Grieving the loss of a pet can be as real as any other type of grief, but people often won’t realise how great a loss it can be. For people who haven’t had animals in their lives, it might be impossible for them to understand that you are mourning a pet.
Dogs, cats, horses and many other pets can be a large part of our everyday lives. They fill your life with companionship. They are ever present, always welcoming and totally dependent on you. Their life span can be up to 15 years, longer for cats sometimes. They might be ever present during your childhood and teenage years, or be constant companions when we are adults. They are a major part of life.
Physical loss - When we lose a pet the physical loss is enormous. There is no welcome when returning home, no wagging tail or licking. No purring or rubbing up against you. It is a comfort to stroke a pet. They say that it lowers your blood pressure and that pets are great stress busters. In so many ways they enhance our lives - the loss of their physical presence is huge.
The care of animals takes up a lot of time. The change after the loss of a pet dog or cat can be great. You might feel an emptiness and wonder what to do with yourself.
Time spent with our pets can be much longer in the day than even with family members.
When there are no other family members, for those living alone, the loneliness following the loss of a pet can be extra painful.
Loss of assistance pets - For those who are disabled, animals are not just a pet but an even more important part of life as they are essential for everyday living. Those who lose an assistance pet may lose independence and freedom too until a new, trained animal can be found.
It's only a pet! How many of us have heard that? No, those of us who have lost a pet know that animals become part of the family. Grief for pets can be as great as for the loss of a human. However, there is also guilt. You might wonder why you feel so bad for a pet.
You probably spent more time with your pet than you did anyone else. They always loved you, they never judged you, never argued with you, and were always there to talk to. It is a natural reaction to grieve for them.
You have no reason to feel guilt or even a bit foolish. This is such a normal, natural response to the loss of the companion you had for many years.
I will never forget the sight of a neighbour sobbing after the death of his beloved Persian cat. He was a squadron leader, a strong man, who was overcome with grief, but also with guilt that he should behave like this over the death of a cat. Like all of us – he was human too.
Accept how painful the grief for the loss of your pet, your constant friend can be. The human-animal bond is an amazing thing, and there is no shame in grieving for a beloved pet.
The love of a pet is as meaningful as love of a friend, and the loss is as acutely painful. This article written by a man whose dog dies, expresses the feelings perfectly.
It's good to have some sort of ritual to say goodbye, especially if children are involved. Families can cry together over the loss, bury the pet together as a way of coming to terms with the loss. Some people create a little headstone, or put up a plaque. Something to remember the pet.
Here are some ways to memorialize your pet from our Zazzle store.
The one certainty of any life is that we are going to die. Often the death of a pet is the first contact any of us has of experiencing death.
Children learn from the loss of a goldfish or hamster or the family dog. They learn to come to terms with losing their friend. Grief for pets is an education in life and death issues.
The following product, the RemembeRing, provides a great activity to help kids say goodbye and process their grief. It contains a circular frame for a photo of the pet and the inside section which comes out allows for a message to be written to allow for 'letting go'. It also makes a good pet loss sympathy gift for any age.
10 Tips to Help Children with the Death of a Pet Cat - Although this article is written about the loss of a cat, the advice applies to the loss of any pet for a child.
This page is dedicated to the memory of all the wonderful pets that have enriched our lives.
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