Facing these feelings alone can seem overwhelming. But healing comes with talking, getting support, and dealing with your emotions — one moment at a time.
If you feel helpless, hopeless, have severe difficulty functioning or suicidal thoughts, get help immediately.
If you feel “stuck” in grief after two to three months, you may have a more complicated grief experience and may benefit from grief counseling to get through this difficult time.
Pet Bereavement Counselors: California
I love my dog… No wait, I love love love my doggy.
The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
– Author Unknown
Pets are part of the family, our relationship with them some of our closest and most rewarding experiences in life.
When your beloved pet dies, maybe representing the first (only?) time you’ve experienced unconditional love, their passing signals an important love bond is broken.
Contrary to the notion of being silly, the grief and mourning suffered are similar to the grieving loss of a person. Those intense feelings must be acknowledged in order to resolve them.
Pet loss can leave us dealing with a muddle of feelings: anxiety, sadness, and even guilt. Token gestures from others, “at least it wasn’t your husband/father/mother/child,” blur the right to be upset. Person or animal, it’s the significance of the relationship that matters.
You’re not crazy to be in pain during this time.
Given the role of a pet in our lives, the healthiest way to deal with loss is to give yourself the freedom to mourn. Burying these feelings can lead to future emotional disturbances.
Helping children mourn the loss of a pet
It’s helpful to find closure going through this process. You might consider:
- Planting a commemorative tree or flowers
- Hold a funeral or memorial service
- Create a scrapbook, remembering the good times spent with your pet.
Before choosing another pet
When you lose a pet, we recommend that you grieve first before getting another furry companion. Allow yourself the freedom to heal.
Also, when considering a new pet, keep this in mind — animals are unique, with their own personalities, so no animal can take the place of a lost pet.
Please be careful when choosing an animal strictly because it looks like the one who was lost. So many expectations will be placed on the new animal that disaster will be inevitable. Animal shelters are full of pets who did not meet someone’s expectations.
Ever wonder if you love animals “too much”
Here are seven warning signs to consider.
- Spend more money on your animal than yourself?
- Spend more time with them than your human friends?
- Enjoy your animals more than you do most people?
- Remodeled or bought a home because it would be better for your animals?
- Are you having trouble recovering from the loss of a pet?
- Are you asked, “Why do you waste your love on animals? Why not have a kids?”
- It’s hard sometimes to find people who can relate to animals like you.
If you answered “Yes” to any of the above questions, you are not alone, as there are correlations between how people treat pets compared to how they treat people.
So the “only an animal” rationalization is just that –a rationalization.
California Pet Loss Grief Counseling
Our therapists offer short term counseling through reflective listening, experiential exercises, cognitive therapy, and memorial ritual.
Through this process, the survivors are empowered to fully integrate the loss into their lives and move forward in a meaningful manner.