As with any bereavement the death of a much loved pet can be devastating and an enormous loss. To some the pet may have become a member of the family, a companion, a friend, - and if you were close to your pet it is normal to have the reactions to it's loss that you may experience in the death of a person i.e. shock, disbelief, numbness, anger, pain, hurt, sadness, guilt and overwhelming grief.
It can sometimes be hard for others to recognise the extent to which the loss of your beloved pet may be affecting you and it is not uncommon to hear 'it was only a dog' , 'you can easily get another one' etc. As with any bereavement it is important for you to have someone to talk to who does understand exactly how you are feeling and what the loss of your pet has meant to you.
It may be particularly difficult if you were in the position of having to have your pet put to sleep and that is a heartrending decision to have to make. However making that decision shows the enormous amount of love you had for your pet and the ability you had to put your pet's care and wellbeing before your own thoughts of loss. When a pet we love is ill and suffering, there is no other choice but making the decision to have their life ended with dignity and humanely to end any suffering and your pet would have understood that and the love that you showed him/her by making that decision.
Give yourself time to grieve and remember your pet in whichever way helps - talking, writing, looking at photos. Some people find in time that they want to get another pet but don't rush into this as you need time to come to terms with your loss otherwise it may be something you regret doing too quickly.
However, just as when we lose a person we love they would ultimately want us to move on with our lives and be as happy as we can - it is the same for the pet we have lost - they too would want us to move on, be happy, remember the good times with them and if it helps to have another pet they would be fine with that too. If you have a lot of love and caring to give to another pet and can give a good and loving home that would be a really good thing to do - when the time is right for you. Don't allow yourself to be pressured into having another pet until you are ready - if you are ready - that is your choice.
There is support for anyone whose pet has died or who has lost their pet in other ways. Please don't feel alone and isolated - there are people who understand and would like to be there to support you in whatever way they can.
Agencies who give support and information
Animal Samaritans Pet Bereavement Service: 020 8303 1859, www.animalsamaritans.org.uk
Association of Private Pet Cemeteries and Crematoria: 01252 844478, www.appcc.org.uk
Cats Protection Paws To Listen and Grief Support:
Confidential phone line providing emotional and practical support to owners experiencing the loss of a cat. While the volunteer listeners do not offer counselling, the team provides a supportive ear to callers struggling to cope with cat-related grief as well as providing information about topics such as euthanasia, burial and cremation.
EASE Pet Loss Support Services:
www.ease-animals.org.uk - offer a wide range of support resources, covering different aspects of grief in pet bereavement - free to download or view or listen to online: (Face-to-face support is available by arrangement in East Devon only)
A guide to caring for a pet after their owner has passed.
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