Pet ownership is an extraordinarily common part of the human existence, and many people grow up with a family pet or own multiple pets throughout their lives. With so many people undertaking the responsibilities of pet ownership, the experience of pet loss is also a very common part of life.
How do you deal with the grief that comes with losing a family pet? The first step involves understanding grief and the emotions that may come with the grieving process.
Grieving after the loss of a pet is normal, and the emotions a pet owner will experience after the loss of a pet can mimic the emotions felt after the loss of a human family member. For many people, pets are like family and may offer daily comfort and joy for up to two decades. In the case of some pets (like parrots or turtles), the pet may be with the family for a lifetime.
The grief you may feel even if you adopted a senior pet who was only with you for a few years can feel absolutely crushing, and your feelings are valid whether you grieve for many weeks or even several months after your pet’s death.
The “five stages of grief” that are so commonly talked about in mental health circles will often be a part of the grieving process, but not all pet owners will experience every emotion with the same intensity. Emotions you may expect to feel include denial that the pet has passed and anger because of the loss, as well as depression or guilt.
If you’re aware of a medical issue that will shortly claim the life of your pet, the weeks or months before the expected loss can feel traumatizing. Will your pet’s suffering reach a point where euthanizing is the best answer? Is your pet’s advanced age something that will begin to keep you up at night?
1. Talk to someone. Don’t keep your feelings bottled up inside. Do you have a family member or dear friend in whom you can confide? A conversation with someone who will listen to you as you work through the grieving process can help you recover and move on after losing dog or cat.
2. Plan in advance. While it’s impossible to predict the death of a pet in some cases, illness and advanced age may mean you should take some time to prepare emotionally, as well as consider options like euthanasia if the pet is suffering, or pet cloning if you’re not ready to say goodbye.
3. Think carefully about the details. If your veterinarian recommends euthanasia, the decision can feel like the worst one you’ve ever had to make and the aftermath can last for months. Deciding carefully whether you’ll be in the room during the event can help with acceptance.
The first step in dealing with pet loss, even if you haven’t yet lost your pet, is accepting that it’s natural to experience strong feelings related to the love you feel for your cat or dog. A second step that may be something you wish to consider is pet cloning, which is a relatively new option for pet owners.
If pet cloning sounds like it might be a good option for you and your pet, don’t hesitate to give us a call today. ViaGen Pets can help you with meeting the challenge of losing a pet and continuing that relationship through pet cloning.