By Betheny Buster, Chief Cuddle Officer

Our pets are more than just animals.  They are an integral part of our lives and become part of our family unit. Grieving The Loss Of A PetAnyone who has ever been owned by a pet (notice I didn’t say we own THEM) that has crossed the Rainbow Bridge knows that it never gets easier, no matter how many that we have lost. If you, or someone you know is suffering from the loss of a fur-kid, here are a few tips that you may use or share that can help:

Just like there is a grieving process for the loss of a person, the same holds true for the loss of a fur-kid. Allow yourself however long you need to grieve the loss of your companion, no matter how long it takes. It’s a personal experience that differs with each individual.  Take time off work. Spend some time alone.  Cry.  Do whatever it takes, for however long it takes and don’t feel guilty about it.

Talk About It
Talk about your feelings and memories.  Share them with friends and family, especially children. Make sure that your kids know that it’s ok to be sad.

Consider Your Other Pets
If you have other fur-kids, spending time with them can help you cope with your feelings and the pain you are experiencing. Studies show that pets grieve too! Comfort them and allow them to comfort you.

Celebrate Your Pets Life
Consider trying to turn a painful situation into a positive one by visiting places that you and your pet loved to visit together.  Channel your grief in a positive manner by considering volunteering at your local shelter or make a donation in your pets memory to your favorite charity. Some ways to memorialize your pet is to paint a portrait of your pet to hang on a wall in your home, write a poem about your pet, etc. Remembering your pet in these ways can help you overcome your feelings of loss and help you remember the good times you had with them.

In closing, don’t be embarrassed or afraid to grieve the loss of your fur-kid. Support can also come from friends and family who knew your pet and can help you hold on to the good memories. Consider reading Moira Allen’s Coping with Sorrow on the Loss of Your Pet. In a book filled with comfort, compassion and support, you’ll find the tools and tips you need to:

  • Understand the feelings you’re going through — and find ways to ease the pain
  • “Say good-bye” with memorials, tributes and other coping strategies
  • Help your children and other family members deal with their grief
  • Deal with people who “just don’t understand”
  • Help surviving pets cope with the loss of a missing companion
  • Come to terms with the guilt we so often feel when a pet dies
  • Handle the agonizing decision of euthanasia
  • Choose the best and most comforting “final resting place” for your pet
  • Determine when and how to bring a new companion into your home (how soon is too soon?)
  • Improve your chances of recovering a lost or stolen pet
  • Help a friend cope with loss