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Five ways to cope with the loss of a pet

 The loss of a pet can be likened to the death of a loved one (Image: Shutterstock)

Losing a pet is painful. Don’t let anyone tell you that it shouldn’t hurt because they have no idea the void the loss of a pet leaves behind.

For those who have been in this situation, the feeling can be likened to the death of a loved one.

Whether it is a sudden death or one that came from an illness or medical condition, nothing can prepare you for it and it can be very devastating to both adults and children who grew attached to the pet.

Depending on how close you were to it and how much time you spent together, that bond may determine how long you may stay in mourning.

And because your relationship is different and unique from that your pet had with the other family members, the grief and pain each one of you will go through will be different.

This doesn’t mean one of you loved it less. No.

What we know for sure is, the sadness will come in waves. They may be intense at first then as time progresses, they start to lessen.

Here are a few tips on how you can process that painful loss:

  • Grieve

Crazy as it may sound, some people have found that the death of a pet hurt them more than the loss of a human being. The reason why this happens is because of the joy our pets bring us. They give us so much and ask for so little.

Considering how much time you spent together and how close you were, you need to accept that there must be a mourning period.

This cannot be rushed or forced and don’t allow anyone to make you feel guilty for taking too long to get over it. We all mourn differently and if they don’t understand your grief, you do not have explain yourself. That is entirely on them.

 Cherish the moments you shared together to help you get through the loss (Image: Shutterstock)
  • Be kind to yourself

Don’t be too hard on yourself because you can’t stop crying or thinking about your family pet. It is natural to do so.

This will trigger certain emotions and it is fine to allow yourself to feel them. It is not the time to put yourself down and question why your grieving is taking forever.

Be kind and compassionate to yourself and use this opportunity to do something nice to help you cope. A warm soak in the bath tub, reading a book you have been eyeing or starting a new hobby are some activities you can partake in to help you through that difficult moment.

  • Accept the guilt

This is common across pet owners and you will feel this way whether the death was one you could have avoided or not.

The reason this happens is because you feel that you could have done more to save their life. You blame yourself for leaving the door open and that is how the cat was ran over by a car in the streets or you took too long to take the dog to the vet when it was sick.

Whatever the case may be, you need to understand that there is nothing more you would have done to keep them alive.

  • Create memories

Crazy as it may sound, remembering ceremony parties actually help with the loss. Invite close friends and family over to celebrate the life of the pet and use that time to talk about it.

You can also choose to create a memory book with photos or you can go as far as having t-shirts, mugs and other merchandise you can keep around the house to help you remember your beloved pet.

  • Speak up

During the grieving process it is important to talk about your feelings and what you are going through. This means you may need to see a therapist or talk to someone who understands. This could be a member in a support group who has gone through a similar experience too.

Family may not understand your pain and may push you to get over it which may hurt even more. If you find yourself in such a precarious situation look for a pet support group online who will empathize with your loss.

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