When you lose a pet

20 Keys to Heal After the Loss of a Pet | by Humane Goods

Losing a pet is one of the hardest things you may have to go through. Most of us have a strong bond with our animals and when one passes, it feels like we have lost a family member. In fact, research has shown that losing a pet is just as hard as losing a family member.

While it may seem that there’s no way out of the despair and depression, there are some things you can do to get on the path of healing and back to being fully present in your day-to-day life. If you’ve experienced the loss of a beloved pet, here are 20 keys to help you recover and heal.

Grief is tough to handle. It may seem like the best way to cope is to try and resist it, ignore it, or allow yourself to just shut-down completely. However, repressing and ignoring the event will lead to even more painful feelings in the future.

It’s best to allow yourself to go through the five stages of grief which are denial, anger, depression, bargaining, and acceptance. Despite what other people may tell you, feeling shocked and sad is perfectly acceptable and normal feelings after the loss of a beloved pet.

Many times, pet owners will blame themselves for the loss of their pet. You may be thinking “If only I had gotten my cat to the vet sooner…” or “If only I had double checked the door was shut before my dog got out…” You should expect to feel guilty, however, don’t blame yourself for the loss.

If you feel guilty, try not to think about death as an event as a whole, but individual parts. If you break down what happened step-by-step, you’ll find that you were not responsible. If something could have been done to prevent the death, you would have done it.

Just like a family member, a pet deserves to be memorialized and honored. Setting up a memorial for a pet is a great way to remember the love they shared during their life and help bring some closure to their passing.

There are many things you can do for a memorial. If you need an idea, Humane Goods is proud to have created special Rainbow Bridge Memorial Wind Chimes seen below.

These chimes have a beautiful ring to them and help capture the essence of the beautiful Rainbow Bridge legend about pets that leave us.

You can learn more about them on Amazon.com here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07G2Q1R94

It’s essential to understand that healing and recovery is an individual process. There isn’t a specific amount of time you need to get over a loss. Some people, for instance, can resume normal activities within a week or two. For others, it may take months for the pain to lessen.

Understand that grieving shouldn’t be rushed and don’t get frustrated at yourself if you’re still mourning weeks or months after the event.

Losing a family dog, cat, fish, or another animal can be very painful for young children, especially if this is their first experience with loss. That’s why it’s essential to address the issue directly with them, as well as provide comfort.

Use simple, clear words to describe what happened and try to put their emotions into words. Acknowledge that it’s OK to feel sad and even help them set-up or participate in a memorial. For example, you can find a beautiful poem about the loss of a pet and read it together to help bring closure to the event.

Dealing with loss is a very stressful process both mentally and physically. The pain is often so intense that it may seem that you have no energy for your regular activities and work.

However, it’s important to be proactive with your stress and emotions. Schedule some time away from work and put aside any stressful activities after the loss of a pet.

Don’t be afraid to carry a reduced load for multiple days or weeks. Pushing through the painful feelings and “grinding” on will only negatively impact your work performance and health.

If you’re unsure how exactly your pet died, don’t be afraid to speak to your trusted veterinarian and have an autopsy done. Knowing what caused the death of your pet, be it from poisoning, illness, disease, or something else can help bring closure to the event.

Also, this can help prevent any future losses and protect your other pets if you understand what happened.

Don’t try to wrestle with your grief and negative emotions alone.

One of the best ways to heal after the loss of a pet is to speak to others about it. It may seem embarrassing at first, but the truth is almost everyone has experienced the hurt from a loss at some point or another.

Reach out to other pet owners who have gone through the same situation. They may be your friends, neighbors, or even strangers from online pet-loss groups.

People in your support network can help get your life back on track by giving advice or even doing small favors in your time of need.

Although we have already discussed the importance of accepting your pet’s fate and allowing yourself to grieve, continuously dwelling on your lost pet is not healthy.

Think of an activity, especially something outside your home that is fun to do. This can be something as simple as going on a bike ride, getting ice cream, or going bowling. You can do this with a friend, family member, or even alone.

Doing this can help take your mind off your pet for a while and get some endorphins flowing to help uplift your mood.

One of the best, scientifically proven ways to feel better and get healthier is to exercise.

