Pet ownership is among the deepest pleasures in life. Whether you’re a cat person, a dog person, or a little bit of both, every household feels fuller with the love and affection of a four-legged family member. Having a loving and caring animal to come home to and play with, cuddle with, and bond with is an amazing thing. It provides an insight into the selfless adoration that many people might not otherwise experience.
For all of the good things that pets bring into our lives, their deaths can be a brutal loss. While it’s understood that domestic animals don’t live as long as we humans do, often no more than ten to twenty years, Yet dealing with this fact is far easier said than done. Watching the aging process, accepting the decline, and scheduling the euthanasia if necessary can be more painful than you ever imagined. No matter how prepared you are for your pet to leave this earth, saying goodbye creates a profound sense of loss.
Confronting the Idea of Loss
To most pet owners, pets are family. A dog isn’t “just a dog,” and a cat isn’t “just a cat.” As members of your household you see, touch, and interact with them on a daily basis. It doesn’t take long for a deep and enduring bond to develop. Love for a pet is simple and pure, and losing this can sometimes be harder to handle than the loss of the complex relationships that we develop with other people.
Grief manifests itself in many ways, and there’s no right or wrong way to feel once your pet has passed on. The sadness may strike immediately and or it may come in waves of intense pain or when the world around you triggers a memory. You might cry for a while immediately following death, or cry on and off for days or even weeks. This is all completely okay. There is no wrong way to process the loss of a beloved member of your family. However, in order to move forward in a healthy and happy way it is very important to properly process your grief.
Coping With Death
Coping with a permanent loss is rarely an easy battle. The sadness that comes with death often perpetuates for extended periods of time, long after the initial pain has subsided. This can be especially true for those with deep relationships with their pets, or children who may be experiencing death for the very first time.
How you choose to cope with death and your loss can have a distinct impact on your long term well-being. With the right approach, you can work through your emotions and eventually feel at peace with the cherished memories of your beloved pet.
Take Time to Grieve
The moments right after the loss of your pet can be the most difficult. The initial emotions will be intense and can include sorrow, regret, and pain. Some pet owners will feel guilt as well, especially for those who made the decision to put down a sick pet.
All of these feelings are natural and completely appropriate. The loss of a pet is very hard, and it’s okay to let your sadness out. If you need time to cry, be angry, or wallow for a while, that is perfectly fine. Don’t let anyone tell you how to mourn and feel free to grieve in your own way on your own schedule without the worry of embarrassment or judgment.
Share Stories and Thoughts
When your pet dies, their memory continues to live on. If you have a spouse, children, friends, or family who knew your pet, don’t be afraid to take some time to share favorite memories or funny stories with them. Grief doesn’t have to be a solitary event, and letting your feelings out can help you appreciate the joy that your pet added to your life.
This can be especially helpful for families with children. A pet’s death is often the first experience many children have with the concept of permanent loss, and the experience can be very troubling. Tell your child what happened with plain and clear language, avoiding euphemisms and encourage them to ask as many questions as necessary. If they seem particularly sad, comfort them and urge them to share stories and thoughts to help manage the grieving process. By sharing and remembering the good times, you and your child can bond together over love instead of sadness.
If you feel as though your grief is overwhelming, outside assistance may be beneficial. Many people feel intense sadness when a pet passes away, so your loss will be easy to understand for countless others. Group therapy can be a benefit, giving you a chance to talk about your pet while listening to stories from others dealing with the same struggles.
For those who choose to grieve privately, an appointment with a therapist or a call to a help line may provide guidance as you work through your feelings. Many clinical psychologists and therapists who specialize in grief are happy to work with individuals that have lost pets. Additionally, the ASPCA maintains a Pet Loss Hotline that can be reached at (877) GRIEF-10.
Honor Your Pet’s Memory
Your pet contributed many years of happy memories and good times, so a proper funeral and memorial can be an excellent way to honor and respect their mark on your life. How you choose to do this is up to you, but some pet owners prefer to maintain an urn, plant a tree over a burial spot, or create a photo album of the many happy moments.
If you are seeking a truly special way to keep a part of your pet near your heart, cremation jewelry from Cremation Solutions can give you a beautiful, wearable memorial to remember your departed friend. Available as gemstone jewelry, diamonds, keepsakes, lockets, and more. You can find the perfect solution to honor your pet’s memory. Cremation Solutions also offers cremation urns and monuments, providing the flexibility to create a statement in a way that’s best for you and your family.
Opening Up Your Heart by getting a new pet can be a point of contention after the loss. Some feel as though immediately bringing home a new kitten or puppy is disrespecting the honor of the fallen family member. While others see it as a way to help the heart to heal. Whether you plan to get a new animal right away or choose to take some time to process the loss, opening your heart to the possibility of a new pet can be a great way to add a bright spot to your life. While nothing can ever replace your beloved family member, providing a loving and wonderful life for a new animal in need can help you find comfort and heal your heart.
Despite the pain of loss, pet ownership is both gratifying and fulfilling. When you want to create an enduring memorial to your cat, dog, or other pet, Cremation Solutions can provide you with the resources that you need to keep a much-loved memory alive forever.