When a loved one dies or with the loss of a pet, sorrow and grief are expected to come naturally with the support from friends and family. With a pet, it may be different because they are part of the family, but some just don’t understand how one can mourn dearly over an animal. Some owners don’t know how to cope with the death of their pet. But they are central in people’s lives and mean a lot to most people. Owners may have celebrated their pets’ birthdays and take continuous pictures of them as if they were a child. Therefore, it is not unusual for people to be in mourning.
There is support for those who are experiencing the loss of a pet such as pet-grief counseling and support hotlines, local/online pet-grief groups. People have written books about coping with the loss of a loved pet. One of the first things people will say is that you should recognize your grief and give permission to express it yourself. Don’t be ashamed to talk to others who may be sympathetic, including to those online groups who know the grief very well. Talk to a veterinarian or a humane society who can refer you to groups. Maybe even write about it in a diary; creative writing can be therapeutic.
Then, there are the children who may be around the pet. Their death could be the child’s first encounter with it. Children don’t know what to do; they may blame themselves or someone else, feeling angry and depressed and scared that others may die like their pets. Don’t shield them from death; tell the truth and their sadness is okay to express.
For seniors, it may be really hard for them because they could be alone and their pet is their only companion. It can remind them that they may go next. For seniors, they should that quick steps to connect with their own family for support and work with groups with grieving their pet’s death.
Other pets at home who realize that their fellow pets are gone will also feel mournful. They will whimper, lose their appetite, and have no energy, feeling depressed themselves. Even death can distress them, so cope with your surviving pet and maintain a regular routine with them. When it comes to getting a new pet, don’t rush into it. Each animal has their own personality and a new one can never replace another. There is a right time to adopt a new pet after grieving; don’t do so instantly. Eventually, when you feel that enough time has passed, go on and adopt your new pet.
Pets provide friendship, support, and love to owners regardless of age. It is a bond as strong as humans are with each other. A pet will mourn their owner’s death as well. With humans, it is natural to grieve and is natural to make arrangements towards coping with their death. Remember that there are ways to cope and accept the loss and find ways to cherish memories instead of shedding tears.