All Dogs Go To Heaven: Dealing With the Loss of a Pet

Pets truly are part of the family. They're as much loved, cherished as integral to the family unit as the humans- and so when you lose a pet, it's so much more than saying goodbye to an animal. It's saying goodbye to your family, your best friend in the world, some people even find it akin to the loss of a child. For people that don’t have a pet, they don’t quite “get it” in the sense they wonder how you can be so attached to an animal, and often feel a pet owners mourning process is unnecessarily intense. But pets are with us through so much, they represent a companion, a friend, a therapist, a pillow to cry into, and a guaranteed warm welcome each time you get home. Whether you've had to make the heart wrenching decision to go ahead with euthanasia, or quickly come to terms with a sudden tragic end to your pet’s life, it's never going to be easy. 

If your pet has been around for a long time, they will have been there for many different life experiences. They may have seen partners come and go, different homes, different jobs, and witnessed many friendships wither away as people get older and go their separate ways - yet, they are always there. In this sense, it’s important to acknowledge that the loss of a pet is incredibly challenging to deal with and you have every reason to be upset. In addition to the practicalities of what to do next, for instance, pet cremation services, you need to focus on your own recovery plan, as this is going to affect you deeply and it’s important you take care of yourself at this vulnerable time. Here are some steps to help you cope with your pet’s loss:

It might sound like a rather crass suggestion, but if you type in 'pet loss' on Pinterest there are all sorts of inspiring, soothing and empowering images to help you get through this difficult time. Sometimes it’s important to just feel “understood” in the sense that you’re not alone in this feeling and that what you feel is the same thing many others feel when their pet dies. Pinterest can be a good place to find lighthearted yet sensitive inspiration that can soothe your soul without being too prescriptive in terms of what you should be doing to heal.

Your pet will have been a large part of your normal everyday life, and as a result of their loss, you're going to have to adapt to a new kind of normal, as life without your pet, is going to look a little different. It’s going to take some time to get used to life without your pet as a lot of your habits and rituals, from going to the supermarket and buying their favourite food, to waking up each morning and take him for a walk, are going to change. This can feel like a void in itself, and particularly for dog owners that are used to walking their pet a few days a day, or taking your dog to work with you, it can affect your lifestyle.

The silence in your home after the death of your pet can feel extremely loud, as whilst your pet didn’t have conversations with you, their physical presence extended beyond “physical” it was emotional and spiritual and the new silence found within your home can make you home feel very empty and lonely, particularly if you live alone, it’s therefore important to accept this silence and understand that it’s a temporary feeling that will ease in time. The best thing you can do, therefore, is try to keep yourself busy and perhaps even consider taking a little holiday or a few nights at a friends house whilst you deal with the sharpest points of sadness… and not return home until you’re ready and the reality has settled in. You might also want to consider asking a trusted friend or relative to remove triggers, such as your pet’s bed, and put them safely somewhere you can access them when you want to - but that aren’t prominently on display.

No comments