Losing a pet can be overwhelming. These dogs are more than just an animal, they’re family. It is losing a best friend and that loss is real, and it comes with sadness and emptiness. Everyone grieves differently, so don’t think you have to be behaving in one way or another. This time on the Acoma Animal Clinic blog we just wanted to give you some help, if you need it.
Grieving the Loss of a Pet
Everyone grieves differently. Some find it hard to express their feelings, especially because not everyone understands just how serious this loss is for others. Some poor folks have never had a dog or a pet in their lives so they have no frame of reference to it.
So what can you do? How can you help get through the grieving process?
Join a Pet Loss Support Group
One way to start working your way through the loss is to become involved in a pet loss support group, speaking with others who have the empathy and experience to understand these losses. Social media and other online groups are great places to begin. You can engage on your schedule, however involved you wish.
Memorialize Your Dog
Honoring your dog’s life and memory is another big step in the grieving process. Here are a few ways you can honor your pet.
This might seem excessive to some, especially if you’ve never done this but holding a memorial service for your pet can truly help you find closure. Whether you’re burying your pet in the yard or scattering their ashes somewhere that has special meaning – this event gives your family a clear point to say goodbye.
Start a Legacy and New Traditions
This can take a numerous forms but the idea is the same. Create/make/build something that will last and continue in honor of your dog. Plant a tree or some flowers in your dog’s favorite spot. Create a shadow box with their collar. Get a portrait made of them. Create a special spot in the garden, a memorial stone, or other piece.
From there, you can build new traditions to keep your pup close to heart. Honor their birthday by volunteering at local animal shelters or donate to charities in their name.
Do Dogs Mourn?
If you’re a multi-pet home and you lose a pet, it’s worth it to pay extra attention to your surviving dogs. Surviving pets experience grief as well, and like people, they’ll demonstrate that grief in different ways. Some dogs become lethargic, lose their appetite, and may stay close to the deceased pet’s favorite spots or bed.
You can help them through this difficult time by giving them extra attention. Take them for a hike, or try out a new activity. It will help your pet and you do process the grief.
Grief is different for everyone and it will take different amounts of time to get through. Some people may benefit from adopting a new pet and bringing them into the home while others need longer before the consider it.
However your grief is affecting you, just know it is completely ok and normal to mourn the loss of your furry family member, you’re not alone in that grief, and it will get better.