Everyone mourns the loss of a beloved animal in a different way. For many people, the mourning process is unexpectedly painful and long lasting. Many pet parents find the prospect of mourning an animal even more challenging than mourning the loss of another person. After many years spent in the company of a special animal, the idea of sharing your home with another pet might be difficult to think about. How do you know when you are ready to make this important step?
Identify Your Hesitation
Before deciding to adopt a new pet or not, try to get to the heart of your hesitation. What exactly is holding you back? Why precisely do you feel reluctant? These are some of the reasons that pet owners are hesitant about bringing home a new animal:
- They feel disloyal to the memory of the pet they have lost.
- The do not wish to replace the memory of their lost pet with the presence of a new one
- They do not want to open themselves to the experience of loss again
- They want to feel completely prepared to care for a new animal
- They are not certain they can find an animal they are compatible with
- They are concerned about the compatibility of a new animal and other pets already in the household
All of these feelings are very natural and should even be expected. Choosing to bring home a new animal is a complex decision and it should not be rushed into. At the same time, it is important to identify what your concerns actually are. If you wish, you can take steps to resolve these concerns with the help of a sympathetic friend or family member.
Keeping Animals in Your Life
People who have lost a pet may desire to have animals in their life but do not yet feel up to the responsibility of having one in their home. If you miss having the company of a special animal, you might consider spending time around four footed friends that have yet to find a forever home. Animal shelters, rescue groups, and other volunteer agencies are always in need of helping hands. Just a few hours a week can go a long way to providing animals with the care, affection, and socialization they need to stay happy and healthy. Even if you do not personally feel up to caring for one on a full time basis, every pet owner has the skills and love required to help animals waiting for their forever home. This small effort can be a great source of emotional comfort.
Participating in donation drives is another way to provide help and support for animals. Humane groups often hold supply drives around the holidays though they are likely to be in need of donations year round. Consider donating a few dollars, some bags of pet food, hygiene supplies, or even just old towels and blankets. You can also speak with a shelter worker to find out what supplies they have particular need of.
Pet parents have a lot of love to give but after losing a special animal, the idea of loving another can seem very painful. Even so, there are ways to keep animals in your life until you are ready to share your home again.