The Grieving Pet Owner

The loss of a pet can be devastating for many people. Pets are more than just animal companions. They are valued members of the family. Losing a beloved pet can leave us feeling lost and heartbroken.
Many people feel that they cannot grieve openly over the loss of a pet because others will think that they are just being silly. This is nonsense. Don’t let anyone tell you how you should feel. Grief is grief. It doesn’t matter whether the loss was a human loved one or a beloved animal. You are not being silly or childish. You have the right to grieve.
There are plenty of people who love their pets and there’s nothing wrong with that. The grieving process can take weeks, months or even longer. Everyone heals at his or her own pace. Give yourself time to grieve and heal properly. Grieving is part of the natural process following any loss. The amount of time a person takes to grieve is unique to the individual. People have varied emotions about adopting a new pet after they suffer the loss of an animal companion. There are some people who choose to adopt another pet soon after the loss of a long-time animal friend. They have plenty of love to give and feel another pet will help to fill the void in their hearts. Adopting another pet right away may help them to heal faster. There are people who may react in the exact opposite manner. Pet owners can be so devastated by the loss of their beloved companion that they don’t even want to think about getting another pet. Although they may feel that way at first, they usually have a change of heart once they begin to heal. After they have grieved for a sufficient period of time they will once again be ready to open their hearts and homes to another animal friend. It takes time to heal after the loss of a pet just as it does with humans. Everyone needs to heal in his or her own time and way. If you already have more than one pet when loss occurs, try not to withdraw from the other pet, as people sometimes tend to do. You don’t want to make him feel as if he’s done something wrong. Remember that he’s grieving too in his own way. By showing your other pet plenty of love and affection you help him to heal through the grieving process as well as yourself.

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  1. Thank you for addressing this topic. When my 16-year-old border collie died, I searched online, off-line, at libraries and animal organizations for something to read that addressed what I was going through (for the first time). I couldn’t find very much, and I wanted to read more, especially about personal experiences, coping strategies, what’s “normal,” etc.
    My border collie had been with me when I graduated college, lived on the Atlantic Coast and the Pacific where we played Frisbee and visited dog runs every day. He was even my navigator on our drove across the country–just the two of us. So, I’m now writing the article that I was looking for and including a list of other good ones that helped me process the experience.

  2. That’s true, we valued our pets just like our real family. It’s not always the same when your pets leave you.

  3. Several of my friends have had to deal with the loss of their beloved companions over the last few months. They have had to go through the same grieving process as any other person dealing with the loss of a best friend human or canine.

  4. I never realized just how hard it would be until I lost my great dane mix last week. He was one of my kids. We lost him very unexpectedly and it has devistated our whole family. At first I was totally against another dog but we actually went to a pet store this evening just to see how I would feel towards other dogs. There was one little girl that touched my heart. I feel that I do need another one to help me heal. I just need a cute cuddly something to snuggle up with. Now that my Hooch has passed that void is causing tons of heartache for me. It doesn’t help that we had him for 8 1/2 years and since we got him I have never slept alone. My husband is currently working out of town so I don’t even have him here to lean on. I think a new dog will help fill that lonely feeling. No dog could ever take the place of my Hooch but I can sure give it plenty of love.

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