The pain is indescribable. You know you’ll never feel whole again. You just want to curl into a ball or crawl into the nearest bed and cry for weeks.
Every moment of silence is like a stab in the gut. Every stray toy found under the furniture cuts away at your heart.
Losing a beloved pet is never easy, and no matter what we tell ourselves, you’re never really mentally prepared.
How can you cope? What are you supposed to do?
Strategies for dealing with loss
- Be kind to yourself. There’s no set pattern to mourning. There are no deadlines you must meet. Don’t push or rush anything!
- Realize your anguish is valid and real. Nobody has the right to belittle your suffering or tell you your best friend was “just an animal.”
- Create something in memory of your pet. Some people make scrapbooks or plant flowers in their garden. Some even donate to shelters or charities on behalf of their pet. Do what feels right to you.
- Don’t do anything hasty. As anxious as you might be to stop the hurting, you shouldn’t throw away anything until you’ve had time to heal and clear your mind.
- Know there will be things in your world that will always remind you of your pet. The sight of a claw mark on your favorite chair or a stray hair on your bedspread will bring sadness. Your grief will never fully go away, but with time, you might find yourself smiling when you discover something.
- Talk about it with someone. A neighbor, a friend, a family member… don’t be afraid to reach out to the people in your life. Check for local support groups, too. It really helps to know you’re not alone.
- Remember that nothing can replace your pet. If you choose to adopt another furry friend in the future, you’re not betraying them.
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