By Marcelle McIntosh
Pets can be there to lend a nonjudgmental ear, keep your feet warm or cuddle during a scary movie. They only know how to love and be loved. Therefore when a pet dies, it may be a little hard to cope. It can almost feel like losing a relative.
But the reality is, if you have a pet you will likely one day have to live through this time. These steps can help you cope.
- The first step is to grieve.
Let it out. It’s okay to let the emotions flow and be released from your body. Don’t worry about others who might not understand. The grieving process may be gradual, but in time the pain will dissipate and instead you will feel appreciation for the life you had with your pet. Depending on your workplace, you might be allowed a day off to grieve. Regardless, allow yourself to feel what you feel. Your pet was not “just a pet” to you.
- Have a ceremony and memorialize your pet.
That might mean burying your pet by its favorite spot outdoors or choosing a visible place to store the ashes within your home. Even your pet’s favorite toy can serve as a symbol of remembrance. Create a place that will bring your pet fondly to mind and remain a significant part of the household.
- Talk with supportive people.
This does not have to be a formal group. Communicate with friends and others on social media. Almost everyone who’s had a pet knows the feeling of losing one. Sharing with others who have experienced the loss of a pet may make the process less lonely.
- When you’re ready, adopt another pet.
Don’t feel guilty for doing so; a new pet will never replace your lost one, as no animal is the same. Yet a new pet can liven up the mood, offer comfort and help you create new memories. There are a lot of pets that would appreciate a home and have many gifts to offer, and not just the messy kind. Knowing that you are offering a better life for another animal may just speed up the grieving process.