The sudden loss of a cherished family pet, for whatever reason, is a painful event that is comparable to the grief experienced following the passing of loved ones. In some cases, this traumatic event may even trigger depression and other mental health issues among children. The emptiness that our companions left is felt even more intensely because we have put so much value on them and their unshakable, unconditional devotion and loyalty.
If you find yourself in familiar territory, finding ways to deal with the departure of your best friend in a positive and meaningful way is vital.
Paying respect for your pet companion
Your pet has become a beloved part of your family; thus, you may want to give them the respect they deserve one last time. So, much like we respect and commemorate our families and friends after they die, you should consider exploring appropriate ceremonies, rituals, and memorialization fitting for your pet companion.
An increasing number of pet cemeteries are springing up throughout the country, dedicated to the interment of our cherished non-human friends, whether they are cremated or buried. Burying them in one of these cemeteries may be a fitting way to pay your last respect and to commemorate lasting memories in their brief but meaningful life with you.
On the other hand, if you don’t have access to any nearby cemeteries or simply want to keep them close, you can also make modifications in or around your house. You may do this by employing professional landscaping services to help you make a simple resting place for them somewhere in the garden. For example, look into ways where you can turn their ash or body into a living tree or a shrub and let their memory live on as part of your beautiful outdoor space. Additionally, you may take this opportunity to sculpt your yard according to the landscape you envision to help you cope up with your loss.
Know that it takes time
The death of someone we care about comes with the hole of nothingness carved in our hearts. This pushes us to address our sorrow even when we don’t want to. For instance, you may have become accustomed to your canine’s constant, cheerful presence and lively greetings in the morning; therefore, their departure may have a profound effect on you, potentially triggering despair.
While the grief of losing a friend or a family member leaves a scar on our lives that maybe only time can heal, the pain we feel from the death of our furry friends may tempt us to get a replacement in hopes of filling the void. However, it is better to resist the urge right now and instead use this time to honor your pet loved one’s memories until you feel ready to welcome a new puppy, kitten, fish, hamster, or any other type of pet into your life again. This time, you’ll be much more prepared emotionally and physically to develop a new bond and special connection once again.
Honoring your grief
Eventually, some relatives, friends, colleagues, or even strangers may approach you and tell you to simply get over it or that you should move on. After all, they are just animals, and you can always get a replacement anytime. Unfortunately, although they may mean well, the hurtful and inconsiderate comments could still get to you and may even add to the emotional turmoil you are in.
Contrary to popular belief, grieving does not conform to any particular timeline or predicted stages. We all deal with loss differently, and you should not allow anyone to rush you nor dictate you in processing your feelings. Instead, allow yourself to feel. Your journey and timeline towards healing are valid. In fact, according to studies, the duration of deep sorrow felt by grieving pet owners varied significantly. Some pet parents move on in a short period, while others may take months or even years longer.
The loss of a pet may be just as devastating as any loss we can ever experience in life. However, your pet’s friendship and love are unique and unparalleled; thus, it’s normal if you’re having difficulties dealing with their death. But life will get better over time. Know that this isn’t going to last, and sooner or later, you will be celebrating the life you shared with them and fondly remember every moment you spent together.
Moreover, it’s essential not to forget yourself throughout this process. That said, if the loss of your pet is giving you increased anxiety and is interfering with your everyday activities, it may be beneficial to seek professional assistance to deal with the situation immediately.