Coping With the Death of a Beloved Pet
Published July 13, 2020
Our pets are a big part of our lives. As much joy as they can bring, their passing can bring as much pain.
Death has always been a sensitive topic. It’s just downright uncomfortable. See, when people start facing the reality of death, it puts their entire life in perspective. It’s difficult, but it’s something we all must go through.
Death of our pets is the same way. Growing with these companions, they become almost, if not as important as our loved ones. Anyone who’s a pet parent knows how it feels to have strong bonds with these furry friends.
“Ohana means family.”
This line is quite a famous one from the 2002 Disney movie, “Lilo and Stitch.” It continues with, “and family means no one gets left behind.” I don’t know if using Lilo as a pet parent and Stitch as a pet is the best analogy. I mean, Stitch was a talking, cognitive alien. Regardless, they had his heartwarming friendship similar to the ones we have with our pets.
But unfortunately, we can’t always be together with them. There will come a time that we have to say goodbye, one way or another. One of the most heartbreaking things you could experience is seeing your pet get sick. Nothing can express the feeling of watching someone who gave you so many good memories go through such pain.
Thanks to advances in veterinary care, we’re more able to prolong our pets’ lives than before. Along with those advances, is euthanasia.
As a pet owner myself, I cannot imagine having to make such a difficult decision as euthanizing my pet. But this option is one of the kindest things you can do to save your pet from prolonged suffering.
Saying goodbye to a pet is inevitable.
It’s a fact you have to accept. One of the ways to help you prepare for the death of a pet is to recognize this early. Instead of shying away from the fact, you have to embrace it fully. Death isn’t something you should fear. It is because our lives and our pet’s lives are finite that we have to celebrate it!
Coping with the grief
The grief you feel when losing a pet can be the same as when you lose a loved one. That is because your pet also becomes a loved one. Your pets spend their entire life with you, building memories together. In grieving, people tend to go through a process. Here are some advice and takeaways.
It’s okay not to be okay.
You have to keep telling yourself this. Allow yourself to feel everything you’re feeling. Trying to compartmentalize and forcing yourself into feeling okay will only make it worse. Acknowledging that these feelings are there is the first step towards getting better.
Find a shoulder to cry on
You can take this literally or not. If someone lets you cry on their shoulder, do it. But this line means you should find someone in whom you can confide. Talk to them about everything you’re feeling.
Remember your pet’s memories fondly.
Many people tend to shun memories they have of a lost loved one. They feel like remembering those memories is too painful because they’ll never make new ones. Instead, you should keep these memories fondly precisely because you’ll never make new ones! Their memories are what you make of it. Instead of letting them be an anchor to you, why don’t you use them to uplift you?
Talk to an expert
Psychologists are experts trained to help you process the anxiety, fear, and guilt associated with death. If the burden of your pet’s death gets too heavy for you, you shouldn’t hesitate to approach an expert. Everybody needs some help sometimes. Never be afraid to admit you need help.
Take care of yourself
While taking care of your mental and emotional health, remember to take care of your physical health too. Physical health significantly affects your mental health. The better your physical health is, the better you can deal with grief productively.
Take this time to take proper care of yourself. Eat healthy food, exercise, meditate, and pray. These activities will help you maintain balance in your life.
Let your pet live a life without regrets.
Before your pet meets their ultimate fate, you have to give them the best life possible. You have to treasure their life as much as you can with the time you have.
Make sure you leave nothing on the table so that when their time ultimately comes, you’ll have no regrets. And if you did that, I’m sure your parent passed knowing he or she was loved.
About The Author
Terrence Tan Ting is an industrial engineer by profession but a full time writer by passion. He loves to write about a wide range of topics from many different industries thanks to his undying curiosity.