For some people, pets become roommates, confidants, or even bad day companions. That’s why losing a pet can be just as traumatic as losing a family member, and the grieving process can be similar. Grief companion Kristine Kevorkian says, “What you feel when you lose your pet is almost more than the experience of losing a loved one.” She adds that it is vital for us to acknowledge the loss and get help. Healing can be difficult, but resources are available to help you cope. Here are 10 tips to help you get rid of grief…
1- Take time to grieve.
Your pet may have been part of your family for a long time, so the grieving process can take time. Accept this. Psychologist Frank J. Sileo, who has worked with people who have lost their pets, says, “No one can tell you when to move forward or get over it. The grieving process cannot be forced or rushed.” says. There is no set timetable for grieving. Your grief may come in waves. You may start to feel better, but then grief can be triggered again, such as seeing someone else’s pet, hearing your pet’s name, or a special date, such as a birthday.
2- Do not try to hide or ignore your sadness.
Face your grief. When you deny it, you only delay the grieving process. Express it. Cry, scream, talk to someone.
3- Acknowledge the feelings of guilt.
Do you feel guilty for the death of your pet? This is common, says Janet Zimmerman, a pet loss consultant. “Almost all pet owners feel guilty, regardless of the cause of death, even if they love their pet very much and would do anything,” he says. He says this is because people feel responsible for their pets and blame themselves for their death. Trust your logic, there was nothing else you could do to keep them alive.
4- Get the right support.
It hurts, so who do you turn to for comfort? Your best friends and close family members are probably your first choice. But you may encounter reactions such as “It was just a cat,” “Don’t overdo it,” or “You can always get another puppy.” Even if they don’t want to be thoughtless, most people won’t understand the bond you have with your pet. You can expect sympathy. If you lose a pet, people often become less concerned and become impatient or reckless. People who have lost their pets should be given every opportunity to express their grief,” she says. Without someone to lean on, it can be much harder to grieve.
5- Put your feelings on paper.
Creating a diary or scrapbook can help you process your emotions. Through journaling, you can recall and express unfiltered thoughts and feelings. This album may contain pictures of your pet, memories of special places you have visited, and other memorabilia. Anne Cattarello, psychotherapist specializing in pet loss and grief counseling. “Writing a letter to your beloved pet can also aid recovery. Express your feelings from the day the pet enters your life until it dies.” says.
6- Organize a ceremony.
“These kinds of rituals encourage a sense of control and can give a sense of mastery over sensitive emotions,” Zimmerman says. says. This is a way to express loss and disappointment and begin to heal, and can provide some closure for the bereaved. If you have children, get them involved and encourage them to send farewell messages at the funeral box. Help them make a tombstone or plant a tree on the grave.
7- Build a monument.
A memorial like this is another way to honor and express your love for your pet, whether it’s under a tree in your backyard, at a pet cemetery, or in a corner of your home. You can reserve a special place for your pet’s collar, toys, photos, or you can have a plaque made with your picture and name.
8- Go on with life.
“Monuments are comforting at first, but if you find that they keep your grief too fresh, set it aside. The memory of your dear friend will live on in your heart,” she says. Part of grieving is about saying goodbye and learning to let go. Eventually, you will adjust to life without your friend.
9- Volunteer at an animal shelter.
When you give love to a single shelter animal, you get back a hundred times what you give. But if you can’t stand to be around other animals, that’s okay too. You may not be ready yet.
10- Do not rush to get a new animal.
Even if your home is quiet and empty, it’s usually best to wait. Before starting a new relationship with a new pet, you need time to work through grief and loss. You may resent the new pet for trying to replace the old one. If you’re ready to get a new pet, avoid getting one that looks like your previous pet or the same breed. Every pet has its own personality and it would be unfair to compare it to your new pet.
Maryann Hammers. “10 Ways to Heal After Losing a Pet” https://www.everydayhealth.com/emotional-health/10-ways-heal-after-losing-pet/ (15.11.2017)