How to cope with the loss of a pet?

Coping  with the death of a loved one is one of the most difficult situations in our lives, and the death of a pet is one of them.

Here are a few tips on how to accept and get through this difficult time of mourning.

First of all, it is important to know that the mourning process consists of several successive stages:

1- Denial

This is the phase when we reject, consciously or not, the death of the animal. One does not feel capable of mourning. Death is so hard to accept, that we don’t really believe in it. In order not to lock yourself in this phase, you have to get rid of your missing companion’s belongings. For example, you can keep a souvenir necklace and of course some photos. However, it is preferable not to keep the basket, toys or bowls. Indeed they will only revive the pain of the loss by seeing them every day.

2- Anger

A feeling of injustice pervades us. We feel responsible for the loss of our pet’s life. We then think back on all the negative things we may have said or done in his last moments, expressing regret. We have to overcome this stage of mourning by reassuring ourselves. We are in no way responsible for the death of our pet and it doesn’t blame us.

3- Bargaining

During this period, one is so anxious to find oneself without one’s faithful companion that one seeks to “negotiate” with an unreal entity to return to the time when the animal was still present and alive. This expression of negative emotions during this time of grief can lead to a strong feeling of despair.

4- Depression

This stage of mourning is still painful and difficult to go through, it is often characterized by a deep sadness, with a feeling of despair from which one will think he will never get out. Of course, this stage, like the previous ones and as hard as they are, are only temporary.

5- Acceptance

This phase makes the future brighter than it was in the previous stages. We start embracing and accepting the death of our animal and we begin to feel better. We manage to get out of the abyss of intense suffering, freeing ourselves from the pain of this loss and we finally manage to reorganize our daily life without our four-legged companion. Finally , we gradually get out of the mourning period.

There are several things that can help us get through this difficult period:

– Using a ritual to cope with the death and accept it.

In order to face the death of your animal and mourn it properly, it is strongly recommended to have recourse to one or more rituals. First of all, one must think about how we should proceed to dispose of the animal’s body, the burial ( reading what the law says) or cremation, where, when and how.

It is better to make this decision while the animal is still alive, in order to be more serene and “prepared” when the loss occurs. Beyond these “practical” aspects, it is a ritual act that will enable us to deal with the loss of the animal. But also to pay him a last tribute and say a final goodbye.

The ritual can refer to an action previously carried out with the animal such as a walk. It is purely private and must be decided upon by each person.

Choosing a beautiful urn, which reflects the affection you have for your animal, is a good way to carry out this ritual.

– Taking time for yourself

Our pets  arepart of our daily life. Many of our daily actions are paced according to them. The very close physical and emotional bond we have had with them is often abruptly broken after their death. It is therefore normal to feel confused and to feel an immense emptiness.

It is therefore necessary to readjust to daily life without your four-legged friend and to take time for yourself. Once this difficult period has passed , starting new activities can be a good idea. Sport, walks, art, a trip…

This will allow you to change your mind, to get some fresh air, to leave your grief behind and to resume your life in peace.

– Do not rush to adopt another animal

The question of “Taking back an animal” will come soon enough, but one should not be too hasty. When the deceased animal has been accompanied until its last breath, a process of “pre-mourning” has been carried out. It may therefore be easier to take an animal back afterwards.

Adopting a new animal too early could give it a ” patching ” role which would be extremely harmful. When the death of the animal has occurred suddenly, mourning will be all the more difficult. In both cases, it is preferable to wait and take your time before getting a new pet. When the time comes, it is preferable to take a pet that is physically different from the one you have just lost. A different breed, colour, gender.

To create a distance between the memories of your lost friend and the new memories related with the new pet, is a ncecessary step. Each situation is different and each person experiences mourning in their own way.

These tips are only some of the many possibilities for dealing with grief, everyone must first of all move forward according to their own feelings.