Losing a pet can be incredibly difficult and similar to losing a family member. Here are 10 expert tips to help you cope with the grief.
Your pet may have been part of your family for a long time, so mourning may take time. Accept it.
“Face your grief,” Sileo says. “When we deny it or put it on a shelf, we only delay the grief process.”Express it. “Cry, scream, pound a pillow, talk it out with someone,” he advises.
Do you feel guilty about your pet’s death? That’s common, says Janet Zimmerman, a Long Island, N.Y., licensed clinical social worker who offers pet loss counseling.
You’re hurting, so whom do you turn to for comfort? Your best friends and close family members are probably your first choice. But don’t be surprised if they say, “It was just a cat. Get over it
Through journaling, you can reminisce and [express] unfiltered thoughts and feelings,” he says. “It can contain pictures of your pet, memories of special places you visited and other mementos
Create a "Remembering Lucy" party to share memories and honor the bond with your pet, promoting a sense of control over emotions.
Create a memorial using your pet's cremated remains or keepsakes like hair to honor and express your love for them.
While memorials initially provide comfort, if they intensify your grief, consider putting them away. It's important to say goodbye and learn to let go, adjusting to life without your pet. Healing doesn't mean being disloyal.
Consider giving love to a shelter animal, but if you're not ready or find it difficult, that's normal. Respect your own grieving process.