Regardless of how big or tiny your pet may be, they hold an important place in your heart and in your home. When you have to say goodbye to them, finding ways to cope with the loss can be difficult. While every situation is different, these three tips for dealing with pet loss can help give you the emotional strength and tools you need to get through this challenging time in your life. Even if it’s bringing you great sadness and grief.
Pet loss is never easy
All of the pet parents I’ve known have some sort of story about their family members and pet. Maybe it’s how they found out that a dog has cancer, or perhaps it’s how they rescued a dog from the street. We treasure our pets because they provide joy and comfort in their own ways, like giving us unconditional love and watching our kids grow up. Still, sometimes we are unfortunately faced with loss. Remembering our animal companions on their birthdays is always challenging. Birthdays are supposed to be happy occasions, and there’s nothing wrong with continuing to celebrate if it helps you cope with the grief. Buying yourself one of these pet loss gifts from Laurelbox can be the perfect way to celebrate them.
Acknowledge these feelings, talk to someone else who understands what you’re going through (I know it can feel impossible), and then try one of these three coping mechanisms: Find other animals you can spend time with, create a memorial for your pet (such as a scrapbook or video), and finally, get involved in the animal welfare community by volunteering at an organization near you!
Take time off work
When pet loss occurs, it’s natural for our minds and bodies to go into shock. We should give ourselves permission to take as much time off work as we need. No one will judge you for missing work a few days at a time when your pet dies.
Acknowledge that grieving is like going through the five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance). Let yourself experience these feelings without trying to suppress them. Acknowledging how you feel about your pet can be extremely important in helping you cope with their death and move on with your life. The death of a pet is never easy. Still, it can be easier if we allow ourselves the opportunity to grieve appropriately.
Stay in touch with your pet through photos and videos
Allow yourself to grieve and cry. Shedding tears can be therapeutic, so don’t force yourself not to cry or feel. Reach out for support from friends and family members who have experienced pet loss, too, as they may be able to offer you perspective or comfort. If you are struggling with how your pet died, talk to your veterinarian about how they were found and explore what could have happened in the moments before your pet’s death. Talking about it may allow you some closure by establishing the cause of death. Engage in activities that allow you a break from focusing on a loss, like watching a funny movie or taking a day trip with friends instead of staying home, where sadness will be heightened by memories and activities associated with your pet.
Losing a pet is an emotional experience, and losing a pet can be difficult. Even though it’s hard, try your best to celebrate their life instead of mourning their death.