Pet Loss: Grief Support & Pet Remembrance

by Mary Haight on October 5, 2015

hidbannerad_250x250This post is sponsored by All thoughts are my own. While I have received compensation for this post, I don’t write about or suggest products I wouldn’t use myself.

Loving another species, sharing your home and life with them is a special gift. It is, if we are properly tuned in, a many years long lesson in what it means to be human. Pets have a way of showing us our strengths and weaknesses.

From the time we bring pets home to their senior years, we teach them to make safer choices (chew, scratch, nibble this, not that), play nice with their friends and ours, find activities that make them happy and confident (without destroying anything), enjoy the good days and hope for few of the bad.

While there are always moments of chaos and more than a few examples of heart failure they nearly caused, without doubt we love our pets. They become so much more than that sweet bundle of furry kisses we first encounter. Pets are silent witnesses to our daily lives, the keepers of our secrets, and are wonderful listeners, ready to share a toy or a snuggle to cheer you up.

It’s the memory of those crazy moments of upheaval – the chicken stolen from the counter and the not-so-merry chase around the kitchen island – that make you laugh the loudest when as seniors they’ve lost the agility needed to get away with it, and then make you cry the most when they’re gone.

Grief Support

Memorial websites and virtual pet loss support groups are easy to find. Fee-based bereavement counselors are likely available in your hometown, and your vet may be able to recommend someone.

Free hot-line grief counseling is available from trusted sources, such as Universities with veterinary programs, and the ASPCA if you find it too much to bear alone. There’s also an Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement online.

While this may be one of the first deaths we experience as children, it does not mean it gets easier because you’re an adult.

“In his grief over the loss of a dog, a little boy stands for the first time on tiptoe, peering into the rueful morrow of manhood. After this most inconsolable of sorrows there is nothing life can do to him that he will not be able somehow to bear.” – James Thurber

If you need grief support, don’t hesitate to pick up the phone. Denying or keeping it secret only leads to problems and a prolonged grieving process. No one should feel shame at grieving their pet. Pets have been “family” for a long time now. Those friends and colleagues who have no pets need not understand, but simply respect your feelings.

Remembering Your Pet

How you’ll remember your little angel is up to you. Keeping them alive in memory is part of the healing process.

You need not be content with albums of photographs online or off. There are other interesting choices:

  • Paintings, drawings, and statues are commissioned
  • miniature ceramic pieces are made using pet’s hair
  • stuffed toys in the likeness of your pet designed to securely hold a container of ashes
  • beautiful memorial diamonds and other precious stone jewelry created from hair or ash are available, a wearable daily reminder.

As pet lovers all experience the pain of pet loss, if there’s something that’s lightened the load for you, please mention it in the comments?

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