Our pets are part of our family and so when one of them passes away we grieve for them just as much as we would any human member of the family. It’s a process that can be hard to cope with and so in this article I talk from personal experience about how to cope with losing a pet.
Firstly, it’s important to note that not everyone deals with grief in the same way, so some of the following techniques may suit you and others may not. Take what you can from the article to give you comfort at this difficult time.
7 Ways To Cope With Losing A Pet
#1. Realise That It’s Ok To Grieve
Pets become a huge part of your life and so it’s only natural that you will grieve. I know when I have lost my pets in the past I have been very upset for a long time. There are still times when I think of them and I would feel sadness.
If you are not a pet lover you might not relate to this, but for anyone who has lost a pet that they love dearly it’s ok to grieve. Be sad, cry, take time out – whatever it is that you want to do that helps you.
#2. Take Your Time
I think we can put ourselves under pressure to get over life events. Whether it’s the loss a pet or person I feel that sometimes people think that they need to ‘get over it’ much sooner than they really do.
I’m a strong believer that you should take the time you need and not rush the process. You need to heal, come to terms with what’s happened and begin to cope with the loss.
Bottling up your feelings is not healthy and can make the grief process a lot harder in the long run.
#3. Talk To Friends/Family
It does help to talk about your pet. Remember them for the character they were and talk about the funny things they did and the things that you love about them.
Just as you would talk about human family members when they pass, pets are no different. Remember their cheeky ways, their funny habits and the memories you created together.
#4. Consider Support Groups
There are lots of groups of Facebook full of animal lovers who will completely understand what you are feeling because they have probably lost pets too.
If you don’t find the right type of support from friends and family, or you feel you need extra support, then consider groups on Facebook.
The Love Your Pets Ireland Facebook Group that Pet Sitters Ireland run is a very supportive and friendly group of animal lovers. Make sure if you are joining a group you join one that is moderated to avoid any non supportive people.
#5. Capture Your Memories
There are lots of things you can do to capture your memories. When my dog Lucky passed away we had a canvas print made of a selection of her photos. We also made a video of her, with more pictures.
You can also get lots of different keepsake boxes that you could keep their collar, name tag, bedding etc in. It helps to have them all in one place when you need to just sit and spend some time thinking of them.
#6. Hold A Ceremony
It’s often nice to have some sort of ceremony to remember your pets. Whether you do that alone and say a few words or whether you invite your family it doesn’t matter. The important thing is that you get to say your goodbyes.
For all our pets, we have opted to have a private cremation so that we could get the ashes back. It’s slightly more expensive, but it’s a lovely way to remember them.
#7. Volunteer or Rescue
You will know when the time is right to do this. For some, it takes longer than others. I know when I got another dog after Lucky I spent some time feeling perhaps it was too soon and I should have grieved for longer.
Having Coco though was a huge part of my grieving process. She helped me see that although I still loved Lucky I did have a place in my heart for another dog – one that needed me and the love I could offer.
How The Rainbow Bridge Poem Can Help
The Rainbow Bridge Poem is author unknown, but it is a widely shared poem among the pet owning community. The words are extremely comforting and make pet owners feel that their pets have gone to a safe and happy place while they wait for them to join them.
It’s a poem that has brought comfort to many – including myself.