The sadness of losing a member of the family can be overwhelming. The death of a dog or cat may create a wound that takes a lifetime to heal. It is important to allow yourself to grieve for the loss of your pet as you would any other family member.
Some pet owners may feel they should not grieve the loss of their pet in the same way they would a person. Nothing is further from the truth. A dog or cat provides constant companionship, joy and love. Their death is as real and painful as any other.
At the same time, not everyone grieves in the same way. Allow yourself to experience your feelings however you need, but also let the other members of your family deal with the death in their own way. You may need to take time off work to cope or you may prefer to be around people. It is entirely up to you how to get through this difficult time.
Establishing a Pet Memorial
Some pet owners find they are comforted in setting up a memorial for their pets. You may do this by purchasing a stone or marker for your yard. You may prefer to frame your pet’s collar and ID tag. It may even be possible for you to sponsor a tree or bench at a local dog park in your pet’s name.
A lovely way to remember your pet is to acknowledge his or her birthday each year with a trip to your local animal shelter. Buy treats, blankets or toys for the pets who don’t yet have homes.
Introducing a New Pet
It is never too soon or too late to bring a new pet into the family. As with grieving, it is an individual choice. Some may feel that the house is too lonely without a pet. Others may be too overcome with sadness to even consider another dog or cat in the home. When you do feel the time has come to adopt a new pet, be sure that everyone in the family is on the same page. Not all family members will heal at the same time. It is important to respect the healing process of everyone who loved your late pet.