Pets are not just animals to most of us, but part of the family. A pet is a loyal companion and forms a huge part of many peoples lives. Thinking about losing a pet can be almost unbearable, and when it does happen, an enormous shock. Pets provide fun, love and comfort throughout our lives, but the truth is that we are more than likely to out live them and will have to face coping with their death.
How Will I Feel When My Pet Dies?
Grief is different for everybody, and there are many possible emotions that you will experience following a pet passing away. Some people take longer to get over death than others, but is important to express your feelings straight away and allow yourself to grieve naturally. Here are some of the emotions you may feel in the grieving process:
Guilt – No matter how wonderful you were as an owner it is likely that you will feel guilt at some stage. You may feel partly responsible for your death, or maybe that you did not make the most of the time you had with your pet. These are normal feelings but over time you will come to realise that you did do the best for your pet.
Anger – You may be very angry at other people or at yourself. You may blame other people for your pets death, thinking the vet did not do enough to save your pets life. However this is usually a channel for your grief and not necessarily rational thoughts.
Depression – The loss of a pet can be overwhelming, especially if you do not have any other pets or close family around you. You may feel lonely and negative about the future. Getting professional help is essential if you suffer signs of depression.
Whatever you feel when your pet dies it is very important that you express your feelings to somebody. Talking to someone about your emotions can be very helpful, whether it is a friend or a professional counsellor. There is nothing to feel ashamed about when grieving for your pet, it is perfectly normal. Another method of expressing your grief is writing your feelings down in a diary, writing poetry or framing a photo of your pet.
Should I Get a New Pet Straight Away?
In most cases this is a bad idea. Getting a new pet may distract you and delay the process of grief, but it will come to you eventually. You may feel guilty later on for trying to replace your pet too quickly, particularly if you choose a similar looking pet to the one that has passed. This is why it is a good idea to wait until you have grieved for the pet you have lost, which may take months or even years. When you do decide to get a new pet, it is important to remember that you are not replacing your old pet and you will have a completely unique relationship with the new one. It does not take anything away from the relationship you did have with your old friend.