Pets are the most loving souls ever lived on the earth. They are a constant companion, a friend and most compassionate being for his owner. But what if this heartfelt soul is no more with you? It creates a void that no one can fill. The grief and sorrow that you feel is dreadful and moving on is very difficult. Here are some tips on how to deal with pet loss to help you if you are going through this phase in your life.
“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened”- Anatole France
1. Let Yourself Cry
The first step to deal with pet loss is to acknowledge the loss. You shouldn’t live in denial, but accept the situation and try to cope up with it. Don’t hold on to your emotions and let yourself cry. Letting your anger out will ease your pain. Don’t be too hard on yourself. There’s nothing wrong in feeling the pain that you are going through right now and you shouldn’t listen to anyone who tells you otherwise. Being depressed is natural but don’t let it overpower you. Be compassionate with yourself and take baby steps to come out of it.
“Have a good cry, wash out your heart. If you keep it inside, it’ll tear you apart.”
2. Tell your friends about the loss
It is essential for you to talk to your friends about your loss. Tell them about how you feel. How much the loss has affected you and share your pain with them. Talking to friends will help you to deal with pet loss. You will receive the validation that you are seeking for your feelings. Friends are close to you, know you well, understand you and can help you come out of the pain. You must contact only those friends who know about your relationship with your pet and are compassionate towards it.
“Good friends help you to find important things when you have lost them…your smile, your hope, and your courage.” – Doe Zantamata
3. Reminisce with Videos/Photos and Get a Pet Portrait
Old Pictures and videos are the best means to cheer you up. They remind you of the good moments that you shared with your pet. Get these photos hand painted and decorate them on your bedroom walls to revive your memories. The painting will always remind you of all the happy memories of your pet and keep you cheerful. This will also showcase the love and affection that you have for your pet.
The Last memories of your pet might be of his end days which would not be pleasing. If your pet went through a long illness and pain, the memories would be even more sorrowful. Looking at old pictures will give you a break from these memories and look at the cheerful side of his life. You will find these comforting and make you realize that honoring the whole life of the pet is important rather than just focusing on the end days.
4. Experienced People Can Give You Tips on How to Deal with Pet Loss
They are the best people to approach. The people who have gone through the same pain and have come out of it can help you big time. They will share their experiences with you. You can relate to these experiences and realize that you are not alone in it. Also, it is okay to feel this way, it is natural and will get better with time. These people can give you some handy tips on how to deal with pet loss based on their experiences. And there are high chances that what has helped them would help you too in your situation.
5. Conduct a Funeral
This might sound pointless to people who never owned a pet. They feel that funerals are only meant for humans. But you can conduct a funeral if you feel so. A pet is not just an animal for his owner, but a part of his family, his best friends. And holding a funeral gives a chance to express your feelings and honour your pet. You will find it soothing and helpful in a way that might not be understood by other people. But if you feel it important, then decide a date and invite your friends and family. And conduct a funeral for your deceased pet.
6. Take Care of Yourself
I know it’s difficult to think about yourself at this time. You might not even want to get out of your bed or go to work but you can’t give up on everything. You must follow your daily routine like you did when you had your partner with you. Do not sink into grief and try your best to come out of this state of mind. No matter how shattered you feel but this is not the end of the world. So, give yourself time to overcome pain and sorrow.
Although you don’t need to act alright when you are not. Take your time, give yourself a couple of days, then gradually come back to your routine. Get up before afternoon, take a shower, step out, go to work and try to do everything that you did on an average day. You will soon get over it.
7. Volunteer at a Local Animal Shelter
While there’s nothing that can take the place that your pet had in your life, looking after an animal in desperate need of human care can help you forget your pain. This is one of the best tips on how to deal with pet loss. There’s no other emotion stronger than empathy and compassion. When you care for someone who is yearning for love, you tend to keep aside your own sorrows. You will get a purpose for your life and feel more fulfilled. So, I suggest you to volunteer at the local animal shelter to help those poor beings, and I promise you will feel revived again.
“Giving is the master key to success, in all applications of human life.” – Bryant McGill
8. Read Books
It is rightly said, “Books are man’s Best Friends” (after pets).
When you feel lonely, books come to your rescue. You can read any motivational book or opt for light reading which can lift your mood. If not, there are plenty of books specially written to help you deal with pet loss where the writers have shared their own story of grief and have told you how to deal with pet loss.
Some of these books are:
- The Loss of a Pet by Wallace Sife
- Goodbye, Friend: Healing Wisdom for Anyone Who Has Ever Lost a Pet by Gary A. Kowalski
- The Rainbow Bridge: Pet Loss Is Heaven’s Gain by Niki Behrikis Shanahan
All these books will help you relate to the story of the author and tell you how they got over this hard time.
9. Follow a Hobby
“People with many interests live, not only the longest, but the happiest.” – George Matthew Allen
While reading books is helpful for some people, you might find solace in some other activity, be it painting, singing, cooking, dancing, etc. Take out time for a hobby that you absolutely enjoy doing. All these activities are not just a source of distraction but a way of expressing yourself too. Sometimes, your art expresses what you cannot express in words. You can let your pain out through any of these forms of art. Believe me, you will feel very light and full of life.
10. Create a Legacy
Do something in honour of your pet. You can plant a tree in his memory. Doing such a thing will keep the pet’s memory alive, and you can remember him with a happy heart. This will also help your family members, especially if you have kids to overcome grief. They will learn to take care of the plant and might find peace in it. Doing something meaningful not just brings joy to you but also keeps you occupied.
Also, do not rush into adopting a new pet until you are completely ready. Your kids might find it difficult to take a new pet when he hasn’t overcome the loss of his previous friend yet. You shouldn’t try to replace him with a new one. Giving your kid a new purpose and job to keep him busy will be a better option.
11. Pen Down your Feelings
“Writing is Thinking on Paper” – William Zinsser
Write down on a piece of paper how you feel in the form of a poem, a song or even a paragraph. Pour your heart out. Pen down all the things that you weren’t able to tell anyone. I have tried this myself. When you pour everything out on a paper, you feel relieved. It feels like you have passed on all the stress from your head to that paper. Now, you can get back to your life refreshed.
There’s one more tip. After writing it down, try not to reread it. Some people feel that after reading it, all the stress and feelings get back to your head, you start thinking about all those things again. This is just a piece of advice from my personal experience which does not apply to everyone.
12. Take Professional Help if Necessary
Last but definitely not the least, take professional help if needed. If all the above tips don’t help you, do not hesitate to seek professional help. There’s nothing wrong in consulting a doctor to know how to deal with pet loss. There is a big stigma around mental health which needs to be broken. Dealing with depression is as normal as any other disease. So, seek some professional help to reduce your pain.
Pet Loss is as painful as losing a family member. While some people get over it quickly, others might find it very difficult. If you are in such a situation, you must do your best to cope up with it. Also, if you have any friends who are going through such times, you must lend an empathetic ear to them. The above tips will help you get out of the situation faster and better.
Tell us which tip helped you the most to deal with pet loss?