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10 steps to deal with the loss of your pet

Sometimes special animals come into our lives and touch our hearts in a way that leaves us forever changed. A chapter ends when the family road they traveled together comes to an abrupt end. You are in unknown territory without a map. She lost. The world as you know it may look totally different.

Not everyone realizes that the bond between humans and their pets can be deeper than with a loved one. Some people tend to spend more time with their pets than with family members. Pets don’t judge or hurt us like humans do. The loss of his constant and unconditional love can leave us empty.
There is no better way to get over the loss of a beloved pet. The path through the complaint process is different for everyone. Here are some things I found helpful when I lost Maggie, my beautiful black Lab with whom I had the most precious of relationships:

1. Hold a ritual after your pet dies and invite friends and family who knew and loved your pet. Share stories about how your beloved animal enriched your life and other lives it touched. You can also create a memorial altar with a candle and your pets photo, along with other items that belong to you or remind you of your pet, such as their plate, special toys, and a lock of their hair.

2. Acknowledge that the grievance of losing a pet can run exceptionally deep, and honor that by giving your grievance the space to be. Allow your tears. Set aside quiet time each day when you can lessen the demands of the outside world. Write in your journal. Allow your pain to express itself and release.

3. Let in the compassion and understanding of supportive family, friends, and strangers.

4. Don’t be surprised if some family members or friends are not as understanding as you might hope. Give yourself a break from friends who don’t understand the depth of your grievance, who try to minimize your loss because you’re an animal instead of a human, or who have unrealistic expectations of you in this most vulnerable time.

5. Let people know if you need to talk about your lost pet. Many well-intentioned people may try to change the subject to make it easier for you, and you may need to let them know that it’s okay to talk about it.

6. Find a pet loss support group locally or online and use the national pet loss support hotlines.

7. Nurture yourself. Get a massage. Take nature walks. To meditate. Have lunch with a supportive friend. Do what feeds your soul.

8. Know yourself well enough to know if having a new pet at this time will help or hinder our complaint process. Some people do well to jump right in with a new dog or cat. Others may resent having a new animal in the house too quickly.

9. Help animals at your local humane society or get involved with the many breed rescue groups in your area. You can help ease your grief by allowing your lost animal’s love to become part of a larger purpose, such as helping and caring for homeless animals.

10. Try new things to discover more about yourself; those creative endeavors you have often considered but never tried.

We all have to face injury and loss eventually. It is one of the great equalizers of life. Let the death of your pet shake the foundation of who you are, as death often does. When we experience a loss, it can be a good time to let go of what no longer fits in your life; that it’s not you. In my case, after losing Maggie, I changed both personally and professionally. I hope that my steps on the path from loss to healing now can benefit you in your time of loss. As devastating as the loss of our beloved animals can be, this time can also be an excellent opportunity to examine our purpose in life and find new meaning.

©Reproduction permission granted with credit to the author.

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