From the very first day your pet enters your home, he becomes part of the family. Anyone who doesn’t have a beloved animal walking with them through life can’t possibly understand the love you share. Unfortunately, that strong bond makes coping with the death of your pet so very hard.
A pet becomes your most faithful friend, your confidant and shoulder to cry on. However, like everything in life, happiness has an end — and so it is with the happiness that comes from a close connection to a beloved pet. And so if you have a furry friend, there are few situations as difficult as dealing with their death.
Some people decide to adopt another pet soon after, while others are afraid of going through the same thing again, or they just don’t believe that they could ever love another pet like that again. Have you recently gone through the loss of your dear pet? Check out the tips below to see if they can give you any solace as you set out on the path of grief
How to cope with the death of your pet
When a beloved pet is about to die, there are a thousand questions that pass through our minds. And it’s vital to answer them ahead of time so we can cope better with the imminent death of our loyal friend. Let’s take a look at some of these questions, and how we might go about answering them.
1. What will I feel?
You may react in any number of ways to the death of your pet. For example:
- Denial. You will still see your pet’s face in every corner because you’re not able to fully accept the fact that they are gone. Don’t worry, and take your time. It will gradually go away and you’ll be able to accept the reality of your loss.
- Guilt. You will believe that it was your fault, or perhaps that you didn’t take good enough care of your pet. If the death was caused by a health condition, you may worry that you didn’t do enough to diagnose it in time. But don’t blame yourself. The fact is that animals, just like humans, die. If it was time, it was time, and there’s nothing more that could have been done to change that.
- Anger. You may even find yourself getting angry, for example, with the vet who looked after your pet at the end, or with bad traffic that made you late for an appointment with the vet. But none of these things are at fault. It’s probable that even if those things hadn’t happened, your pet would still be gone.
2. Is this pain normal?
Yes. Like we said, an animal turns into part of the family, so we feel the loss intensely. Maybe some people won’t understand, but never be ashamed of your pain or try to hide it. Crying is an essential way of coping with the loss.
3. Who can comfort me?
Think about turning to someone in your family who you trust, or a friend who is also an animal lover. It may be a good idea to find someone who has already gone through the death of a pet. All of these people will be able to understand your feelings.
4. If my pet is being put down, should I be there?
Having to “kill” your pet to prevent it from suffering more can be even harder than losing it in an accident or due to old age. However, some people strongly believe that being present in your pet’s final moments and holding onto its little paw as it goes is the ultimate act of love and loyalty.
It can be, or not. The truth is that each person is unique, and each relationship is unique. That’s why you should think about for yourself. Think about how you would really feel in both situations. If you don’t think you’re ready, don’t go. Your pet already knows that you love him.
5. What do I do with my pet’s remains?
This is a question that fills a pet owner with dread. Some decide to bury their pet in the yard, while others take them to be cremated and keep the ashes. Additionally, there are companies that offer pet funerals, or give you back your pet’s ashes in a beautiful, customized urn of your choice. It’s entirely up to you what you decide.
6. How do I explain it to my children?
This can be a very sensitive topic. They say that honesty is the best policy, and we very much agree. However, it’s still important to be tactful in the way you explain why your pet is no longer there. Using euphemistic words like “he’s gone” can just raise more questions or make children wait in vain for their beloved pet to come back.
7. Should I adopt another pet?
This is a tough question, and only you can answer it. However, we recommend letting a bit of time pass, to allow the first and most intense wave of pain to dissipate. That way you’ll be able to offer your new furry friend a more stable home where there is plenty of love to give.