Losing a pet is one of the hardest times in your life and one that you're never prepared for. Their is a long, emotional, and complicated grief process when you lose a furry family member and sometimes that includes comforting children who have never experienced loss before or consoling other animals in your home. Let your children be involved in saying good bye, they need closure too. Look at pictures, remember all the fun moments - laugh and cry. Yes, it's ok for your children to see that you're hurting too. Do something special together, go on a little field trip to a zoo or a petting park. If you have another pet, don't forget they are grieving too. Turn your focus to them, they need you more than ever. Change up their routine. Change their feeding times, feed them in a different spot or a different room in the house. Take them on walks on a different path or if it's the same walk, change the direction. Take special trips to the beach or to a friend's house to visit with other dogs they enjoy playing with. Get them out and about with the kids. If they're in a crate, move the crate to your room or your children's room. It will make them feel more secure, their confidence is shaken - they just lost their best friend. If you work, leave the TV or radio on while you're gone. (Animal Planet has always been a favorite at CHRIS Ti.) It's ok to get another companion. You don't have to change breeds and you're not replacing your fur baby. Your family needs to love again and there is no set time limit for grief or no "right" time to get another pet. Remember you have a big heart and animals teach us love, compassion, and patience. We can all learn from their unconditional love.
The Death of a Pet Can Hurt as Much as the Loss of a Relative
Five Strategies for Surviving the Loss of a Pet
by Dr Marty Becker DVM
1. Give Yourself Time and Permission to Grieve
Love is love and loving a pet is no different than loving a person.
2. Take Care of Yourself
Losing someone we love can be exhausting, emotionally and physically. While you're grieving, it's important to eat well and get enough sleep.
3. Avoid the "He Was Just a Pet" or "Just Get Another One" People
They may be trying to help, but their "comforting" words often make you feel worse. If you can't avoid their comments, try to ignore them or change the subject. And It's ok to say you don't want to talk about your loss, even if it's only this one particular person you don't want to talk with.
4. Seek Out Support
The pet-loving people in your life understand what you're going through and will be there for you.
5. Make Plans for a Memorial
Plant a perennial flower, a rose bush, a tree - make a memorial donation to an animal charity - scrapbook a memorial ... you know what works for you.