pet loss dealing with the loss of your pet grieving your pet's death grieving the loss of your pet

Grieving Pet Loss

Dealing with the loss of a pet can be very difficult. Experiencing the death of a pet can come without notice. Things happen that are unexpected and incredibly painful. When we open our hearts and our homes to our furry, or not so furry, family members, pets and animal companions, we have hopes of a full, happy and healthy life for each of us.
Mostly, that is the case, but sometimes we don’t get that opportunity. Experiencing the death of a pet that is unexpected, sudden and tragic can leave a profound impact on us. So many times we can place unfair guilt on ourselves for the experience, blaming ourselves for what has happened.

Grief isn’t easy when it is expected and is even harder when it is not.

A common phrase we hear among the grieving is that one needs to “find closure”, but convoluted feelings arise when faced with ‘incomplete’ grief experiences. The truth is, many times we as pet owners cannot experience “closure” before being faced with the death of a pet.
Within the grieving process, our brain attempts to make sense of this profound experience. We try to believe that things happen for a reason, even if that reason leads us to blame ourselves. When something goes wrong, it is extremely important to remember that we didn’t plan for it to happen.

It Is Not Your Fault

Guilt is a powerful emotion that has a huge impact on our lives, consciously and unconsciously. Guilt makes us punish ourselves. Throughout the grieving process, we place a massive amount of guilt upon ourselves. This pressure, this guilt, leads to an increase in anxiety and even feelings of panic. We need to remember to allow ourselves to process through our emotions in a healthy way.

It can be easy to lose control quickly when we, consciously or subconsciously, place more and more pressure on ourselves. We can easily feel burdened, overwhelmed and feel that we are unable to meet our daily needs throughout the grieving process.
If you feel this happening to you, it can be helpful to ask ourselves, ”What would my pet want for me?”. Would your pet want you to blame yourself, or would they be understanding with you? Would they want for your happiness regardless of what happened? I would say so, without any hesitation. That’s just how amazing our pets are.

Remember, it is completely normal to experience many different emotions in the beginning of, and throughout the grieving process, especially when it comes to facing the sudden death of your pet.

It is important to experience healthy distractions. A healthy distraction could be as simple as a walk through the park. It may be a close, understanding friend taking us out for coffee and laughing about something small. It may be when you’re reminiscing of fond memories of your pet and smile – it is so important to talk about what you are feeling.

These distractions are fundamental and allow us, even if just for a moment, to unburden ourselves. Grieving is hard work, it is extremely taxing on our body, but it is also a crucial thing to experience.

Grief is a Moment-to-Moment Process

If you take no other advice from this, remember that grief is a moment-to-moment process. It can be too hard to ask for even one day at a time, because a day can seem endless when we feel overwhelmed by our grief.
Remember that in this moment and with every emotion our body is processing through our grief. Please know that you are not alone. We are always here for you.

For more resources on how to cope with your pet’s death, please read this petMD article –

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