When you start exercising, your brain releases something called Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor, or BDNF which helps you feel at ease make makes things mentally clearer.

Your brain also releases endorphins, a chemical known to fight stress and lift your spirits.

The best part is, you don’t need to run a marathon or participate in a triathlon to get the benefits of endorphins and BDNF. A brisk walk can do wonders to lift your mood and help you start feeling better.

Chances are, your normal routine will become disrupted after the loss of your pet. This includes what and when you typically eat. When you usually would have prepared a healthy dinner, you might instead grab some fast food because you’re feeling tired and down.

Although the last thing you want to think about is eating healthy, according to many therapists this is the most important time to eat regular, nutritional foods filled with vitamins and minerals.

Eating on a regular schedule can help stabilize your mood, and eating a nutritious, balanced meal will give your body the energy it needs to mentally and physically deal with the situation at hand.

Most people report very disrupted sleep after the loss of a pet. Tossing and turning all night won’t help the situation and will only make you feel worse the day after.

Although you may have trouble falling and staying asleep after the loss of a pet, there are a few things you can do.

Make sure your bedroom is very dark without any lights to disrupt your sleep.
Turn down the temperature so the room is very cool as this improves sleep.
Avoid any blue light caused by computer and phone screens a few hours before bed.
Avoid caffeine or alcohol a few hours before bed.

After a traumatic event, it’s only natural for your head to be spinning and filled with stressful thoughts. That’s why you should consider taking up a calming practice such as meditation or listening to peaceful music.

Not only have countless studies shown the health benefits of meditation, but it will help put your mind at ease and may lessen the degree of sad, confusing, and hurtful thoughts that rush into your mind throughout the day.

Just because you lost one pet, doesn’t mean you should neglect or forget about your other pets.

Many people who own multiple pets have realized that after one passes, the other pets are emotionally affected as well. Not only should you make sure to keep up with their usual care routine, but consider spending some extra time with them. You both will benefit and help each other cope with the loss.

Sometimes when confronted with emotional turmoil, people may overreact and make poor decisions.

After your pet passes, you should refrain from making any important life decisions while experiencing emotional stress. This includes things like job changes, moving away or saying something to a friend or colleague you may later regret.

If you feel compelled to make significant life-changing decisions, it would be wise to consult with a therapist or trusted family member first.

Sometimes our habits, routines, and patterns can make it hard to overcome the loss of a pet.

For example, if every day at 12 pm you walked your dog, when 12 pm comes around you’ll be reminded of their passing. If you still have your pets water dishes, beds, or pet toys around the house, just seeing these can trigger painful memories.

That’s why it’s essential to establish new routines and habits. These are not meant to help forget your pet, but instead help yourself continue living a healthy, meaningful life.

Steps you can take include donating your pets paraphernalia to other animals that may need it such as to a local shelter. You can pick new activities to do in place of the ones you usually did with your pet.

Unfortunately, many people wrongly assume adopting a new, similar pet will help ease the pain and help them get back to their normal routine.

However, it’s important to realize that every pet is unique and irreplaceable. Rushing out to replace your pet will only mask the hurt on top of the stress a new animal brings.

Take some time to acknowledge, grieve, and reflect on your lost pet before adopting a new one.

Everyone has their timetable to deal with grief, but if you feel it is significantly interfering with your ability to function, consider seeing a professional therapist or doctor.

There’s nothing wrong with seeking a therapist for losing a loved one is a traumatic and stressful event for anyone.

Also, if you don’t have any friends or family you can talk to about your loss, talking to a therapist is a great idea.

If your pet was close to you, you’ll never be able to forget about them. However, you can influence how you choose to remember them.

Some people only remember the loss, hurt, and anger while others remember the fun, loving, and happy times.

To help remember and preserve the memories of the wonderful times you had together, take some time to reflect on the good moments you shared. Then, when you think view your pet’s memorial or think about them you’ll remember the good times you shared.

Your pet was one of a kind and can never be replaced. However, just because the loss of your pet was painful, doesn’t mean should never adopt another pet again.

In fact, after speaking with many people who have lost a pet, they commented that one of the best ways to help move on was to honor the lost pet’s memory by adopting a new pet in need.

