LEAVING PAW PRINTS ON OUR HEARTS
It was asked of
me to write an article on the loss of our pets. This is a tough subject as this
can be a very painful time in our lives. It doesn't matter if we have had a pet
for just a few years or for many years, it is very difficult to deal with the
loss of your pet. When we bring pets into our lives, they are family. We provide
a loving, safe, and healthy environment for our pets who share everything with
us. It is normal, when we lose a pet, to feel intense pain and grief.
You can expect to feel guilt, denial, anger, and depression when you lose a pet.
These are all normal feelings that should be acknowledged and worked through.
Some people find it helpful to express their feelings and memories in poems,
stories, or letters to the pet. Other helpful tips including rearranging your
schedule to fill in the times you would have spent with your pet; preparing a
memorial such as a photo collage; and talking to others about your loss.
If you have children, it can be very difficult for them as well. They should be
told the truth as to the level of their understanding. If you say the pet was
"put to sleep," make sure your children understand the difference between death
and ordinary sleep. Never say the pet "went away," or your child may wonder what
he or she did to make it leave and wait in anguish for its return. That also
makes it harder for a child to accept a new pet. Make it clear that the pet will
not come back, but that it is happy and free of pain.
If you have other pets, they may grieve as well-especially if they formed a
strong bond amongst themselves. Make sure to give your other pets some extra
love and attention.
Be careful not to get a new pet right away. Allow yourself and your other family
members time to grieve. If you get a pet right away, you may resent the new pet.
Children feel disloyal to the previous pet.
For a brochure with more detail on the loss of a pet, please see us at Beastie
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