Losing a pet: Coping with grief when your beloved pet passes on

Losing a pet: Coping with grief when your beloved pet passes on

Coping with the loss of a beloved pet is a profound and difficult experience. When I lost my cat, Spock, (who I’d had since high school) after 19 years, I was beside myself.

Pets can be viewed as a best friend, child, sibling or long-term companion, and while there is no easy way to grieve a pet’s loss, there are some ways that might help the grieving process.

According to Everyday Health, it is important to take time to grieve. The process can’t be forced or hurried along and remember that “moving on” or “getting over it” isn’t as easy as people suggest. Take your time.

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Do not try to ignore the sadness; hiding your emotions, experts say, only delays the grief process.

Most pet parents blame themselves, because they feel responsible for their pet’s life. It’s a normal step in the grief process and remember that you did everything you could to give them the best life.

While there are people who might say, “Just get another dog or cat,” pet parents understand that doing so is not that easy, because the bond they formed with their pet is strong. Only you will know if/when the time is right.

Talk to someone. You can find online support groups, chat rooms and pet loss hotlines. APBL has professionally trained volunteers in pet bereavement counseling. Click/tap here for information and chat room. ASPCA Pet Loss Hotline: 877-474-3310.

Experts say keeping a journal or scrapbook allows “unfiltered thoughts and feelings” to be expressed.

Also, it’s good to hold a ceremony. In fact, gathering friends or family to talk about memories of your beloved pet helps in the healing process, according to Everyday Health.

Creating a memorial is also a way to express your love for your pet, but experts say that after a while, if it keeps your grief too raw, put it away.

And remember, you are not being disrespectful or disloyal to your pet by healing. There will always be a place in your heart for your cherished pet.