Pets are part of the family, and the bonds we forge with them are strong and unbreakable. They provide us with so much joy, companionship and unconditional love. So, when it’s time to say good-bye, coping with losing a pet is something that every family has to go through, together.
If you recently lost a cherished family pet, know, first of all, that it’s natural to feel overwhelmed. Having family around as a source of support can help each member go through this painful situation.
Coping With Losing A Pet: Here Are Tips You Can Do As A Family
Grief comes in many forms, and people grieve differently. Allow this in your home. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, a Swiss-American psychiatrist, developed the “stages of grief” — Denial-Anger-Bargaining-Depression-Acceptance. Make your home a safe place for each family member to go through each stage without judgement. The grieving process happens gradually; it can’t be hurried or forced.
Be Honest With your Children
Protecting your children’s feelings by telling them their pet simply went on holiday may seem to be the kindest thing to do. However, this can cause more confusion and heartache in the long run. Be honest with them, but explain the loss in a way they can understand. Have an age-appropriate discussion of the concept of passing away.
Honour Your Pet with a Ceremony
You can have a funeral service, view your pet’s photos and videos, or dedicate a space in your home where you can display their belongings. Whatever you choose, create something that celebrates your pet’s life and can offer a sense of closure.
Keep Other Pet’s Routine
Other pets in the home are also part of the family, and they may be grieving too. Watch out for the signs and offer support and keep their daily routine. Pets do well when they know what activity they should do next, particularly after a traumatic experience.
Reach Out For Support
Connect with family and friends and talk about your grief about losing your pet. You can also join support groups online where they have members who have gone through the same ordeal. Don’t hesitate to seek professional help, if you deem it necessary. If your grief starts to affect your ability to function, let doctors who specialise in this field give you advice.
Coping With Losing A Pet: The Key Is To Take Your Time
The passing of a beloved pet is truly heartbreaking for each family member. Coping with losing a pet should be done with support from one another. Be kind to yourself and take your time. Avoid judging other family members who may be taking a shorter or longer time than you to recover. Your home and your family should always be a place of love, support, care and healing.