by Debbie Lanham
Animals provide companionship, acceptance, emotional support, and unconditional love. People adore their pets and consider them to be a family member. Often pet owners celebrate their pets' birthdays, confide in their animals and posts their pet photos on social media pages. So when a beloved pet dies, it's not unusual to feel overwhelmed by the intensity of your sorrow.
The grief process is as individual as the person, lasting days for one person and years for another. The process typically begins with denial, which offers protection until individuals can realize their loss. Some people feel angry while others may feel guilt about what they did or did not do. All of these feelings are normal and part of the grief cycle. After these feelings subside, people may experience true sadness or grief. They may become withdrawn or depressed.
Acceptance occurs when pet owners accept the reality of the situation and then focus on the happy memories and love that their pet brought into their life. While grief is a personal experience, you shouldn't face your loss alone. Many forms of support are available, including pet-bereavement counseling services, pet-loss support hotlines, local or online pet-bereavement groups, books, videos, and magazine articles. Below are steps to help with the process.
Acknowledge your grief and give yourself permission to express it.
Don't hesitate to reach out to others who can lend a sympathetic ear. Do a little research online and you'll find hundreds of resources and support groups that may be helpful to you.
Write about your feelings, either in a journal, a poem, essay, or short story.
Call your veterinarian or local humane socie