After losing a pet, it is important to acknowledge our emotions while celebrating the happy life our pet had. To many people, pets are not “just an animal,” but a companion. Sometimes it may even feel like our pets are the only ones who truly know and love us for who we are. Because of the connection we have with our pets, experiencing a loss can be traumatic.
Let Yourself Grieve
Losing a pet is extremely difficult, and it’s important to remember that we shouldn’t downplay our emotions. Understand that grief is natural and everyone grieves differently. Denial, anger, depression, bargaining and acceptance are the stages of grief, but they might not happen in that exact order and some stages might not happen at all. Let yourself process at your own pace.
Celebrate Memories of Your Pet
It can feel shocking to not only lose a companion, but the routine that we formed around our pets. Look to the support of your family and friends during this time. Write down the happiest memories you had with your pets, and remember the hard times that they might have helped you through. Talk with your vet, groomer, or anyone who got to know your pet and ask if they have a fun memory to share.
Decorate a Shelf or Wall Space with Memories
Designate a space in your home that honors your pet. Place some framed photos on a shelf with their favorite toys, food bowl and collar. If you choose to cremate your pet, you can even place their urn on this shelf. This bright space can help you remember the beauty that your pet brought to your life.
Make a Donation in Your Pet’s Name
Donate money or time to your local animal shelter in your pet’s name. This will carry on the memory of your beloved pet while also providing basic necessities to animals in need. Eventually, you might feel ready to adopt a pet again. Remember that there is no right or wrong time to adopt after losing a pet. Adoption is an important decision for you and your family to make.