Have you lost or are about to see your companion pet pass away?
Ever experience the pain of your pet pulling away from you physically, emotionally?
Do you feel empty, alone or scared now that your pet is passing or has passed?
Ever wonder if others would understand what you are going through right now?
Do you feel anxious, angry, sad, or depressed in going through this loss?
Is it sometimes difficult sharing how you feel about your pet with other friends or family?
Ever try to push aside your feelings and go about life like nothing happened?
Was it easy to confide in your pet about certain fears, hurts, frustrations, as well as happy times?
Are you missing the companionship and bond you’ve experienced with him/her?
Ever reflect on the thought, “How will I go on without him/her”?
If you’ve answered “yes” to a few, many, or all of these questions, there is hope and healing for you. You may feel numb, a bit in shock or disbelief that your dear companion and friend is gone. You may find yourself trying all kinds of things to cope with the loss. Whether housework, busy work, more hours at your job or with others, or more time away from home. There may be times when you just feel unsure of yourself. Grieving loss shared with another person who shows compassion, empathy and a listening ear is especially helpful. Reflecting on your special connection and endearment unique with your pet can help bring peace and comfort through this time.
In grieving the loss of a pet, you have a lot in common with a vast majority of pet lovers across the country. Experiencing sorrow over the ailing, dying and death of a pet is common and normal. When sorrow turns to depression, isolation, anger, dread or fear, counseling is an opportunity to help you through these things. Over the years as counselors when counseling for grief and loss, pets are part of the process. You are not alone in this process. We have a passion and desire to help those who are going through the grief of losing a dear pet toward health and healing.
During the death and dying process, it’s common to feel your pet “pulling away” from you emotionally. You may begin to feel isolated from him/her, feel like she/he is leaving you alone. The struggle to continue nursing your pet along vs coming to the point of his/her death with dignity is normal. Our counselors have experienced this first hand with our own pet companions. We empathize with you. We have experienced what you are going through and are here to help come alongside of you during this agonizing time.
Experiencing the death of a pet is a profound experience of hardship and loss. Grief doesn’t “come in a box” and cannot be easily ignored. In fact, ignoring or repressing our grief can impact our mental, emotional, and possibly physical health. Having doubts about getting counseling is part of the struggle to regain your stability and sense of self.
You may have some questions about grieving your pet
Is it okay that I am going through so much grief?
While each person experiences grief differently, grief over the loss of a pet is normal and natural. Too much or too little can be a matter of opinion, experiences, closeness with your pet, and other factors. The fact that you are grieving is helpful and hopeful though painful, sad, and rather distressing.
During the years you spent with your pet (even if they were few), it became a significant and constant part of your life. He/she was a source of comfort and companionship, of unconditional love and acceptance, of fun and joy. He/she was there for you…no matter what. So don’t be surprised if you feel devastated by the loss of such a relationship.
People who don’t understand the pet and owner bond may not understand your pain. What truly matters here, however, is how you feel. Don’t let others dictate your feelings: your feelings are valid, and worth exploring and coping with. But remember, you are not alone: Thousands of pet owners have gone through the same feelings. We are here to help.
How is it that other pet owners don’t feel the same way I do about losing a pet?
This is a matter of perspective and bond with your pet. Some people have a different way of bonding with their pet and establish a unique connection with them. Some don’t. Some owners may just see their pet as a guard dog, for example, or a cat for the kids, a horse to ride, or because their spouse or partner wanted a pet. The connection you feel is your own. Pets are unique having their own personalities, quirks, mannerisms, and yes express how they feel with you and others. You may see yourself not only as a pet owner but as a pet companion. With the amount of connection and companionship you have the more you feel the grief. This is normal and allows you to embrace the memories you have with your pet that is extraordinary and uniquely yours.
Who can I talk to?
When grieving your pet companion, you can feel others may really not understand or have generic or trite responses about your loss. However, if you have family or friends who love pets, they may better understand what you’re going through. Working through your feelings with another person is one of the best ways to put them in perspective and find ways to handle them. Find someone you can talk to about how much your pet meant to you and how much you miss him/her. Find someone you feel comfortable crying and grieving with.
If you don’t have family or friends who understand, or if you feel awkward maybe overwhelmed in sharing with them we are here to help. Remember, your grief is genuine and deserving of support.
Am I ever going to love another pet again?
This is a thought provoking question. To love and be loved by a pet is a special and beautiful experience. No other pet can “replace” the beloved one you lost. Grieving the loss of your companion is very important in the healing process. After you have grieved and have gained solace, peace and hope is when you may look to ask this question again. In the midst of the trials and tribulations of loss it is difficult to grasp the future. When the future comes, you will know. Take it one day at a time.
We are here for you!
Each one of us as counselors have or have had pets in our lives that are special to us with memories that stay with us a lifetime. We are also educated, trained, as well as compassionate, empathetic, kind, and understanding during this time in your life. We can help you through the grieving process. Many people generally know what to do when there is a medical emergency, but often times they don’t know how to help someone with a loss. We can help!