As a nation of pet enthusiasts, with over 67% of families in the USA having some sort of pet, predominantly cats and dogs, the passing of a pet can be a very upsetting event. Our pets become an essential component of the family and for some people, pets are their only companion. This effectively means that the emotional investment we put into our pet/owner connection is enormous. For many, a puppy is like a child, thus the popular phrase fur infant.
Even I lost my pet but Luckily, because of grief counselor, I know that bereavement is a bereavement,” regardless of whether the dead person had four legs or two. Both cause major emotional turbulence and such insensitivity from others can be hard to cope with.
The passing of a much-beloved pet may be as traumatic as the death of another loved one. It triggers the exact same despair process in the individual, however, it does not trigger the identical degree of empathy in society. If a member of your household had died your boss would probably not expect you into work for a couple of weeks, yet this leniency is rarely extended to the death of a puppy, even though this kind of loss is still classed as bereavement and felt as profoundly.
Regrettably, this usually means that people frequently feel the need to hide their emotions, to choke down the harm and do their best to get on with daily life as if nothing has really changed. However, the pain of loss is still present — it is just that it goes awry in our wider circle of colleagues and acquaintances. This is referred to as Disenfranchised Grief — which essentially means that you’re bereaved, however, the bereavement isn’t being acknowledged and that means you go through the grieving process quietly and in secret. You may even be advised “It’s only a puppy” or even “It was only a cat”. Again, this discounting of this connection you had with your furry friend compounds the first grief of reduction, because not only are you grieving for your pet, but you are forced to hide that grief or shield it. This disrupts the normal grieving process and can make it more traumatic.
Another thing to watch out for would be individuals well-meaning friends and family members who are trying to push you into obtaining a new pet — or they might also buy one for you! Or you might decide that a new pet is just what you want. Be careful here though, because this is really another form of complicated mourning known as Replacement Grief, whereas the bereaved party feels the necessity to fill the emptiness the dead has left behind as swiftly as possible. It’s an avoidance strategy and an unhealthy means of dealing with the main despair of the initial loss.
A far healthier way to move ahead is to sit with the psychological loss for a time and to allow the feeling of grief to pass through you. Lighting a candle and spending a few minutes every day thinking of your furry friend can be useful, especially in case you do this at a time when you’d ordinarily be visiting your pet’s needs — for example when you would ordinarily be taking your dog for a walk in the evenings.
A different way to move favorably through pet bereavement is to become an animal charity in some way. You could set aside the money you would typically spend on pet food and donate it to Dogs’ Trust or Cats Protection. Or possibly volunteer for a foster-carer for dogs or cats which are waiting to be securely rehomed. This will provide you with the animal companionship you miss, but because of foster-carer, you won’t have the ability to get overly attached mentally. It will be a temporary friendship, wherein you and the creature can be of service to another, so it is mutually beneficial.
If you’re still having difficulty grieving for your own pet, pet bereavement counseling is always another alternative, and a trained pet grief counselor will have the ability to help you work through your emotions with respect to the loss of your pet. Most of all, try to find comfort in the truth that you’re your pet’s lifestyle and you’re truly blessed to have found each other.
Until next time, take care