Pet Loss Anticipatory Counseling

If only we could live forever!

Unfortunately, when it's your time to say goodbye to your furry friend, we believe in providing them with a calm, peaceful crossing over the rainbow bridge.

All too often, many of us live in denial about saying that final goodbye. But please remember: you will say goodbye, you just don’t know when. We only have control of now.

Animals are often a mirror of their owners, so preparing yourself for the inevitable loss will not only ease their suffering, it will reduce the regret, guilt, and remorse you might suffer later. You can help your deserving pet to a “good” death without fear or hysteria.

The ESADoggy Therapeutic Team encourages and recommends preparatory counseling, done while your pet is still alive, and not until you're devastated over the predictable loss.

When dealing with anticipatory grief

  1. Anticipatory grief is normal. Feeling grief before a death is normal and allowed.
  2. Acknowledge your losses. People may say annoying things like, “at least your other dog is still here” that minimize what you are experiencing.
  3. Connect with others. Anticipatory grief is common among caregivers, but unfortunately when all your time is consumed with care giving, you may feel totally alone and isolated.
  4. Remember that anticipatory grief doesn’t mean you are giving up. As long as you are there for support, you are not giving up on your furry friend.
  5. Reflect on the remaining time. Consider how you and your animal companion will spend that time together.
  6. Communicate. We all grieve differently, and anticipatory grief is different for everyone.
  7. Take care of yourself. Way easier said than done!
  8. Say yes to counseling! So just say yes to counseling if you are feeling overwhelmed with the feelings of anticipatory grief.
  9. Relief is normal. When a pet dies there can be a sense of relief that is completely normal, but that can also create feelings of guilt.
  10. Don’t assume. Just because your loss was an anticipated loss, do not assume this will either speed up or slow down your grief after the death. We all grieve differently.

Courage to try new behaviors.

Seeking therapy can be a source of support, comfort, and even inspiration. Even if you have good support in your life, the loss of a pet can exhaust your energies and make you feel isolated. It may be hard to see beyond the current painful time, or imagine things can feel different.

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