Grieving the Loss of a Pet

Pets are a very special part of a family. They are lifelong infants that need constant attention and care. Over time, they become a part of our families and we learn to love our pets like our own children. And when our pets pass away, it oftentimes leaves a hole in our lives. Grieving over the loss of a pet can take weeks or even months. Eventually though, we must learn to celebrate the life of our pet instead of brooding over its death. Sadly, a lot of people are unable to grieve for their pets. Some of them may even try to pretend that the pet was never even alive, as if it is was just a figment of their imagination. Since it was just an animal (such as a cat, dog, or hamster), they rationalize their denial by saying, "It was just a pet. It can easily be replaced." The truth is that a pet can't just magically be replaced. A pet is a living, breathing entity that may have spent years living with you. You fed it, you groomed it, and you nurtured it. Whether you believe it or not, it managed to sneak a permanent spot in your heart. Grieving for the loss of a pet isn't something optional. It is a vital part of being a human. We must accept what we lost and then move on. For those of you having difficulty grieving over the loss of a pet, I have compiled a list of pointers to help you along: #1. Don't try to rush the process of grieving the loss of a pet. Grieving over anybody or anything takes time and patience. It is similar to getting over a broken heart. Although it stings so badly at first, the pain will gradually subside over time. #2. Don't hurry to throw out your pet's belongings. Grieving for the loss of a pet doesn't mean that you must rid your life of everything that reminds you of it. In fact, I believe that the best way of grieving the loss of a pet is to gradually box/bag up the pet's toys/belongings. Each day, put something else into the bag. Take that moment to remember and celebrate your pet's life. Once everything has been bagged up, store it somewhere in an attic or cellar. #3. Seek the counsel of others who have gone through the experience before. Grieving over the loss of a pet is made simpler in the company of those who care. #4. Frame one or two special photos of your pet. Distribute them through the house. I believe this is outstanding for grieving for the loss of a pet because you are constantly reminded that your pet really isn't dead. So long as it remains in your memories and your heart, it will forever be alive through you. #5. Don't rush to get another pet. Once you are finally ready for a new pet, I suggest getting a different breed. By getting the same breed (and gender/color), you may be trying to replace your old pet with a new one. This is a clear indication that you aren't done grieving the loss of your pet.