Learn to Cope with Losing a Loved Family Pet

The bonds we forge with our pets are powerful. Their love for us is unfaltering, and they have a way of making us feel better even on our worst days — which makes the loss of a pet that much more difficult. Here you can find some ways to walk out of sorrow

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4 min read

Unless you’ve experienced it yourself, it can be hard to imagine the pain of losing a pet. No matter what kind of animal it is, our pets become some of the most important companions in our lives.

While they might not speak the same language as us, they have their own way of communicating with us, comforting us, and showing their love for us. That is what makes it so much worse when we lose that friend in our life. However, no matter how painful it may seem, we must learn to cope with losing a loved family pet, not just for our own health but of those around us.

Here’s what you should do.

Don’t Ignore Your Feelings

It’s hard to accept the death of your pet right away. Instead of actually facing your feelings, you might be tempted to ignore them as a way of coping with the loss. You might try to force yourself to be happy and appear unaffected. You might try to distract yourself by drowning yourself in work and getting too busy to think about what has happened.

You would think that those feelings would go away on their own if left ignored for long enough. However, that’s not how it works. Ignoring your feelings of grief and pain only leads to them building up even more over time. And when that balloon finally bursts, you’ll have to face those feelings anyway. Therefore, it’s much healthier for you to face what you’re feeling from the get-go.

Give Yourself Time

Everyone has a different attachment and relationship with their pet. Even if others around you have moved on and are happy in their new lives, it doesn’t mean you have to be happy and move on too. Everyone handles grief differently, and some people can take longer to come to terms with it than others.

This is especially true if the death of your pet was a sudden and unexpected one as opposed to one that everyone saw coming. Don’t rush yourself to get over it. Rather, give yourself time to cope with losing a loved family pet at your own pace.

Accept Your Emotions

After losing a pet, it’s not only grief that you feel. You’re hit with a range of emotions, from sadness and loneliness to guilt and anger. At times like this, we’re not able to understand why we’re feeling a certain way and might associate it with other things in life or suppress those emotions. However, accepting those emotions is an important part of the grief and coping process.

You need to express them and let yourself feel those emotions until you have accepted and overcome them. Especially if you had to euthanize your pet, the feelings of guilt can be overwhelming and can stay with you for the rest of your life if not addressed properly. That’s why it’s important to recognize and accept those emotions so that you can finally make peace with yourself.

Get Closure

An important step in learning to cope with losing a loved family pet is getting closure. A sense of closure is crucial in helping you accept the death of your pet and the fact that it won’t be around anymore. It can help you move on without any lingering feelings or emotions.

The best way to get closure after the loss of your family pet is to hold a funeral service or ceremony to remember and honor your pet. You can say a few words about them, your favorite memories, or how it came to be your pet, and end the service on a good note with their fond memories in your mind.

Reach Out to People

At times like this, it’s also a good idea to reach out to other people. This can be other people who are going through the same thing, have experienced it in the past, or simply anyone who you feel comfortable with.

Talking it out and sharing your feelings out loud can help you release those emotions that you were bottling up. Moreover, a listening ear is always a comfort, even if they do nothing else. You can talk to a friend, make an appointment with a professional, or even join a support group for people who have lost a pet.

Help Your Children/Seniors with the Loss

If there are children or elders in your house, the grief of losing a pet can hit them differently. Children and elders often create special bonds with pets as they get to spend more time with them and even depend on them.

That’s why their loss can leave them lost and without a sense of purpose. So, reach out to them and help them through this painful time. Let them know it’s okay to feel whatever they’re feeling and help them process their emotions.

Don’t Rush into Getting a New Pet

Most importantly, you might be tempted to get over the loss of your pet by getting a new pet to replace them. However, again, that’s not how it works. Each pet and our attachment with them is different.

Immediately getting a new pet when you might not even be ready yet is a great disservice to yourself and that new pet. Therefore, wait till you’ve gotten over the death of your pet and only get a new pet when you’re absolutely ready.

Conclusion

For most people, a pet isn’t just a pet. It’s a vital member of the family who is as important as any other human in the house. That’s why it’s not easy to get over losing a pet. You essentially lose a part of your family, something that is a significant part of who you are.

But life must go on, and that’s why we need to cope with the loss and grief. Hopefully, this short guide on how to cope with losing a loved family pet should offer some comfort and closure for you to make peace with yourself and move on.

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