When our pets pass away, for a lot of us it means we’ve lost a member of our family and sometimes even our only companion. It’s a really hard thing to have to go through and no two people deal with it in the same way.
The grief process goes through several stages, often beginning with a sense of disbelief and shock. You might find you often forget your pet is no longer there and your home might feel emptier without them.
This may be followed by pain, anger and depression. This is when you need the support of your friends and family so we’d definitely recommend talking to them about your feelings. The people around us can help a lot more in dealing with our grief rather than trying to face it all alone.
If you don’t feel you have anyone you can talk to about your grief and loss, you might want to think about using a counsellor or a local support organisation. If you’re really struggling, speak to your GP about how you’re feeling as they may be able to put you in touch with a bereavement councillor.
Getting through the loss of a pet is really hard and there’s no ‘right’ way to deal with your grief and no one way that works for everyone. We’d always recommend talking to someone about it to help you move forward to the final stage of acceptance. Try to remember all the happiness your pet brought you and the memories you have of them. You might want to have a funeral or memorial for them – you could even plant something in your garden to remember them by or put a photo up of them.
As with any loss, you may never feel truly ‘over’ your sadness but it will get easier with time. It’s important to get support when you need it and talk to people if you’re struggling to cope. You can read more about coping with the loss of a pet on our advice pages.