Wouldn’t it be nice if our furry friends could be eternal? If every day of our life, we could count on their unconditional love? Unfortunately, like all living things, our pets reach the end of the road one day. Often considered like family members, the passing of a pet can be an extremely difficult event. In fact, many studies suggest that it can be as painful as losing a relative or a friend. As the grieving process can be very different from one person to another, there is no “one-size fits all” guide to cope with the whirlwind of emotions you might feel. However, some tips can help at easing your pain and finding some comfort in times of hardship.
Take Your Time
We live in a fast-paced world where you can feel rushed, even in your grieving process. However, taking the time to understand your emotions is an essential part of grief. What gets buried inside today might resurface in an even more painful way down the road. Remember, you are allowed to take your time. Don’t listen to people trying to tell you that you should “get over it” and stay away from any “rules” about how long it should take you to move on. If the sight of your pet’s favourite toys in the corner of the room brings a glimpse of joy in your day, you don’t have to get rid of them right away. If looking at old pictures of your animal every night makes you feel better, there is nothing wrong with that. You do what is best for you!
Talk Things Through
Share your sadness with close friends or family members who understand how you feel and will listen to what you have to say. Sharing good memories, laughing about your cat’s cute habits or your dog’s funny mischiefs are all ways to make things a little less painful. When you focus on the happy days spent with your four-legged friend, you can slowly transform pain into gratitude. If talking about it is too difficult, maybe writing your thoughts in a grief journal could be a soothing alternative to help you reflect on your loss.
Make Peace With Yourself
Some pets die peacefully of natural causes, but often, owners have to make a difficult call. If you had to take the heart-wrenching decision to put your pet to sleep or if he died under dramatic circumstances, your feeling of sadness might be mixed with feelings of guilt. You might feel like you contributed to your animal’s passing or ask yourself if it was the right thing to do. But what if you looked at things from a different angle? You offered your pet the right to die with dignity, without suffering and surrounded by the people he loved. Isn’t that the best gift you could have offered him after all the years of joy he has given you?
A Last Goodbye
There is something beautiful and comforting in honouring the memory of a loved one. Whether you choose to organize a ceremony, to plant a tree in his honour or to hold a moment of silence with those who loved him, taking a moment to remember your faithful friend in a special way can help you in your grieving process. Despite that feeling of loss and sadness, it can be a liberating step. Hold the ceremony with your family and, if you have kids, let them take part in planning the event. This will be beneficial for everyone!
If you have recently lost your pet, our hearts go out to you. Remember, you have the right to grieve, to feel sad and to be heartbroken. Don’t forget to seek help and to take time for yourself. Your furry friend might not be by your side anymore, but the memories will stay with you forever … and that is a precious gift.