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Pet Grief

It is often not until we lose a pet that we understand what it has been like for someone else to cry over the loss of an animal. The grief we feel over the loss of a beloved pet is as real as that we experience over the loss of a human. For some people it can be even more acute. It is through our pets that we often feel the love that we cannot find in others. A pet loves you unconditionally.

My tips:

  • Don’t expect to “get over it” quickly. You still have to mourn the loss of your pet.
  • Find ways to remember your pet- be it through a memorial or tribute, a post about your pet on social media. It all counts.
  • Often a pet can die in tragic circumstances, e.g. an accident or an illness, and we feel guilt that we could not have saved our pet. You must learn to forgive yourself. This takes time.
  • Don’t feel pressured to “replace” the pet with a new one. You need to wait and finish mourning the loss of your pet. Sometime in the future, when you are ready, you may be drawn to buying a new pet.
  • Children will need time to get over the loss of a pet. They may ask lots of questions about death and heaven for animals. Please see this page for further information.

In the following blog, my son Hamish interviews me about my childhood pets, and asks me questions about what happens when a pet dies.

In this video Caitlin Doughty explains how she gave her cat “a good death”. Warning, you may laugh and also cry.