Pets are honored, highly valued members of our families, and they provide us with a never-ending source of unconditional love and cuddles throughout life’s ups and downs. Their impact on our lives is immeasurable, and saying goodbye is never easy.
At Long Animal Hospital and Emergency Center, we understand what it’s like to lose a beloved pet, and we want you to know that pet loss grief is entirely natural and to be expected. It’s also a highly individualized process, and it’s important to know where to turn for the level of pet loss support that you need.
Coping With Pet Loss
With pet ownership comes much joy, companionship, and—inevitably—pet bereavement. The depth of your pet loss grief may depend largely upon your pet’s age at the time of passing and other circumstances. Whatever the case, pet loss grief is natural and nothing to be ashamed of.
We all cope differently in the face of profound loss. To experience real, authentic healing, it’s important to find healthy ways of coping with pet loss. Consider honoring pet memories in meaningful ways, finding pet loss support in online communities, and forming connections with others who’ve experienced pet loss grief. Consider these suggestions compiled by our compassionate team at Long Animal Hospital and Emergency Center:
- If there are children in the household, be honest with them about the pet’s passing. Be open with your own grief, and give kids the freedom and space to grieve as well.
- Hold a memorial service for the pet, and give each family member an opportunity to speak and share a favorite memory.
- For some people, looking at photos may be difficult, but for others, reviewing photographs and videos is a comforting way of embracing and honoring pet memories.
- Create a living memorial by planting a new tree in your yard, or choose a special garden statue or plaque.
- Create an online legacy for your pet by sharing photos and memories on pet bereavement websites and Facebook groups for those needing pet loss support.
- Contribute to a charity, animal shelter, or rescue organization in your pet’s name.
- If you have other pets, give them plenty of extra cuddles and TLC, as they may be experiencing their own sense of loss.
- When you’re ready to interact with other pets, consider volunteering your time to walk dogs or play with kittens at your local animal shelter.
- Stay active, get plenty of rest, and eat properly to keep your spirits lifted.
Every journey through pet bereavement is different, and it’s important to give yourself the time and grace to grieve on your way toward healing. Please contact us if we can be of any help or for more information regarding pet loss support resources in North Carolina and South Carolina.