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Pet Loss

Pet Loss

For many, the loss of a pet can be a devastating thing.  They weren’t “just a dog,” or just an anything for that matter.  They were our friend.  They were a part of our family.  For many people, their pets are their children, and the loss can be very traumatic.  To make things worse, others may judge, or not understand why you’re so upset, why you’re missing work, or why you don’t just go get another pet.  This is what we often refer to as disenfranchised grief, which is a type of grief that social conventions may not acknowledge.  The truth of the matter, however, is that giving it a name doesn’t make it any less painful.  The bottom line is that pet loss is just as significant as any other loss.  That’s because grief is a reflection of the love, and if the love is real, the grief is real.  

With our pets, we’re responsible for their health.  We take care of them, feed them, and try to keep them safe, but sometimes despite our best efforts, things happen.  An accident could lead to a death you didn’t have time to prepare yourself for.  This isn’t to say that a prolonged passing is necessarily easier.  At times you may have given your pet 110% in their last days, taking care of their every need.  This can be especially draining as well.  Perhaps your pet didn’t die.  Maybe he or she was lost and you find yourself constantly worrying about them; wondering where they are, and if they’re safe.  This is a loss that must be grieved as well.

Whatever the case may be, you need to be allowed to grieve in your own way.  As we often say, “The way others feel about the way you should grieve is none of your business.”  Grief, as odd as this may sound is a gift that will help you heal in time if you allow it to do its job.  When you push it down, or deny the emotions, you’re only delaying the process.  

Experience your feelings without judging them.  Mourn the loss in your own way, and in your own time.  Sometimes when you’re having trouble moving forward, you may realize that when you think about your pet, you find yourself stuck on the ending.  It was so hard, and perhaps you had to make a painful decision you hoped you would never have to make.  This is common, but just realizing that’s what you’re doing can often help.  If this is the case, when you find this happening, just as if you had a camera, zoom out.  Reflect on all the wonderful times, and the good years, not just the ending. If you’re still having issues, you may find it helpful to talk to someone.  

If you or someone you know is having trouble dealing with a loss and would like to speak to talk, call my office at 469-225-9040, or contact us online for a free consultation.