In a lot of cases, the bond with our pet is just as strong as the one with the people in our lives. That’s why it’s perfectly normal to grieve over the loss of our pets because, after all, they were our friends. Even though other people may not understand it, you shouldn’t feel ashamed about grieving the death of your dear pet.
In the end, nothing can help you move on like the passage of time, but there are some things you can try to make yourself feel a little better.
1. Make a ritual.
If you feel like it’s something you want to do, make a funeral for your pet. People may believe it’s inappropriate and they may judge you, but you should do whatever makes you feel better. This is an opportunity for the whole family to express their sadness, especially for the children to realize the pet is really gone. And it’s a way for you to have some closure with your beloved pet.
2. Find something to occupy your time.
A pet may become one of the primary joys in your life, especially if you’re an elderly person. This is nothing unusual and it’s natural. But when you lose that pet, you may feel like there’s no point of moving on. So try to find something else to keep yourself occupied. Do something you’ve always wanted to do like taking up a hobby, learning something new or exercising. And make sure you spend time with other people.
3. Seek professional help.
If you can’t deal with your loss alone, you shouldn’t feel ashamed to talk to others. And since people around you may find it hard to understand what you’re going through, there are numerous pet-loss hotlines you can contact. You should know that you are not alone in this and these people are professionals who will listen to you and understand your loss.
4. Cry, a lot if you need to.
As simple as may sound, it is the most powerful tool we have to cope with any kind of loss. Ignore everyone who tells you that it’s not ok to mourn a pet and allow yourself to cry. If you bottle up your emotions, you will only make it worse. The first step towards moving on is actually grieving, so don’t be ashamed of those tears.
5. Volunteer at an animal shelter.
You should by no means force yourself or your family to get a replacement pet right away. Instead, give yourself time to get over the loss. But what you can do is try to volunteer at an animal shelter and heal through helping animals in need. Not only will you be close to animals, which are excellent healers, you will also feel the satisfaction of doing something good and humane.
6. Celebrate the life of your pet.
Instead of focusing only on the loss, think about the life your dear pet led and all the fun you had together. You can take all the photos you made and compile an album or even create a memory by planting a tree for your late pet. The important thing is to remember the good times you had with your buddy.
7. Spend time with your friends.
Staying surrounded by people is always a good idea during the bad times in our lives. You may feel like they would judge you for grieving your pet, but you don’t know until you tell them. After all, they may be completely supportive and help you go through it. And spending time with your friends will also take your mind off your sorrow at least for a couple of hours.
8. Write about it.
Maybe you’re one of those people that can’t express their feelings so easily. You will feel utter pain about the loss, but you won’t be able to tell anyone or show it in any way. However, you shouldn’t keep the feeling bottled up inside of you. Consider writing about your sadness. You can keep a journal or write a poem or an essay about it. It will surprise you how much better you will feel afterwards.