When a beloved pet dies, the pain can be overwhelming. You may feel like you’ve lost a family member, and the grief can be intense. While it’s normal to feel sad and lonely after your pet passes away, there are things you can do to help ease the pain.
If you’re struggling to cope with the loss of your pet, here are some tips that may help:
1. Give yourself time to grieve
Don’t ignore your feelings or pretend they don’t exist. It’s okay to feel sad, empty from within, and crying; it’s part of the grieving process. You can take some time off work or school if you need to. There’s nothing wrong with it. Grief is a process, and there is no “right” way to do it. Everyone has their own way of grieving. You need time and space to grieve in whatever way feels best for you.
It’s also important to talk about your feelings with someone who will understand. If you don’t have supportive friends or family members, consider talking to a counselor or therapist who can help you through this tough time.
2. Talk about your pet
Some people may not understand how close you are to your pet, but talking about your feelings can be helpful. Find someone who will listen — a friend, family member, therapist, or online support group for owners who have recently lost their pets.
If you’re struggling to find the right words and talk to others, consider writing about your pet in a journal or blog. You can also share memories and photos of your pet online on social media sites like Instagram, Facebook, or Tiktok or on a virtual pet memorial site.
3. Create a tribute
One way to honor your pet is to create a tribute. This could be a photo album, collage, or scrapbook. You could also plant a tree or garden in your pet’s memory or donate to an animal shelter in their name.
You can also have your pet preserved in a natural-looking and restful state so that you can always have them by your side — even after they are long gone. For that, you will need the services of a company that can preserve your pet.
Most companies will use taxidermy, freeze-drying, or aquamation processes to preserve them in a manner that they will look exactly as they did when they were alive.
4. Do something special on the anniversary of your pet’s death
This can be anything from taking a walk in nature to buying yourself a new toy or piece of jewelry. The important thing is to do something that makes you feel good and helps you remember the happy times you shared with your pet.
You can also use the anniversary of your pet’s death as a day to perform acts of kindness in their memory. For example, you could volunteer at an animal shelter or rescue organization or donate to a pet charity.
5. Stay connected to other animal lovers
If you’re feeling isolated after your pet dies, reach out to other animal lovers for support. This could be through an online forum or social media group, or in person at a meetup or event. Surrounding yourself with people who understand what you’re going through can make the grieving process a little easier. You can join groups like the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) or local animal shelters.
6. Remember that you’re not alone
It’s normal to feel like you’re the only one going through this, but know that there are others who understand what you’re going through. Millions of Americans have lost a pet, and many more will go through this experience in their lifetime. Lean on others for support, and take comfort in knowing that you’re not alone in your grief.
7. Seek professional help if you need it
If you’re struggling to cope with your grief, don’t be afraid to seek professional help. A therapist who specializes in pet loss can offer guidance and support. There are also several hotlines available, such as the Cornell University Pet Loss Support Helpline (607-218-7457). Similarly, there are other organizations that offer resources and support for those who are grieving the loss of a pet.
We hope these tips are helpful as you navigate the grieving process of your beloved one. Losing a pet is never easy, but know that you’re not alone in your grief. With time, the pain will ease, and you will be able to remember your pet with fondness and love.