Losing a pet is one of the hardest things you may have to go through. Most of us have a strong bond with our pets, and when one passes away, it can feel like we’ve lost a family member. Research has shown that losing a pet is just as hard as losing a member of the family.
While it may seem there’s no way out of the despair and depression, there are some things you can do to get on the path of healing and to get back to being fully present in your day-to-day life. If you’ve experienced the loss of a beloved pet, here are seven tips to help you recover and heal.
Allow Yourself to Grieve
It may seem like an option to try to resist or ignore your grief or allow yourself to just completely shut down emotionally. However, repressing and ignoring the event could lead to even more painful feelings in the future.
It’s best to allow yourself to go through the five stages of grief: denial, anger, depression, bargaining, and acceptance. Despite what other people may tell you, feeling shocked and sad is perfectly acceptable and normal after losing a pet. In Circles’ Grief over Pet groups, you can find people who are going through the same pain as you.
Set Up a Memorial
Just like a family member, a pet deserves to be memorialized and honored. Setting up a memorial for your pet can be a great way to remember the love they shared with you during their life and help bring some closure to their passing.
Give Yourself Time to Heal
It’s essential to understand that healing and recovery is an individual process. There is not a specific amount of time you need to get over a loss.
Understand that grieving should not be rushed, and don’t get frustrated with yourself if you’re still mourning weeks or even months after the event. Grieving takes time.
Talk to Someone About It
Don’t try to wrestle with grief and negative emotions alone.
One of the best ways to heal after losing a pet is to speak to others about it. When you’re part of our Circles of support, you’re surrounded by people going through a similar situation as you are, and they will always be there for you.
People in your support Circles can help you process your feelings and slowly go through the stages of grief on your way to healing.
Don’t Forget Your Other Pets
Just because you lost one pet, doesn’t mean you should neglect or forget about your others.
Many people who own multiple pets realize that the other pets are emotionally affected after one passes away. Not only should you make sure to keep up with their usual care routine, but consider spending extra time with them. You will all benefit and help each other cope with the loss.
Don’t Be Afraid to Seek Professional Help
Everyone has their own timetable for dealing with grief, but if you feel that it’s significantly interfering with your ability to function, consider seeing a professional therapist or joining a support group.
There’s nothing wrong with seeking support after losing your beloved pet. Our Circles of support are all led by professional therapists, who can provide you with the right tools to feel better.
Adopt a Pet in Need (When you’re Ready)
Your pet was one-of-a-kind and can never be replaced. However, just because the loss was painful doesn’t mean you should never adopt another pet again.
In fact, many people who have lost a pet say that one of the best ways to help move forward was to honor their lost pet’s memory by adopting a new pet in need.
When you feel that you’re ready for it, adopting another pet from a shelter may be a winning situation for all.