April 11th was National Pet Day, so many pet owners posted loving pet appreciation posts on their social media accounts. Others posted tributes to their deceased pets.
Coping with losing a pet is a difficult experience, especially if the pet was in the owner’s life for a long time. To many people, pets are members of the family, so it’s a painful experience when they pass away.
Here are a few healthy ways to cope with losing a pet and honor their memory.
Be Patient with Your Grief
During the grieving process, it’s normal to feel a mix of emotions such as sadness, frustration, anxiety, and guilt. According to this article about pet loss, it’s painful to lose a pet because pet owners have lost a life companion who gave them unconditional love. There’s also the loss of routine with taking care of the pet, so remember to be patient with yourself and not rush your grief.
It’s important to allow yourself to feel these emotions and not suppress them because grief will catch up with you eventually. Not acknowledging your grief will only hurt your mental and physical health. Exercise and meditation are two healthy activities you can try to help you cope with grief.
Start a Memorial Ritual
Rituals play a key role in overcoming grief, and by creating a tradition to do on your pet’s death anniversary, birthday, or another significant date, you can pay tribute to your pet’s memory. You can go for a walk or bike ride on the path you used to walk them on, and you can even dedicate a memorial bench to them. Or, you can visit the place your pet was buried or where their ashes were scattered.
Create Pet Mementos
You can create a pet keepsake to have as a long-lasting memory of your beloved pet. Below are a few simple DIY pet mementos to commemorate your pet:
- Clay Paw Print: press a pet’s paw into clay to create a memorial clay paw print
- Collar Candle: decorate a candle by wrapping a pet’s collar around the base
- Fur Clipping: use a small lock of a pet’s fur or whiskers to make a fur clipping memento
- Paw Print Painting: dip your pet’s paws into ink or paint to make a paw print canvas
- Pet Tag Keychain: put your pet’s collar tag on a key ring to make a memorial keychain
Find Support in Loved Ones
Trusted family and close friends are good people to lean on for support during this difficult time. Your whole family may be grieving the loss of your pet, and by talking to each other about how you’re feeling, you can process your grief and heal together.
If your loved one is coping with the loss of a pet, here are a few little things you can do to help.
- Make them a home-cooked meal
- Send a kind note to express your condolences
- Offer to listen to them and provide a shoulder to cry on
- Share a happy memory you have with their pet
- Help them create a pet memorial keepsake
When comforting a loved one grieving the loss of a pet, these are some phrases to avoid:
- “It was just a pet.”
- “You can just get another one.”
- “You have other pets.”
- “Why aren’t you over it yet?”
- “You know pets don’t live as long as people.”
Joining a support group may help you feel not so alone, and if you’re having a difficult time processing the loss of your pet, consider talking to a professional. Don’t feel pressured to get another pet right away. You may need some time, or you may not want to get another pet, but either way, the choice is yours and you should do whatever is best for you.
Inspirational Quotes on Losing a Pet
We’ve compiled a list of a few touching quotes about pet loss to further help those mourning their cherished pet.
“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one’s soul remains unawakened.” — Anatole France
“Dogs lives are too short. Their only fault, really.” — Agnes Sligh Turnbull
“No one loves you unconditionally as your beloved pet.” — Cynthia S. Dobesh
“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.” — Roger Caras
“To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die.” — Thomas Campbell