The loss of a pet
The death of your pet could be one of the most significant losses in your life. Pet loss is usually accompanied by grief and the physical manifestations associated with it include apathy, crying, depression, loss of appetite, anxiety, guilt, anger, sleeplessness or even oversleeping.
If you are experiencing this type of loss, you may feel that people do not understand how you miss your beloved pet, as they minimize your loss. Some may have never had a pet or love for animals. Moreover, you might be told that you’re not a child to be crying and that “it was just an animal” Yes, it was your darling animal… we should never feel ashamed or guilt grieving for an animal friend.
You may have taken great care of your pet through illness, or maybe you had to decide to euthanize your own pet due to his/her suffering. It’s normal for most people to question their decision to euthanize. It is also common to wonder if you made the decision too soon or too late or if it was really necessary.
Here are 4 healthy tips that will help you cope with the loss, comfort yourself and help you move on with your life more easily and quickly during the grieving process.
- Acknowledge that you have the right to grieve. A person grieving over the loss of a pet must know that it is alright to grieve. Grieving for a pet is comparable to grieving for a demised family member. Come to think of it, a pet is much a part of the family as well. Accept the reality of the devastating loss although gruelling and difficult. Remember coming to terms with the loss is extremely important and is the first step to healing process.
- Take care of your body. During the grieving process, it is important to give your body extra attention and care. Go for a nature walk or exercise. Exercises will help clear your head and put your body in balance. Consider getting a massage to relax you. Try anything that will help you take care of yourself during such trying time. Remember grieving affects your body.
- Form a support group. During these trying times, you should surround yourself with folks who are empathetic and understand your situation. There are many support communities available. Your veterinarian might have suggestions of such groups. Share your sadness with supportive people because to be surrounded by people who love us in times of grief can make a real difference in our lives. Put in mind that not everyone will understand your grief for your pet, but sharing can help relive some grief
- Be gentle with yourself. Essentially, talk to yourself as you would to a grieved child. Remind yourself you will feel good again, connected to life and you will be more compassionate as a result of your loss. Employ this new tool often whenever you feel like you need a little lift to your spirit. Learning to implement the soothing process is important during times of intense grief.
If you have recently suffered the loss of a pet, it is important to know that the feeling of guilt compounded by feelings of grief is normal. Everything you are going through is a natural process.
(Pet portraits in oil)