Pets can be an important member of the family. However, that can make it even harder when you have to say goodbye. When your pet has reached the end of its life, the grief you feel is real. Here are some things to remember to bring you comfort as you mourn the loss of your pet.
Allow yourself to grieve.
The emotional bonds you formed with your pet were real. That means you should allow yourself to grieve the loss just as you would grieve the loss of a human loved one. Do not think that because your pet was “just a pet” that you do not need time and space to feel feelings of sadness and loss.
Lean on your support system.
Remember that you do not have to go through it alone. Reach out to your friends and family members for emotional support. Be sure to lean on people who will be supportive of you and respect what you are going through. You do not want to try and lean on people who will simply push you to “get over it.”
Engage in self-care.
As you grieve, be sure to take care of yourself. Self-care looks different for each person, so find things you can do (big or small) that make you feel healthy and happy. Whether it is to go on a shopping trip, take a long bubble bath, or even spend time on your own, make self-care a priority.
Stay physically active.
It can be hard to do much of anything when you are sad, but being physically active can help fight depression and sadness. You don’t have to go to the gym; even taking a short walk gets your body moving and can help your mood improve. And it’s another way to take good care of yourself.
Find a way to honor your pet.
Finding a way to honor your pet can give you closure without feeling like you’re forgetting a member of your family after they are gone. Something as simple as having a picture in a prominent place in your home can be a good way to honor your pet and have the chance to share memories with people who see the picture when they are in your home.
Don’t put time limits on getting another pet (or not).
Only you know when or if you are ready for another pet after saying goodbye. No one can make that decision for you. Take time to grieve in your own way, and when the time is right, you will be able to make the decision. If you decide to get another pet quickly, that can be okay for you. Another pet may help you move forward in a healthy way. If you decide to not get another pet for a long time (or at all), that can be okay for you, too.
Losing a pet is never easy. It is important to remember to take time to grieve and take care of yourself after saying goodbye. These tips can help you as you move forward so you can remember and honor your pet in a healthy way.