At some point in their lives, most pet owners have to deal with the unfortunate loss of a pet. Often times, these losses can hit pet lovers just as hard as the loss of a fellow human because, to these people, pets are a part of the family. If you've recently dealt with the loss of a beloved pet, there are some steps you can take to get through the grieving process.
Consider a Support Group
Believe it or not, there are plenty of pet-loss support groups out there—both in person and online. Check with your local animal shelters and humane societies to see whether there are any physical meetings of support groups in your area that you can attend. If not, then even joining an online group for pet loss can help you express your grief and receive support from others in a similar situation.
Validate Your Feelings
One of the most difficult aspects of going through the loss of a pet can be dealing with others who simply don't understand the bond you and your pet had. Some people may try to invalidate your feelings, telling you that "it was just a cat" or "it was just a bird." Ignore these kinds of statements and understand that your feelings are completely valid and legitimate.
Plan a Pet Memorial
Consider creating a legacy for your lost pet in the form of a pet memorial or other special service or gesture. For example, you may consider holding a memorial service for your pet in your yard, placing a special paver or other memorial object in your garden or elsewhere. Other ways to remember your pet include donating to a local shelter in your pet's honor, planting a tree for your pet, or even creating a scrapbook of happy memories. Talk to a company such as Homer's Furry Manor for more memorial ideas.
Help Surviving Pets
If you have other pets in your home, understand that they are likely affected by the loss as well. Do your best to help them get through this difficult time by sticking to their recognized routine (feeding times, walks, play times, and so forth). If you don't have surviving pets, you might consider volunteering at a local pet shelter; helping others can be a great way to get through an otherwise difficult time and find a sense of purpose in your loss.
Getting through the loss of a precious pet is never easy, but with a little support and healthy grieving, you can move on with your life while still keeping your pet's memory close to your heart.
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