The truth is, there are millions of homeless cats and dogs that will be put down this year simply because they can’t find a home.

When the healing is done, adopting another from a homeless shelter may be a winning situation for all.

Coping with Losing a Pet

grief & loss

It’s natural to feel devastated by feelings of grief and sadness when a beloved dog, cat, or other pet dies.

These tips can help you cope.

Why does the loss of a pet hurt so much?

Many of us share an intense love and bond with our animal companions. For us, a pet is not “just a dog” or “just a cat,” but rather a beloved member of our family, bringing companionship, fun, and joy to our lives. A pet can add structure to your day, keep you active and social, help you to overcome setbacks and challenges in life, and even provide a sense of meaning or purpose. So, when a cherished pet dies, it’s normal to feel racked by grief and loss.

The pain of loss can often feel overwhelming and trigger all sorts of painful and difficult emotions. While some people may not understand the depth of feeling you had for your pet, you should never feel guilty or ashamed about grieving for an animal friend.

While we all respond to loss differently, the level of grief you experience will often depend on factors such as your age and personality, the age of your pet, and the circumstances of their death. Generally, the more significant your pet was to you, the more intense the emotional pain you’ll feel.

The role the animal played in your life can also have an impact. For example, if your pet was a working dog, service animal, or therapy animal, you’ll not only be grieving the loss of a companion but also the loss of a coworker, the loss of your independence, or the loss of emotional support. If you lived alone and the pet was your only companion, coming to terms with their loss can be even harder. And if you were unable to afford expensive veterinary treatment to prolong your pet’s life, you may even feel a profound sense of guilt.

While experiencing loss is an inevitable part of owning a pet, there are healthy ways to cope with the pain, come to terms with your grief, and when the time is right, perhaps even open your heart to another animal companion.

With over 25,000 licensed counselors, BetterHelp has a therapist that fits your needs. It's easy, affordable, and convenient.


Online-Therapy.com is a complete toolbox of support, when you need it, on your schedule. It only takes a few minutes to sign up.


Teen Counseling is an online therapy service for teens and young adults. Connect with your counselor by video, phone, or chat.


The grieving process after the loss of a pet

Grieving is a highly individual experience. Some people find grief following the loss of a pet comes in stages, where they experience different feelings such as denial, anger, guilt, depression, and eventually acceptance and resolution. Others find that their grief is more cyclical, coming in waves, or a series of highs and lows. The lows are likely to be deeper and longer at the beginning and then gradually become shorter and less intense as time goes by. Still, even years after a loss, a sight, a sound, or a special anniversary can spark memories that trigger a strong sense of grief.

The grieving process happens only gradually.  It can't be forced or hurried—and there is no “normal” timetable for grieving. Some people start to feel better in weeks or months. For others, the grieving process is measured in years. Whatever your grief experience, it's important to be patient with yourself and allow the process to naturally unfold.

Feeling sad, shocked, or lonely is a normal reaction to the loss of a beloved pet. Exhibiting these feelings doesn't mean you are weak or your feelings are somehow misplaced. It just means that you're mourning the loss of an animal you loved, so you shouldn't feel ashamed.

Trying to ignore your pain or keep it from surfacing will only make it worse in the long run. For real healing, it is necessary to face your grief and actively deal with it. By expressing your grief, you'll likely need less time to heal than if you withhold or “bottle up” your feelings. Write about your feelings and talk about them with others who are sympathetic to your loss.

Coping with the grief of pet loss

Sorrow and grief are normal and natural responses to death. Like grief for our friends and loved ones, grief for our animal companions can only be dealt with over time, but there are healthy ways to cope with the pain. Here are some suggestions:

Don't let anyone tell you how to feel, and don't tell yourself how to feel either. Your grief is your own, and no one else can tell you when it's time to “move on” or “get over it.” Let yourself feel whatever you feel without embarrassment or judgment. It's okay to be angry, to cry or not to cry. It's also okay to laugh, to find moments of joy, and to let go when you're ready.

Reach out to others who have lost pets. Check out online message boards, pet loss hotlines, and pet loss support groups—see the Resources section below for details. If your own friends and family members are not sympathetic about pet loss, find someone who is. Often, another person who has also experienced the loss of a beloved pet may better understand what you're going through.

