By: Jennifer Scott
According to a 2015-2016 survey by the American Pet Products Association, 79.7 million of households in the United States owned a pet. Pets are one of your strongest support systems; they love you unconditionally and they do not judge you. The bond that you share with your pets is similar to what you share with your family members. When you lose them, it is truly an ordeal – you are bound to be overwhelmed by your intense feelings of sadness and grief. However, it is very important that you accept the situation and deal with the loss in a healthy way.
- Do Not Pretend that You are Fine
There is absolutely no reason for you to justify your grief to anyone, even your closest friends. Do not listen to anyone who says, “It was just a pet; you need to get over it.” The fact of the matter is your pet was your closest ally and family member. According to one of the studies, people placed their relationships with dogs at a higher level than most of their other familial relationships, so accept that it is going to take you that long to grieve for them.
- Follow Your Regular Routine as much as You can
Pets hold such an important role in our lives that we schedule our entire routine around them. You may be used to taking your dog for a walk as soon as you get up in the morning, or your dog may have tagged along with you when you exercised in the park. It is understandable that carrying on this routine may be extremely difficult after the loss of your pet. Ensuring that you go for walks and continue exercising is one of the ways to stay physically active during these trying times. You do not need any added physical stress along with the emotional stress that you are already going through.
- Plan a Funeral
Planning a funeral or a farewell ceremony for your pets is important because it gives you a chance to say goodbye. Funerals have always been for giving the living a chance to honor the dead as well as provide some form of closure. Farewell ceremonies also provide the opportunity to celebrate the lives of your pets. Honor their memories by doing something like planting a tree, sponsoring someone’s pet adoption, and/or setting up a memorial trust.
- Get in Touch with Other Bereaved Pet Owners
No one else will be able to understand your grief and sadness like another bereaved pet owner. When you are looking for a support group to help you deal with pet loss, get in touch with other bereaved pet owners in your region. They will understand where you are coming from and may also share some of their pet stories. You should definitely reach out to a support group when the grief is beyond something that you can handle.
- Get Help from Professionals
People grieve in different ways. You may even show physical and emotional symptoms similar to those of depression when you are grieving. The thing to keep in mind is that grief can act as a trigger for depression. Some of the things that you should be on the lookout for include blaming yourself for the loss of your pet, difficulty in performing day-to-day activities, and isolating yourself. When you start noticing these things, it is time to seek out a mental health professional.
These coping strategies will help you grieve healthily over the loss of your pets.
Having experienced anxiety and depression since teenager years, Jennifer Scott shares stories about the ups and downs of her anxiety and depression at SpiritFinder.