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Coping with the sudden or unexpected loss of a pet

Have you ever softly pet a purring cat while you sit quietly in a chair?

 or been welcomed home by the happy barks of your dog?

Then you know how much enjoyment pets can offer. 

Many of us in all parts of the world are fond of pets. We can understand how an animal can become a beloved companion, like a family member. The remarkable loyalty of our pets actually causes us to have stronger love and affection for them. Caring for our pet, as well as having its companionship, has aided us to overcome challenges and setbacks in our life.  As our affection for a pet deepens,  the grief and loss when our pet dies unexpectedly because of severe illness or perhaps is killed in an accident are heartbreaking. The shock of the loss may seem more than we can bear. We can even feel the pain for years. 

Sadness and grief are natural and normal reactions to death. Just as we grieve for our friends and loved ones, we grieve for our pets as well, but there are ways to cope efficiently. Here are a few suggestions  for you:

Be patient with yourself and acknowledge your feelings: Grief often lasts longer than people in general realize. Working through your grief and loss takes patience, for you may feel that you are on an emotional roller coaster. Remember that you do not have to be ashamed of your tears. Special pictures, daily routine, or even smells of your pets can trigger tears. Cry if you want to, it serves as an emotional release. Embrace the pain and trust the process you can surely overcome. 

Get in touch with your friends/others who have lost their pets: Many bereaved pet-parents have found that talking to a friend that you’ve shared the same experience with can be a helpful release. You too may find that putting your feelings into words and sharing them with a sympathetic listener will make it easier to deal with them. You can message a friend or reach out to pet loss hotlines, and pet loss counsellor support groups. They can surely help.

Get back into your regular routine: It may be difficult for you at first to get to work, go back to your daily habits, or handle other responsibilities. But you may find that the structure of your normal routine will do you a lot of good. Maintaining your physical and emotional well-being will help you cope with this difficult transition. Get enough sleep, eat healthily, spend time with people you care about and your other pets (if you have one), and exercise daily it can lift your mood.

Put up memorabilia as a token of remembrance: You can write a deeply mournful poem or song in which you can pour out your sorrow. You can create scrapbooks and put all the compilation of photos that you have with your pets. You can keep him/her tags along with giving him/her a proper memorial. You can purchase a beautiful Rainbowpaws Crystal Keepsake to hang by your pets favourite window and watch as it catches the sun and rainbow speckles fill the room. As you move on from losing your pet, remember the fun you had with it and the love you shared.

Do not be afraid to let go of acute grief: As strange as it may sound, some pet parents are afraid to let go of the intense grief that may be indicating their love for their pets is waning. That simply is not the case. Allowing yourself to let go of the pain allows you to cherish memories that you will always hold dear.

Remember! Grief does not last forever; it eventually dissipates. This is not to say that one fully “recovers” or forgets his or her beloved pets. Gradually, the sharp sting of grief and bereavement begins to subside. Certain memories of your pets may resurface unexpectedly or at certain times. But eventually, you will come to a point of emotional balance and you can focus once again on your life’s daily activities. Again, be patient with yourself. Take one day at a time, move at your own pace, and know that you do not have to live with the pain forever.