It is never easy to say goodbye. After spending years together, your pet becomes a friend, companion and an indispensible part of your life whose loss is equivalent to that of a human family member. It is normal to feel devastated and even experience anger, guilt, denial or depression. Many people may not understand the depth of your feelings, the bond you shared with your pet, because for them it is just an animal but to you it meant a lot more.
The most important thing is to be honest about your feelings. Do not try to hide them or feel ashamed about them, after all, you have lost someone you love and grieving is natural. Dealing with the loss is not going to be simple, but there are a few things you can do to ease the pain gradually.
Final goodbye: When you lose a pet, you need to decide how to deal with its body. Giving it a proper burial/cremation gives most people a sense of peace. You will have to decide the place of the last rights and also seek permissions for the same. Unfortunately there is a lack of crematoriums in our city/country but they do exist.
- Talking it out: Talking to family members is the best way of relieving the angst. They are bound to understand your pain and may themselves be going through a hard time. Infact if an older family member was more attached to the pet, you need to take extra care in consoling them. Sharing sweet memories can help ease the grief. If you were living alone, speak to your friends, call them over and talk it out rather than brooding alone.
- Solitude: If you prefer being alone at the time of grief, it is best to take some space. There are a lot of people who feel more hurt when someone tries to talk about the loss. Take time off; involve yourself in some work or maybe a small break to a different place to recover.
- Telling the children: This one is the trickiest. You need to make kids understand and subtly convey to them that their beloved friend has gone away to a better place where he will be happy and well taken care off. You also need to assure them that it is ok to feel sad. If the child is old enough, involving them in the last rights/burial process will help them say their last goodbyes. Or you could keep them occupied by getting them to create a memento in memory of their pet.
- The other pooch: If you have another pet at home it is very important to pay extra attention to them. They may not eat or drink for some time and may be more distressed with their companion’s loss. Keep them around you and shower them with TLC to reduce their grief. Consult your vet to ensure that your surviving pet’s health is not affected.
- A new pet: Getting a new pet right away is not the best option. When you get a new pet, it should be to build a new relationship and not to replace the older one. Your new pet deserves to be appreciated for its own sake. So take your time before getting a new companion.