Grieving the Loss of a Pet
Any time someone we love dies, there will be grief that follows. This is especially true when you have spent a significant amount of time and created a lot of memories with them throughout their life – like a pet.
Pets are a constant presence in the lives of many people, and when they pass, the grief that follows can be difficult to navigate. If you have recently lost a beloved cat, dog, or other companion animal, please accept our sympathy. We hope that the following advice can help you as you begin your journey to healing.
Remember that your grief is valid.
Pets are members of the family, just as humans are. The pain you feel after you say goodbye is very difficult and very real. Many pet guardians spend more time with their companion than other humans, so it is understandable that you will grieve for quite some time as you adjust to life without your friend.
Give yourself grace.
You shared your home with your pet, so it is likely that you will face reminders that trigger your grief from time to time. Give yourself space to process these emotions as they happen, and the grace to be kind to yourself just as you would a friend or family member who was grieving their own loss.
Create a memorial of your pet.
A pet memorial can help you to have a tangible connection to your buddy even after they are gone. Some pet guardians choose to create a garden in their backyard that honors their pet, or even opt to personalize Jewelry and Keepsakes engraved with his or her paw print. A framed photo of the two of you together displayed next to their collar somewhere prominent in your home is another heartfelt way to honor the years you shared and keep their memory near.
Share his or her story.
As you grieve your pet, reach out to other people who knew him or her. You will be able to feel support through sharing and hearing stories about your friend, and start to find peace in remembering all of the joy he or she brought you. In addition to family and friends, you can talk to other animal lovers online or join a pet loss support group for further comfort.
Consider adopting another pet.
When the time is right, consider adopting another pet. No cat, dog, bird, rabbit, horse, or other companion animal will be able to replace your friend, but by giving a good home to someone, you can help the love you shared with your lost pet to live on. If adding a new member to your family doesn’t feel like something you should do, that is okay. The time may never be right to bring another animal into your home. Do what is best for you and trust your instincts.
Saying goodbye to a pet is never easy. Find peace in knowing that they loved you, just as you loved them, and had a wonderful life being your friend. Your sweet pet will always be in your heart each day. Feel their spirit, and know that the two of you are never far apart.