Rituals can help healing. A funeral can help you and your family members openly express your feelings. Ignore people who think it's inappropriate to hold a funeral for a pet, and do what feels right for you.

Create a legacy. Preparing a memorial, planting a tree in memory of your pet, compiling a photo album or scrapbook, or otherwise sharing the memories you enjoyed with your pet, can create a legacy to celebrate the life of your animal companion. Remembering the fun and love you shared with your pet can help you to eventually move on.

Look after yourself. The stress of losing a pet can quickly deplete your energy and emotional reserves. Looking after your physical and emotional needs will help you get through this difficult time. Spend time face to face with people who care about you, eat a healthy diet, get plenty of sleep, and exercise regularly to release endorphins and help boost your mood.

If you have other pets, try to maintain your normal routine.  Surviving pets can also experience loss when a pet dies, or they may become distressed by your sorrow. Maintaining their daily routines, or even increasing exercise and play times, will not only benefit the surviving pets but can also help to elevate your mood and outlook, too.

Seek professional help if you need it. If your grief is persistent and interferes with your ability to function, your doctor or a mental health professional can evaluate you for depression.

Dealing with the loss of a pet when others devalue your loss

One aspect that can make grieving for the loss of a pet so difficult is that pet loss is not appreciated by everyone. Some friends and family may say, “What's the big deal? It's just a pet!” Some people assume that pet loss shouldn't hurt as much as human loss, or that it is somehow inappropriate to grieve for an animal. They may not understand because they don't have a pet of their own or are unable to appreciate the companionship and love that a pet can provide.

  • Don't argue with others about whether your grief is appropriate or not.
  • Accept the fact that the best support for your grief may come from outside your usual circle of friends and family members.
  • Seek out others who have lost pets; those who can appreciate the magnitude of your loss, and may be able to suggest ways of getting through the grieving process.

Tips for seniors grieving the death of a pet

As we age, we experience an increasing number of major life changes, including the loss of beloved friends, family members, and pets. The death of a pet can hit retired seniors even harder than younger adults who may be able to draw on the comfort of a close family, or distract themselves with the routine of work. If you're an older adult living alone, your pet was probably your sole companion, and taking care of the animal provided you with a sense of purpose and self-worth.

Stay connected with friends. Pets, dogs especially, can help seniors meet new people or regularly connect with friends and neighbors while out on a walk or in the dog park. Having lost your pet, it's important that you don't now spend day after day alone. Try to spend time with at least one person every day. Regular face-to-face contact can help you ward off depression and stay positive. Call up an old friend or neighbor for a lunch date or join a club.

Boost your vitality with exercise. Pets help many older adults stay active and playful, which can boost your immune system and increase your energy. It's important to keep up your activity levels after the loss of your pet. Check with your doctor before starting an exercise program and then find an activity that you enjoy. Exercising in a group—by playing a sport such as tennis or golf, or taking an exercise or swimming class—can also help you connect with others.

Try to find new meaning and joy in life. Caring for a pet previously occupied your time and boosted your morale and optimism. Try to fill that time by volunteering, picking up a long-neglected hobby, taking a class, helping friends, rescue groups, or homeless shelters care for their animals, or even by getting another pet when the time feels right.

Helping children grieve the loss of a pet

The loss of a pet may be your child's first experience of death—and your first opportunity to teach them about coping with the grief and pain that inevitably accompanies the joy of loving another living creature. Losing a pet can be a traumatic experience for any child. Many kids love their pets very deeply and some may not even remember a time in their life when the pet wasn't around. A child may feel angry and blame themselves—or you—for the pet's death. A child may feel scared that other people or animals they love may also leave them. How you handle the grieving process can determine whether the experience has a positive or negative effect on your child's personal development.

Some parents feel they should try to shield their children from the sadness of losing a pet by either not talking about the pet's death, or by not being honest about what's happened. Pretending the animal ran away, or “went to sleep,” for example, can leave a child feeling even more confused, frightened, and betrayed when they finally learn the truth. It's far better to be honest with children and allow them the opportunity to grieve in their own way.

Let your child see you express your own grief at the loss of the pet. If you don't experience the same sense of loss as your child, respect their grief and let them express their feelings openly, without making them feel ashamed or guilty. Children should feel proud that they have so much compassion and care deeply about their animal companions.

