The loss of a beloved pet is difficult for many people — for some, the level of grief experienced is the same as losing a close family member. Reaching out to a support group is vital for recovery. This support group can be your friends and family or can be comprised of other pet owners who have experienced your grief. You may also want to reach out to a grief support professional that can help you work through your grief in a healthy manner. You shouldn't adopt another animal until you are completely finished with the grieving process, as it can sometimes cause you to feel as if you have betrayed your old pet and make the grieving process more difficult. If you've recently lost a companion animal, here are some actions you can take to help you through the grieving process.
Don't Rush the Grieving Process or Refuse to Reach Out for Support
Every person needs to deal with grief and bereavement on their own schedule. Don't attempt to rush the process by burying your feelings or acting strong by refusing to reach out support. You may find that friends and family do not understand what you are going through — finding a grief support network of pet owners who have gone through the same loss of a beloved animal companion gives you a group of like-minded people who have experienced the same grief that you are feeling.
You may be able to find in-person grief support meetings in your area for those who have recently lost their pets. You should also consider joining online grief support groups for pet owners. A good support structure aids in the grieving process by giving you the opportunity to discuss your feelings with other people who understand the grief that comes with losing a loved companion animal.
Contact a Grief Support Counselor
A professional grief support counselor is a great aid in the grieving process. He or she can provide you with literature to read on the subject, provide an open ear to your feelings and provide exercises to help you overcome your grief in a healthy manner. Look for a grief support counselor who is accustomed to helping pet owners overcome the bereavement associated with losing a close pet.
Memorialize Your Companion Animal
Holding memorial services for your animal companion helps with the grieving process by providing closure in an environment where you are surrounded by your friends and family. You can hold this service at your home or at a location that has a special meaning to both you and your pet. Another option is to bury your pet at a pet cemetery or memorial center. You'll always know where your companion animal was laid to rest and be able to visit the gravesite.
Cremation is another option that allows you to memorialize your pet in unique ways. You can purchase a memorial urn for your pet or memorial jewelry that can hold some of your pet's remains. This is a way to ensure that your beloved companion animal always remains with you.
One of the most important things to keep in mind when you are grieving is to make sure that you remain healthy and well throughout the process. Call a grief support specialist if your grief is severely interfering with your daily life or preventing you from sleeping at night so that you can learn techniques for healthy grieving.