How to Deal With the Loss of a Pet?
It’s truly unfortunate that nothing ever remains the same. Coping with the loss of a family member is justly traumatic, but what does one do when one loses a pet? Most people cannot even comprehend the enormity of the incident, tagging the lost partner as “only a dog” or “only a cat”. No, you aren’t “overly emotional”, “impractical” or “silly”. We understand that it is even more difficult to make them realise that what was taken away wasn’t just a four legged creature; it was a friend, a confidante, a child or a sibling. We cannot take away your pain in an instant, but what we can do is share your distress, help you heal and somehow, lessen the hurt.
- Grieve– Don’t lock your feelings up. Cry your heart out each time you wish to. Holding yourself from shedding those tears can prove fatal to your mental, physical and emotional well being. And tears will not come in one emotion. There are a lot of stages, when you might be in denial, or full of anger, disappointed beyond repair or at your rock bottom. Let it flow, eventually you’ll make peace with fate and be able to acknowledge the fond memories with no longer, a heavy heart.
- Don’t Let Anyone Else’s Judgement Weaken You– The bond that you shared with your pet had always been a very personal, individual thing. Then why are you letting others decide the magnitude of your loss. Some people may not be as welcoming about the slight changes in your behaviour post this experience, forgive them. It does not mean that they are completely heartless. Don’t lose those friends, it’s just that they are ill fated enough to not to have shared their lives with God’s wonderful creations.
- Reach Out to Other Animals– You showered plenty of affection on your furry friend, and he thoroughly loved his time with you. But since you and he aren’t sharing each other’s company anymore, he left behind a lot of his friends for you to mingle with, share a good laugh together and reduce the space left behind by him. Feed stray animals, visit the local park and play with other pets or treat your friend’s pets every few days. This might trigger sorrow and anguish initially, but will help you heal in the long run.
- Talk About It– Talk about your pet and his habits more often. Share it with your family members and friends and see how, they too, have a fond story to tell. This will surely lighten you and help you realise that it’s not just you who’s facing all the terrible consequences, everyone’s dealing with the loss in their own way. Also, create a scrapbook, picture collage, or anything that can make you feel better, just by looking at it.
- Do the Needful– Everyone’s got their own way of fighting and destroying sorrow. Keeping a funeral for your pet, planting a tree in his name, building him a small memorial, or getting his paw print on a plaster cast are a few examples. These little, tiny acts will have lasting results, which are usually underestimated at the time of bereavement. Celebrate him, rejoice in the fact that he loved you conditionally, and you loved him back. Right away.
- Don’t Get a Replacement Right Away– Take as much time as you want to. Getting yourself another pet, won’t do justice to him or your state of mind. You might not be able to love him as much, since you’re only trying to force this new friend in your life at this stage. It would be unfair and fickle on your part; after all, he has done absolutely nothing to add to your woes. He just wants to be accepted and cherished in his own special way.