Pet Loss – Learning How to Cope

pet lossPet loss can be devastating, tragic and very traumatic. It is because for most people, a dog or a cat has been embraced as a part of the family. The loss can be very, very significant and the grief so intense.

Understanding the Impact of Pet Loss
No one will be able to explain how painful it can be. But there are factors that can help in determining how much the pet means to the grieving child or to the entire family. The owners’ ages and personalities, the pet’s age and the circumstances attending the pet’s death are some of these factors.

Coming to terms with this loss may be more difficult if the pet has been useful to the owner. For instance, a pet that has been a lot of help can be very hard to lose as the owner may feel he is not only losing a companion but also his independence. And it’s harder when the pet was made to become a companion because of someone’s illness.

Coping Strategies for Pet Loss
While the grieving process comes naturally, it should end somewhere and hopefully soon. We cannot terminate it at will, so we have to understand and give grievers time to overcome their feeling of guilt, or anger, or denial or depression. The important thing is we give them all the support that they need.

Seeking Support
It isn’t going to be alright the next day so you’ll have to seek enough support. Do not be ashamed of how you feel, or think that you are a weak person. Your reaction to the loss is normal and that happens to everyone who loves truly. Do not ignore it. Face it with a brave heart. Talk to people about it.

Do not live alone or try to distance yourself from relatives and friends. Spend a week’s vacation in a friend’s house or do your shopping more often. Life has to go on.

Euthanasia Decisions
Pet euthanasia decisions are hard decisions. We are torn inside, torn between two choices – to allow the pet to live in pain or to bear the pain of losing him. Consider the following factors to help you decide: activity level (Is he still active?), response to affection and caring (Does he have the capacity to respond?), how much pain he is going through (Can you still bear looking at him in this condition?), terminality of illness (Is there hope for him to recuperate and live a fruitful life?) and your family’s approval (Is it a unanimous decision among all family members?).

Should you decide to go for it, you have two options: either let him sleep on your lap or wait for the vet to hand his body over to you. Either way, you need to be strong.

Pet Loss by Euthanasia: Explaining This to Your Child
Explain the pet’s illness and that you have the power to end his suffering in a gentle way. Tell him that it is a simple, painless injection and it is a very peaceful one.

• Don’t be hysterical. Your children will feel the same.
• Show sadness, but make it healthy and in a thoughtful manner.
• Do not feel guilty and make children feel that you are not.
• Don’t mix sadness and guilt. One emotion is terribly burdensome, the other is healthy.

For more information about Pet Loss, check out the highly recommended Life After Losing Your Pet today!

All the best.

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