Coping With the Death of a Pet

Loss is an inevitable part of life, and grief is a natural part of the healing process. Dealing with the loss of a pet who means the world to you can be one of the most difficult times in a person’s life. Here are some ways one can cope with the pain and sorrow of a pet’s demise.

Express Your Feelings and Emotions

Grief and sorrow are normal responses to death. Feelings of loss are very personal, and only you would understand the significance of your loss. So vent your feelings the way you fee fit. Don’t feel embarrassed, or think that you will be judged by others – especially those who advise you to “move on” or “get over it”.

Help Yourself Heal

We mark important events in our lives through rituals like celebrations and ceremonies. If your pet is regarded as a member of your family and the grief of losing it is strong, you could hold a funeral to allow you and your family members to honor your pet and bid it farewell. Ignore people who think it’s inappropriate to hold a funeral for a pet.

The process of grieving can be stressful and exhausting. To get yourself through this difficult time and avoid falling into depression, it is important to keep yourself in good physical condition and look after your emotional needs. If you have other pets at home, remember that they may be affected by your sorrow, as well as need your care and attention. So, continue with the daily routines of feeding, exercising and playing with them.

Celebrate Your Love

Your can create “legacies “to commemorate the life of your beloved pet through various ways, such as preparing a memorial, compiling a photo album or scrapbook, planting a tree in its memory.

Find New Interest in Life

If your pet had been your only or closest companion, you may find it even more difficult to face up to your loss. Try to fill the void and boost your morale by picking up a hobby, staying connected with friends, volunteering for good causes, helping your friends care for their pets or reaching out to others who have lost their pets.

Helping a Child Cope with the Loss of a Pet

If the demise of your pet is your child’s first experience of death, it could be traumatic for them. Don’t try to shield them from the sadness of losing a pet by avoiding the issue, or pretending that the pet has “disappeared” or “gone to sleep”. Be honest with them about what happened, and teach them how to cope with the grief and pain that inevitably accompanies the joy of loving another living creature. Remember that the way you handle the grieving process can determine whether the experience will have a positive or negative effect on your child’s personal development.

Source: The Sunday Times, May 12, 2013
– written by Sheila Lim