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Grieving the Loss of a Pet

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 1 10

Grieving the Loss of a Pet(45420)

"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened. " ~ Anatole France

Grieving the loss of a pet is a very difficult time in your life. Pets become a part of the family and even though the inevitable will one day come, it is still a heartbreaking shock when your pet will no longer be around and you must make that decision. Nothing can spare us the dreaded decision to euthanize our pet and the grieving process can take many months and even years to get over.

Since we are in charge of the decision to end the life of our pet, it is not an easy thing to live with. There are many thoughts we try to sort out and questions we ask when grieving the loss of a pet. Am I still a good person if I decide to end my pet’s life? Will my pet forgive me for ending its life? Did I love my pet enough? Did I make my pet happy? Did my pet live a good life? Does my pet know what’s going on?  Does my pet understand that I’m doing the right thing by him or her?

To grieve the loss of your pet’s death and to have these questions cross your mind is normal. Make note of the information below to help you understand and work through your grief.

Comforting Thoughts For Grieving the Loss of a Pet

Allow yourself to grieve as long as you need to—Those without animals may not understand that losing your pet is like losing a member of your family. Don’t worry about how others may deal with this loss. Grieve for your pet out of respect and  take your time to recover from the loss. You just lost a friend who gave you unconditional love and companionship that most people can not get from other human beings.

Don’t beat yourself up with questions that can not be answered—You may begin to obsessively fixate your thoughts on the care and love you gave to your pet. Unfortunately, pets can not tell their owners that they were well cared for, so people tend to start questioning the love they gave, the support they gave and the level of happiness they hope their pet received. Focus on the fun, happy memories with your pet. These images will help you to cope with your loss and confirm that you did give all the love you could give and that it was enough to keep your pet happy.

Allow yourself to grieve in your own way—Some people find solace in giving their pets a memorial or a burial. Some find it comforting to keep mementos of their pet such as a collar, a leash, or even an urn with ashes. Others find that they want to immediately rid themselves of everything that reminds them of their pet. Permit yourself to take the actions that you feel comfortable with. Everyone deals with grief in their own way.

Express your feelings of loss and frustration—With repressed feelings, it takes longer to get over the death of a loved one and it also takes a toll on the body. Find an outlet to release your pain and loss whether that is by speaking with others who have lost pets or even writing a note to your pet letting him or her know how you feel.

Let time heal your wounds—Nothing but time will ease your sadness with any loss. The rush of many feelings comes about all at once but they soon dissipate as the days, months and even years go by. Grieving is a process and there are levels that you need to go through to recover. Know that things will get better as time goes by.

Accept Condolences--Sometimes people don't know how to react or don't know what to say when someone loses a pet. The best you can do is take their offering of condolence and be grateful they acknowledged your close relationship with your pet. They might not understand your sadness, but they do know that you are hurting. Accepting their loving messages can have a healing and calming effect.

Grieving the loss of a pet will never be easy. 

Loss of a Pet

Always hold on to the good memories and know that your pet is probably now watching over you waiting until you meet again.



Feb 25, 2011 5:58am
Thanks for sharing. Our family pet Chihuahua is very dear to us, so I can only imagine when that day to say good bye comes, that we would really miss her. Thanks for this encouraging and informative post.
Feb 25, 2011 2:07pm
Web_Info, my boyfriend and I recently lost our dog. This was my boyfriend's first pet and he took it pretty hard. I definitely wanted to share information that has helped us during our loss. Just cherish and love your pet as much as you can while you have her.
Feb 26, 2011 3:17pm
I lost my Joey cat over a year ago, and the pain is still pretty intense, largely because he was young (10) and because I have a hard time getting over the fact that I was the one who said "End it." Even though I know it was best for him . . . what person wants to say, "Here. Take my beloved friend, inject him so he dies." Thanks for the article.
Feb 26, 2011 9:16pm
Melissanott, our dog Ginger was going to be 7 this year. Making that final decision is very difficult and though it pains us, it really is the best thing. We just have to know that they are in a better place now and that our pets forgive us for helping them in the only way we can when it's the end.
Apr 8, 2011 7:38am
It's true that some people really have a hard time understanding how we can be so upset over "just an animal". I've grown up always having dogs, one of them actually died in my arms on the way to be put down when I was about 12 years old...14 years later and thinking about her still has me on the verge of tears. People just don't "get it".
Apr 8, 2011 5:13pm
Michelledancer, I'm sorry to hear about your dog. Some people really just don't understand, but I take comfort in knowing that others like you understand how precious animals can be and sometimes even better friends. ;-)
Apr 8, 2011 7:17pm
We have lost several pets over the years, and each time it has really been hard. This is a very important subject to cover. Thanks for the article.
Apr 9, 2011 12:25am
Thank you, Deborah-Diane. We lost Ginger in February, shortly before I started here on InfoBarrel, so it's kind of special in a way for me.
Apr 10, 2011 6:38pm
Memories flowing back, it's been 2 years since my Great Dane passed. He was a big baby (185 pounds), but he always looked forward to me being with him and any of my attention, how could anyone discount the lose of that. Great article. Thanks for the memories. Love the pictures. Especially the one with the human prints next to the pet ones.(Loss of a pet)
Apr 11, 2011 12:04am
Lynsuz, I'm sorry to hear about your Great Dane. We now have a 150lb mastiff who is the biggest baby ever! The pic with the human and paw prints is one of my favorites that I found online. Thanks.
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