Grieving the loss of a pet
Posted on 26th August 2020 at 16:39
Have you ever lost a pet and found that you’ve grieved in silence? Without realising it, others can be extremely hurtful and unhelpful with their reactions, such as ‘It was only a cat,’ or ‘Are you going to get another dog?’ While others might not understand our pain, we often don’t know how to help ourselves, either.
Losing a pet, especially if you’ve had a close bond, can feel as devastating as losing a close relative or friend. Your feelings may have been amplified if your pet died during Lockdown, and perhaps even left you feeling isolated.
Different types of pet loss can cause grief
We want you to know that it’s okay to grieve the loss of an animal no matter how it happened – this includes animals that have had to be re-homed or given up for adoption due to family circumstances, animals of friends, neighbours or relatives, or animals that were stolen or have run away from home. The loss may have resulted in changes in routine and the feeling that you have lost your sense of purpose or identity, and you may feel a sense of guilt for having your pet put to sleep, or feeling like you could have done more to help them, adding to your feelings of grief.
What you are feeling is a normal and natural reaction to loss. Your grief is real and is still felt at 100%. You need to be heard, not fixed.
How can we help?
Pet grievers can benefit from the Grief Recovery Method, a structured, evidence-based programme carried out by a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist to heal the pain of your broken heart. In a Pet Loss Support Group, you are safe to grieve your losses without fear of judgement or advice. You can learn the action steps needed to relieve the pain caused by the loss of your treasured companion. Once that happens, you will be much better able to enjoy the beautiful memories that you shared. You can relieve the pain so that you can live again.
We also have a dedicated book, the Grief Recovery Handbook for Pet Loss that is solely dedicated to the grief caused by the loss of an animal.
Please feel free to share the memories of your pets in the comments below. Please do share with other pet lovers so they can also know they’re not alone.
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