Reassure your child that they weren't responsible for the pet's death. The death of a pet can raise a lot of questions and fears in a child. You may need to reassure your child that you, their parents, are not also likely to die. It's important to talk about all their feelings and concerns.

Involve your child in the dying process. If you've chosen euthanasia for your pet, be honest with your child. Explain why the choice is necessary and give the child chance to spend some special time with the pet and say goodbye in their own way.

If possible, give the child an opportunity to create a memento of the pet. This could be a special photograph, or a plaster cast of the animal's paw print, for example.

Allow the child to be involved in any memorial service, if they desire. Holding a funeral or creating a memorial for the pet can help your child express their feelings openly and help process the loss.

Do not rush out to get the child a “replacement pet” before they've had a chance to grieve the loss they feel. Your child may feel disloyal, or you could send the message that the grief and sadness felt when something dies can simply be overcome by buying a replacement.

Making the decision to put a pet to sleep

Deciding to put your animal companion to sleep is one of the most difficult decisions you will ever have to make for your pet. As a loving pet owner, though, the time may come when you need to help your pet make the transition from life to death, with the help of your veterinarian, in as painless and peaceful a way as possible.

Knowing when it's time to put a pet to sleep

Euthanasia for a beloved pet is highly personal decision and usually comes after a diagnosis of a terminal illness and with the knowledge that the animal is suffering badly. Your choices for your pet should be informed by the care and love you feel for the animal. Important things to consider include:

Activity level. Does your pet still enjoy previously loved activities or are they able to be active at all?

Response to care and affection. Does your pet still interact and respond to love and care in the usual ways?

Amount of pain and suffering. Is your pet experiencing pain and suffering which outweigh any pleasure and enjoyment in life?

Terminal illness or critical injury. Have illness or injury prohibited your pet from enjoying life? Is your pet facing certain death from the injury or illness?

Your family's feelings. Is your family unanimous in the decision? If not, and you still feel it is the best thing for your pet, can you live with the decision that you have to make?

If you do decide that ending the suffering is in your pet's best interest, take your time to create a process that is as peaceful as possible for you, your pet, and your family. You may want to have a last day at home with the pet in order to say goodbye, or to visit the pet at the animal hospital. You can also choose to be present during your pet's euthanasia, or to say goodbye beforehand and remain in the veterinary waiting room or at home. This is an individual decision for each member of the family.

What to expect when putting your pet to sleep

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, euthanasia for a pet is most often achieved by injection of a death-inducing drug. The veterinarian may administer a tranquilizer first to relax your pet. Following the injection of the euthanasia drug, your pet will immediately become unconscious. Death is quick and painless. Your pet may move its legs or breathe deeply several times after the drug is given, but these are reflexes and don't mean that your pet is in pain or is suffering.

How to explain pet euthanasia to a child

Be honest. Start by explaining that your pet is ill, suffering badly, and that you have the ability to end that suffering in a very humane and gentle way. The injection is a very peaceful and painless process for your pet. Sometimes, when you really love a pet, you have to make these kinds of difficult decisions to spare the animal from more pain and suffering.

  • Children tend to feed off of how their parents react. If you're hysterical or feel it's the wrong decision, your child will likely react in a similar way. If you're sad, and deal with that sadness in a healthy way, your child will follow your example.
  • As long as you're putting your beloved pet to sleep for the right reasons, tell your children that it is OK to feel sad, but there's no need to feel guilty. You should feel sad, and your children can feel the sadness, but don't mix guilt in with the sadness. One emotion is healthy, the other terribly burdensome.

Getting another dog or cat after pet loss

There are many wonderful reasons to once again share your life with a companion animal, but the decision of when to do so is a very personal one. It may be tempting to rush out and fill the void left by your pet's death by immediately getting another pet. In most cases, it's best to mourn the old pet first, and wait until you're emotionally ready to open your heart and your home to a new animal. You may want to start by volunteering at a shelter or rescue group. Spending time caring for pets in need is not only great for the animals, but can help you decide if you're ready to own a new pet.

