Albany Blog

Coping with the loss of a pet

By November 17, 2023No Comments

With the death of a beloved pet comes the loss of unconditional love, comfort and companionship.

A member of the family, a constant companion in life, or the last link to a loved one you have lost before – whatever your pet means to you, saying goodbye can bring feelings of sadness, isolation and loneliness that can be overwhelming. Grief is a normal, yet individual experience; we all cope differently.

 

It’s good to talk, particularly to someone who understands pet ownership. Worrying whether someone may be dismissive of the difficulty of dealing with the loss of a pet may make it difficult for some people to reach out for support. There is help available:

Blue Cross Pet Bereavement Support Service is free and confidential and accessible via phone, email and webchat.

Cats Protection offer Paws to Listen, a free and confidential grief support service.

 

It is important to look after yourself; try to eat and sleep well and exercise regularly.

 

Be honest with children; the loss of a pet can often be a child’s first experience of death. Be prepared to talk about what has happened, but don’t include distressing details and listen to their feelings. Try to explain clearly using simple terms and avoid using language that might be confusing such as the term ‘put to sleep’.  Writing and drawing about their pet may also help them to process what has happened.

 

A pet will leave behind lots of happy memories for you to look back on. There are many ways to remember your pet:

Keepsakes containing fur clippings or paw prints.

Photographs

Create a memorial garden for your pet, you could plant forget-me-nots or place a bench.

Plant a tree or shrub, perhaps in your pet’s favourite spot in the garden.

Scatter ashes in favourite places or keep in them in a casket or urn.

Make a memorial donation to an animal charity.

Add memories of your pet to Cats Protection’s Memory Wall.

 

In time, you might be thinking of introducing a new pet; the decision of when to do this is a personal one.  Allow yourself enough time to mourn your loss and to give careful consideration to ownership of a new pet.

 

“The loss is immeasurable, but so is the love left behind” – Unknown