Our pets are an integral part of our families. Dealing with the loss of a pet is often a traumatic experience and it can leave our homes feeling empty. Grief is a very personal, individual process and there’s no right or wrong way to feel when coping with the loss of your pet. However, having said that, there are common questions we hear from bereft families time and time again, so here we’re answering your queries so you can feel comforted while you grieve.
- When will I feel better?
Grieving is not a straightforward process and there’s no timeline to follow. You might find that after a few hours, you can accept the loss of your pet. You may also find that you mourn your beloved animal for weeks, months, even years. It’s not uncommon for families to grieve their pets for many, many years, but over time the pain will recede and you’ll be able to remember your pet fondly. You might also find that while you feel better about the loss of your pet in a few days, you may feel very sad again in a few weeks time. This too is normal!
- Should I feel guilty for not feeling sad?
If you aren’t sad about your pet’s passing, you have no reason to feel guilty. If your pet has been in pain for a while or lived a long, happy life, you may take comfort in them being laid to rest. You might even feel relieved that your pet is no longer in pain. This, again, is completely normal. Not feeling sad does not mean you did not love your pet and that you won’t miss them dearly!
- Was euthanising my pet the right thing to do?
Pet owners can often question their decision to euthanise their pet. Simply put, if your pet was in pain, you did the right thing by ending their suffering. You shouldn’t feel guilty about laying your pet to rest and putting an end to their pain. It is a kind, compassionate thing to do. Your vet would not have allowed your pet to be euthanised unless it was the best option.
- Should I get another pet?
If you feel ready to get another pet and deal with their individual personality and needs, you should go ahead and get another pet. You might find it comforting to have a familiar figure near you again. However, you need to be certain that you are getting a new pet for the right reasons. Your new pet will likely come with some challenges and they won’t be able to fit straight into the void your bereaved pet has left behind.
- What should I do with my pet’s belongings?
You can choose to hold on to them for a little while if they bring you comfort. If the sight of them is too sad for you, you can either rid your house of them, or box them up to look at another time, when the pain isn’t so fresh. You may also want to have your pets soft items professionally dry cleaned if you want to put them away for safe keeping. You may also want to have household furnishings dry cleaned to remove the smell and constant reminder of your lost friend.
- What should I do with my pet’s remains?
Again, there’s no right or wrong answer. You can choose to have your pet cremated and leave the ashes for the vet to take care of, or you can choose to have the ashes returned to you. You can spread the ashes at their favourite site along their walk, or keep them in your home in an urn. You can also choose to bury your pet close to you.
- Is there anything I can do to commemorate my pet?
Yes, there are plenty of things you can do to commemorate your pet. You can keep a photo in a frame, keep one of their belongings in your home, or get a commemorative plate made up. We have some great memorial options here.
We hope you come to terms with your pet’s passing soon and you can remember the good times fondly. You may also find this website useful: www.pet-loss.net