In this day and age, we may laugh when we hear of someone who tries to bring a "support" peacock or turtle onto an airplane. But although that might be a bit over the top, pets do provide a wonderful sense of love and support to so many people. Losing one can be devastating to an individual or family. There is no need to be embarrassed or ashamed of feeling deep grief for the loss of a pet. There are ways to help you grieve and it is an important process to recognize. Here are a few ideas to help.
1. Realize that the grieving process will be slow. The feeling of loss will not go away quickly. Be prepared for the sadness to linger awhile, especially at times when you and your pet shared together.
2. Don't be ashamed or undermine your feelings of grief. Pets can become true members of our families and we can be dependent on their love to turn to when we are feeling a variety of emotions. Not having them there is a shock.
3. Find a way to memorialize your pet. Put a shadowbox or framed picture in a spot near your pet's favorite spot. You will find yourself looking there often and seeing an image or two will bring comfort.
4. Don't let others tell you how to feel. No one can understand the bond between two people or human beings and their animals. You know how you are feeling, others shouldn't tell you how they think you should behave.
5. Make sure if you have other pets, that you keep their routine the same. Actually, they will most likely be missing your pet as well and will need a little extra TLC.
6. Look after yourself. This is true for any type of loss. Neglecting your own needs, especially, time to reflect, can cause harm and it is important to make sure you take care of you.
In a future blog, we will focus on helping a child deal with the loss of a beloved pet.