The loss of a beloved pet can be just as devastating as the loss of a close friend or family member. Pets are often considered members of the family, and their death can leave a deep hole in our lives. This is why it is important to allow yourself to grieve the loss of your pet.
There is no right or wrong way to grieve, and everyone experiences it differently. Some people may find it helpful to talk about their pet with others, while others may prefer to grieve in private. Others still might want to memorialize their pet in some way, such as creating a photo album, planting a tree in their memory, or donating to a pet rescue organization in their name. Here are some ways to help you deal with the loss of a beloved family pet.
The Grief Is Real
One of the most important things to do when faced with how to deal with the loss of a pet is to allow yourself to grieve. Don't try to bottle up your emotions. It is okay to cry, to be angry, or to feel whatever you are feeling. Just because it's a pet that passed away doesn't change the fact that you feel the loss so deeply. Remember that grief is a process, and it takes time to heal. Give yourself time. You shouldn't expect to feel "over it" overnight, as this simply isn't a realistic expectation to have. There is no competition between grieving the loss of a pet and others grieving the loss of a person. Your feelings and pain are justified.
Additionally, don't be afraid to reach out and talk to someone you trust. Talking about your pet can help you to process your grief. You could talk to a friend, family member, therapist, or grief counselor. Don't feel embarrassed about these emotions, as this can make you feel even worse for experiencing them. Your grief for a pet that has died is as real as your grief for anyone else who has passed away.
In many situations, it can also help to remember the good times you spent with your pet. Thinking about all the happy memories you have of your pet can help you to focus on the positive aspects of their life and the joy they brought to your own life. Finally, memorializing your pet in some way is an excellent option. By the same token, it is also important to remember that you are not alone. Many people have lost beloved pets, and there are many resources available to help you cope with your grief.
Ways to Memorialize a Pet
Sometimes memorializing your pet in some way can be a good choice, especially if doing so helps you cope with your grief and loss. There are many ways to memorialize a pet. Here are a few ideas:
- Create a photo album. Gather photos of your pet and create a beautiful album to remember them by. This offers you opportunities to remember your pet fondly as they were in life. This can be digitally or an actual printed photo album.
- Plant a tree in their memory. This is a beautiful way to honor your pet's memory and to keep their spirit alive. Planting a tree in a place where you can watch it flourish and grow for years to come can provide great comfort whenever you miss your pet.
- Donate to a pet rescue organization in their name. This is a great way to help other animals in need and to keep your pet's memory alive. It's especially appropriate if you originally found your pet through the same pet rescue organization, though this isn't a requirement by any means.
- Write a eulogy. This is a personal way to express your love and appreciation for your pet. You could share it with friends and family or keep it private. Whatever you decide, it's often helpful in not only processing your grief, but celebrating the life of your pet and what a difference they made in your life.
- Get a tattoo. This is a permanent way to remember your pet and to keep them close to your heart. You can choose to have their name tattooed on you, have a picture of them turned into a tattoo, or a paw print. Other ideas include a stylized version of their collar or tags. No matter how you choose to memorialize your pet, the most important thing is to do something that feels right for you. Your pet was a special part of your life, and they deserve to be remembered in a special way that honors the role they played in your family as well as the joy and comfort their presence brought you.
Coping with the Loss of a Pet
The experience of how you decide to deal with the loss of a beloved pet can be a very difficult one. Sometimes this experience can be complicated by the idea that mourning the death of an animal isn't appropriate for whatever reason. However, it's important to remember that a beloved pet wasn't just "an animal," but a cherished member of your family that loved you and that was loved in turn. As pets can routinely live up to a decade or more, it's only natural to experience deep and real grief upon their death.
By the same token, it is essential to remember that you are not alone during your time of grief. The loss of a pet is a universal grief that many others have experienced, and that means you don't have to deal with that grief by yourself. There are many resources available to help you cope with your grief and to memorialize your pet. With time and support, you will be able to heal and move on with your life, and you'll be able to look back at the precious time you got to spend with your beloved pet with gratitude and joy once again.
As a network of cemeteries and funeral homes around the country, MemorialPlanning.com has many options for how to memorialize your pet in a cemetery. Call 844-808-3310 or find a location to learn more.