For pet owners, pet loss can be extremely distressing, with a mixture of emotions, which can compare to losing a close family member, after all a dog is “a mans best friend”, and in many cases that is very true for pet owners. Having said that, many people that don’t own a pet cannot understand our loss, and the way we feel about it, but for those who have lost a beloved pet how do we deal with that loss? Every individual deals with loss in a different way, but there are things you can do to help cope with that loss, and here in this article we will discuss some of the things to help us cope with such a loss.
For many pet owners it’s not ‘just’ a dog or cat, it is a close family member you have spent many years creating a special bond with, and for some it is even a closer bond than some real family. From getting him as a puppy, and spending maybe the first year training him, to teaching him tricks, and watching him grow as well as the hours spent walking and talking with him, seeing him perform his amusing antics. Moreover, many pet owners will tell you there is a bond there that cannot be duplicated with a human, it’s really that close in many cases.
However, when the time comes that our beloved pet parts ways with us, we feel a huge loss, like a large part of our life has been ripped away from us, and there is a big hole that cannot be filled. That being said, it is not the same for everyone, but for many this is exactly how it feels, and many of us do not know how to cope, and wonder if we will ever feel the same again. It is true that nothing will ever replace our best friend, and the pain doesn’t go away, just like with a loved one, but time does ease it, and you end up with lovely memories that you can talk to others about, and maybe share stories about how mischievous he was, or even show photos if you took any.
In the meantime, wondering how we will cope can be frustrating as there is a mixture of emotions when losing a pet, like anxiety, guilt, anger, depression and even denial, but eventually you will find resolution and acceptance. Having said that, you should not try to hide your feelings and keep it bottled up, that makes it worse and it lasts longer. If, you need to cry then don’t be afraid to cry, and although friends and family members may not understand fully what you are going through, it may be more appropriate to talk with someone you know who has also lost a pet. Moreover, someone who fully understands what you are going through can be more help than others close to you who don’t quite get it.
After losing a beloved pet, it is only natural for one to feel alone, sad or even frightened for a time, this is all part of the healing process. In addition, you should try to think of all the good times you had, look through photos, or videos you took and let the tears flow if need be. For some the healing process can begin with a funeral, depending on the individual, a chance to say goodbye properly, and show your feelings openly without the threat of ridicule from those who don’t understand what you’re going through.
Some people who lose a beloved pet find some solace in creating a memorial, like planting a tree in memory of the one you lost, creating a legacy to celebrate the time you had with a best friend. Creating a scrapbook of memorable photos of your pet to share with others when the time is right can also be helpful. Additionally, you may find that in the beginning your loss may effect your daily routines, and sometimes even your health, and one shouldn’t be afraid to seek out professional help in these times, either a doctor, or mental health professional can evaluate you and maybe give you some medication to help you through the worst part, especially if you’re suffering from depression over the loss.
When dealing with the loss of a beloved pet, the stress and emotional toll it can take can seem overwhelming, and drain you of energy and emotional reserves. During this time, it is important to look after your health and believe that you will get through this. However, also remember that it just takes time, more with some people than with others. Keep in mind, that there is no set time frame that you get over something like this, as it can take weeks, months or in some cases years. Living with your beloved pet for so long, in many cases up to 15 years or more, can leave a void in your life once they are gone, and it is important to find something that can help fill that void, the time you use to spend with your pet.
While living with your pet took up a great part of your time, you need to try and fill that time with something positive, like taking up an old hobby that you let go. Moreover, it is also important to have friends, and family around to support you in your time of need, and if there isn’t anyone close that understands how you feel, visit some online forums where you can talk to others who have gone through what you are going through now. Eventually, as the healing process gets underway, you will find you will be able to visit some friends you maybe met in the park while walking your dog, and maybe consider looking at a future best friend, not one that will replace your loss, but creating a new best friend, after all you did make life wonderful for the one you recently lost, and you can do it again.