for.

Take care of possessions

Toys, accessories and equipment for your pet can be a painful reminder or a source of comfort after their passing so it’s important you decide what to do with them. If you find it too painful to be reminded, then pack the items together and place them out of sight. Don’t get rid of them immediately as you may, in the future, decide to get another pet.

If they are a source of comfort then this can be a good way to heal but make sure you don’t cling on to these comforts for too long or you could struggle to move on fully.

Family with dog

Decide whether to get another pet

While some will get another pet immediately after the first has passed, there are those who find the idea too painful. Whatever your decision, give yourself time to think it over properly and don’t rush into anything.

Remember that getting another pet doesn’t mean replacing or forgetting your old one and there is nothing wrong with offering an animal a safe and loving environment in which to live.

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