Some retired seniors living alone may find it hardest to adjust to life without a pet. If taking care of an animal provided you with a sense of purpose and self-worth as well as companionship, you may want to consider getting another pet at an earlier stage. Of course, seniors also need to consider their own health and life expectancy when deciding on a new pet. Again, volunteering to help pets in need can be a good way to decide if you're ready to become a pet owner again.

Authors: Lawrence Robinson, Jeanne Segal, Ph.D., and Robert Segal, M. A.

      • References

        Depressive Disorders.(2013). In Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. American Psychiatric Association. https://doi.org/10.1176/appi.books.9780890425787.x04_Depressive_Disorders

        Zisook, S., & Shear, K. (2009). Grief and bereavement: What psychiatrists need to know. World Psychiatry, 8(2), 67–74. https://doi.org/10.1002/j.2051-5545.2009.tb00217.x

        Stroebe, M., Schut, H., & Stroebe, W. (2007). Health outcomes of bereavement. The Lancet, 370(9603), 1960–1973. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(07)61816-9

        Simon, N. M., Wall, M. M., Keshaviah, A., Dryman, M. T., LeBlanc, N. J., & Shear, M. K. (2011). Informing the symptom profile of complicated grief. Depression and Anxiety, 28(2), 118–126. https://doi.org/10.1002/da.20775

        Corr, C. A. (1999). Enhancing the Concept of Disenfranchised Grief. OMEGA – Journal of Death and Dying, 38(1), 1–20. https://doi.org/10.2190/LD26-42A6-1EAV-3MDN

        Cleary, Michelle, Sancia West, Deependra K. Thapa, Mark Westman, Kristina Vesk, and Rachel Kornhaber. “Grieving the Loss of a Pet: A Qualitative Systematic Review.” Death Studies 0, no. 0 (April 21, 2021): 1–12. https://doi.org/10.1080/07481187.2021.1901799

        Cordaro, Millie. “Pet Loss and Disenfranchised Grief: Implications for Mental Health Counseling Practice.” Journal of Mental Health Counseling 34, no. 4 (September 24, 2013): 283–94. https://doi.org/10.17744/mehc.34.4.41q0248450t98072

      Coping With Death of Pet – Understanding pet loss grief and how to cope with the pain and sadness. (Recover-from-grief.com)

      End of Life Care – Coping with the impending loss of a pet. (ASPCA)

      Coping With the Death of Your Pet – Tips on how to cope when it's time to say goodbye to a beloved pet. (The Humane Society of the United States)

      Euthanasia of a Beloved Pet – Better understand and deal with euthanasia. (The Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement)

      How to Walk a Shelter Pet – Article about walking shelter dogs. Also offers a directory of shelters and rescue groups in the U.S. where you can volunteer to help care for cats and dogs. (Petfinder)

      Helplines and support

      In the U.S.: Call the ASPCA Pet Loss Hotline at 877-474-3310

      In the UK: Call the Pet Bereavement Support Service at 0800 096 6606.

      In other countries: Visit Chance's Spot to find support near you.

      Last updated: December 5, 2022

      advice and recommendations from veterinarians

      ← Back to the blog

      In this article we will touch on a difficult question. How to deal with the loss of an animal?

      Losing pets is hard. We live with them a lot of emotions, they become our true friends, family members, we care about them and love them. A strong bond is formed between man and animal. This is why the loss of a pet is so hard.

      Below we will tell you about the stages of living with grief, so that you understand what happens to a person in the process of loss and advise on how to survive the loss yourself or help another.

      Stages of grief:

      Shock. A state of numbness, lack of reaction to strong stimuli (they shout at you, but you do not hear), lack of emotional reactions.

      ⠀• At this stage, all you can do for yourself or for another is to be near or in contact with yourself. After a while, the owner of the pet will come to his senses, and the presence of someone who can help will be important to him. The result of living this stage is the recognition of what happened: this could really happen. It will take a long time before the full acceptance of the fact of death.

      Negation. "This couldn't happen."

      At this stage, you will be waiting for the pet to come running to the door when you get home. You can habitually put food in his bowl or go to the cage to pet the rodent. If the animal died in the clinic, you will wait for the doctor's call that the pet has woken up. But every time you will face the inevitable reality - the pet is no more.

