Losing a pet is no different than losing a relative. Your pet has always made it their mission to fill you with love and they were always there for you. As difficult as it can be, it is still possible to heal yourself from the depression you will face after losing a pet by acknowledging the pain you are in as well as remembering the good times you had with them.
You may be trying to hide your grief from yourself and others in that you feel like it is not as if you lost a friend or a relative. But, the truth is that you have. You got this pet at a young age and took care of him or her through feeding, picking up after them, teaching them obedience, and were a great support system when you did not want to be alone. There is no reason to be ashamed of grieving for an animal as they played a big role in your life. Tell yourself that the tears, heartache, frustration, and grief you are feeling for the loss of your pet is real and reasonable. We also feel grief for them in that these pets provided us with unconditional love. We did not have to do anything to force them to love us, but they did it naturally which is a more common trait in animals than humans.
Everyone grieves in a different way just like when you are mourning a human. Some people prefer to be active and engage with other people who have felt with this kind of grieve before. Then, there are others who prefer to stay inside to work through their feelings. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. The important thing is to not hide your feelings as it is not healthy for you to keep them inside.
Do not allow anyone to tell you that it is wrong or unnatural to feel so sad over the death of your pet. You were the one caring for your pet and taking care of them so only you will know what is considered a reasonable way to grieve. Do not allow people to tell you when it is time to move on or get over it. The sadness will lessen over time and cannot be rushed. Do not feel embarrassed for showing compassion, being angry, crying, or even laughing when a joyous memory of your pet enters your mind.
Honor your pet by showing just how important they were to you. This can mean making a memorial by hanging a casting of their paw print somewhere in the house or planting a tree in their memory. You can make a photo or video scrapbook of all of the recorded memories you have of your pet so that you can look back on happier times whenever you feel sad. This legacy will help you not to further grieve your pet, but to celebrate the life they had with you and to thank them for filling your life with wonderful memories.
Remember that you are not the only person in the world who is grieving for their pet. Look for online message boards, pet loss hotlines at the ASPCA Pet Loss Hotline at 877-474-3310, and support groups. Do not spend too much of your time being around those who are not going to support you through this hard time. Be around those who will comfort you and understand the pain you are in. If you are around others who have lost their pets before, you can learn about how to cope with the pain and you will realize that you are not alone.
Grieving for your pet can make you feel emotionally drained and tired. You need to be able to take care of other people in your house such as your spouse, children, and other pets you may have. You also need to look after your own physical and emotional needs like eating and sleeping right as well as exercising. By being active in your life, you will release endorphins that will help boost your mood.
When you lose one pet, the other pets in your house are grieving as well as they were close with each other as well. When you are sad, your other pets will feed off of that sadness. Keep feeding, walking, and giving your other pets love and continue with this routine. By increasing the times you have go outside and play as well as the love you give them, everyone in the house will be happy knowing that there is still time for you all to make new, happy memories with each other.
Get Professional Help
Depression is when your sadness persistently interferes with your daily routine. If this is the case after the loss of your pet, you should think about receiving professional help from a therapist. The best way to cope with the loss of your pet is to smile when you think of them as they served a vital purpose in keeping you happy when they were alive. You do not need a “good” reason to be depressed, but to acknowledge the sadness you feel for your pet and to do something to cope with your grief.
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