      • From now on, it is important to support yourself: cry, scream, experience emotions and feelings as you feel comfortable. You need a lot of energy and strength to live through the loss, give them to yourself. Be attentive to the environment: if they say “this is nonsense, just a hamster, we will buy a new cat”, etc. better limit communication with these people for a while. That kind of support won't help.

      • If you want to support a loved one at the time of the loss of an animal, just be there. Speak out the person’s emotions (yes, you are in unbearable pain right now), provide a supportive environment.

      Most importantly, do not devalue feelings and do not offer to "make sure" of death (look, he died), so you will not do better.


      ⠀ At this stage, in addition to grief, pain and sadness, anger also appears: At oneself, doctors, relatives and anyone who was involved in the life of an animal. It is important to remember that this anger is not real. More often than not, we cannot pinpoint who is responsible for the death of an animal (yes, there are exceptions). This anger is about general anger at the situation, at injustice. It's about your pain and despair.

      ⠀• Help yourself to be angry. But remember that looking for someone to blame will lead to nothing but quarrels. And if you help another to survive the loss, contain his anger: “Yes, you are angry now, I understand you, I am near and hear everything.”


      This stage is characterized by unemotional living. When there is no more strength to cry, get angry, scream. You simply exist. But inside you are still hurt and sad.

      ⠀• It is important to live this state and stay in it. Don't rush yourself, give yourself as much time as you need.


      Acceptance and awareness of the fact that the pet is no more. Getting used to a new life without him. At this stage, you will already be able to remember your pet without much pain. You will have bright memories of a friend, of those pleasant feelings that you experienced while living together.

      Things to remember:

      We can overcome grief.

      Give yourself time.

      Your experiences are important.

      ⠀ If you can’t cope on your own, seek help from a specialist, this is a normal practice. you will not be judged.

      Do not forget about sleep, food and physical activity.

      Support the body so that you have the strength to support yourself.

      To help everyone who is faced with the loss of a pet, there is a wonderful children's book "Farewell, Mr. Muffin." Even if you are an adult, or you need to tell a child about the death of an animal, this book will help you find the right words or support you a little in coping with grief.


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      My pet died - how to cope with the loss?

      Sorrow is one of the things that makes us human. This is a natural reaction, and if the death of a beloved animal hurts you and takes you by surprise, don't be afraid to admit it to yourself. Such experiences are deeply personal and very important experiences, and therefore no psychologist has a universal recipe for how to deal with them. But there are some tips for this.

      Fill the void

      The death of a pet always leaves a hole in the routine, leaving a void in place of an important emotional connection. The time that you spent communicating with your pet now needs to be filled with something. Try to remember those happy moments that you managed to experience with the animal. This can be done by building something like a memorial, virtual (photos and videos) or physical (favorite toys, leash, etc.). It is unlikely that they should be constantly in your sight: your goal is to preserve memories, and not hurt yourself with constant reminders of death. The same should be kept in mind if, for example, you decide to set aside one day a year and dedicate it to a pet that has left you. Let this not be the anniversary of death, but a day with which you have a joyful memory.

      Share with loved ones

      It has not been noticed yesterday that it is easier to share pain than to experience it alone. Be with those who took care of your pet along with you. Feel free to cry in their presence. They need to understand you, and honesty is the best key to understanding in such situations.

      Don't blame yourself

      Even if the animal died of natural causes, it can be difficult to get rid of the obsessive guilt that you did not do something to make the pet's life longer and happier. Guilt has a million faces, psychological trauma can manifest itself in different ways, but most often it comes down to the question: "What would happen if ...". You may consider that you turned to the veterinarian for help too late, or you may consider that the animal has healed. If the pet was euthanized, it may seem to you that you were in a hurry, or, conversely, that you tortured him for too long. You can go over dozens of reasons in your head how you could have avoided the accident. Finally, when you have overcome the crisis, you may feel that you are not worried enough about the death of a pet. At such moments, it is important to realize that all these are normal psychological reactions, not to be ashamed of them and try to overcome them in the circle of loved ones or with the help of a psychologist (especially in cases where the feeling of loss turns out to be a projection of a deeper and more ancient grief).


      The question that owners almost always ask themselves after the death of a pet is whether or not to get a new pet.

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