The Loss of a Pet

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They say that a dog is man s best friend, but in reality any pet becomes a part of the family with which it lives. To lose a pet can be a blow to everyone involved but there are ways to work through the grief that will accompany this loss. Acknowledging the death, honouring the pet and celebrating his or her life are just a few of the ways that families can help cope with the loss of a pet.

Acknowledging the Death

Acknowledging the death of a pet can be difficult. When young children are involved some parents prefer to pretend that the pet has run away or otherwise escaped to another place rather than discuss death and all of its implications with the child. However, covering up a death robs everyone of their chance to grieve for the beloved animal. Acknowledging a death may mean different things for different families. For very small pets some families may choose to host a funeral on their property. For larger animals the family may want to accompany the remains to a veterinarian or the final resting place. Putting aside some private time for the family to laugh and cry together about their pet may also help family members come together and remember the pet.

Honouring the Pet

For non pet owners it may seem a little over the top to honour a pet s life, but if someone has never experienced a life with a pet then they will not be able to understand the pain that accompanies the loss of a pet. Just as a family would honour the life of a relative who has passed away, so too can they honour the life of a deceased pet. Looking at pictures of the animal, telling favourite stories or private memories, writing a poem about the pet or even erecting small plaque or memorial in the pet s honour are all ways that the loss of a pet can be marked and respected.

Celebrating the Pet s Life

While grieving is inevitable following the loss of a beloved pet it should also be remembered that it is the perfect time to celebrate his or her life as well. Craft projects that help memorialise the pet, donations to pet-related charities and even organising a special meal or gathering to celebrate the pet s contributions to the family are all ways that a pet s life can be celebrated.

The loss of a pet can be a shocking blow to both human family members and other pets in the household as well. While it may be tempting to rush out and find a new pet to fill the hole left by the old one, it is generally recommended that families wait a little while to give themselves time to grieve. Rather than attempting to replace a deceased pet, a new pet should only be selected on his or her own merit and welcomed, accepted and loved for his or her own personality and characteristics. If and when a family is ready for a new pet, considering an animal rescued by an animal charity or hospital is one way to help ensure that all animals are afforded a warm, loving home.

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  1. My mother in law has terminal cancer Calangio Carcenoma .My wife is struggling emotionally as you would expect and appears to be in the grieving process. I need to support and help my wife and my mother in law aged 82 . I am being supportive in all pratical ways , I need to know how I can support my mother in law and make her limited time with us as enjoyable and comfortable as possible. Also I need to help my wife , as I do not know what to do for the best to help her with emotional struggle with her mothers terminal illness.My father in law is 84 and also is unwell and is a diabetic with associated illnesses , plus needs daily self cathiterisation .My mother in law is his carer although she will not be able to continue in this way. My mother in law was given this prognosis approx. 1 month ago .

  2. I’m due to start bereavement councilling on Friday and I’m so worried that I’m going to break down. I lost my mum 5 months ago and am wracked with guilt over her death as it was suicide she was only 62 and had many more years left in her I’m so sad she has gone and don’t feel it’s real still as I still try to ring her all the time then it hits me that I can’t as she’s not going to answer me . I miss my mum so much. 3 months after mum died my 17 year old nephew died aswell it’s all to overwhelming that my family are passing away before my eyes I can’t concentrate on anything as I am expecting someone else to die close to me it’s a terrible feeling and I can’t seem to shift it I love and miss them both so much it hurts.

  3. My little girl was born on January 14th this year and she past away in my womb a week before this, I am going through mixed emotions right now I miss her so much and Im taking it out on the person closest to me my partner I am being all loving one minute, the next im arguing throwing things at him. I love him more then Ive ever loved anyone and I dont know why im acting like that is it grief?

  4. Just had my beloved pet put to sleep, 12 yrs old,, just me and my daughter, mum died end ofapril dad year and a half other dog died nine months ago, other daughter estranged from me and young daughter, the fact that I wee can’t talk to dad as he’s dead and mother suffering alzheimers for years leaves us alone together, mum and dad were brilliant, clergy said I’m to negative for their congregation, suffering depression and not helped by congregation, told to get on with it, Molly wonderful clever loving dog we all loved her so much hate waking in morning only drinking wine to try kill pain, me and daughter, house and garden unkempt and no energy, told to cut grass with sciccors by elders wife who has coo shy life, plenty money

  5. I lost my husband on the 30-08-16. I don’t know how to deal with his departure. He was my everything he understand me more than anyone and always there for me.He loved my kids as his own. What hurt most is September is our anniversary and my birth month. We had plans for September and he was the one who was organising it.Now I have to face everything alone. He always encouraging me to follow my dream the love he gave me was amazing we couldn’t stay apart from each other. When am at work he’ll call me 100 times and I enjoyed it.Off days wherever we go,we together. I miss him so much.How can I get pass this.

  6. On the 21st april 2017 my brother in law was found dead at home on the day he was due to start a new life in a new home. My sister died the previous March. He was a broken man and I had put him back together again. In December 2015 my brother died unexpectedly and in November 2016 my brothers wife died of a terminal condition. My sister was only 54 and had cancer. I had close friend die of cancer in June 2015. I do not know how I got through last year. My brother in law was in London and me in Bristol. He was cruelly targeted by fraudsters in the last year. Now there are 4 family deaths in 16 months. I have gone back to Cruse. Any advice anywhere would help to fathom out how I am meant to find yet more resources to keep going as the grief is overwhelming. I am due to speak to a Minister to try and give some meaning to this.One death is bad enough, but so many so quickly is impossible. I just do the basics and take things as slow as possible.

  7. Lost my partner in 2016 but 8 weeks ago lost my wonderful boy age 35 found him .it was the worst day in my life a wonderful young man with a good job and leaves a 4 year old who he loved more than life ,she misses him awfully ,am beginning bereavement counselling just not sure if i have the strength to go forward in life without him . Lyn 09/07/2017

  8. My baby brother who was 13 years old at the time committed suicide. It’s been 2 years since he died and I’m losing my mind. I keep having melt downs when other things in my life become stressful it seems like everything falls apart. Things that shouldn’t make me angry make me so upset. I can only think that it has to do with my brother dying because I always end up crying about him at the end of my meltdown. It’s effecting my relationship and I’m taking it out on my husband. How long am I going to grieve like this? He doesn’t deserve this. I am in counseling but it’s hard because I have a baby and I don’t feel like I am always getting 100% of the session. Any tips on how to cope?

  9. Nearly 5 yrs ago. My son jake passed away in hospital. He had been in intensive care for a week. My ex. Never told me. So I didnt get a chance to say goodbye.or come to terms with it. Just got a phone call to say he had gone. I was devastated. The first year I was in autopilot totally numb. Then spent the following 2 years taking it out on other people friends and family.the past 2 years ive spent pushing people away. Recently ive been better but the last month. Has been hard. Alot about bereavement. On the radio. Its now coming up to the anniversary and im dreading it. I want to move on but dont seem able to do so. How many times can I keep falling apart. 18 months before my son died my mother passed away from cancer. Then 2 years after my son my dad died. Not sure I can keep going. Its just one battle after another. As I have written this tears have just rolled down my face HELP

  10. Boatman – Your Question:

    Nearly 5 yrs ago. My son jake passed away in hospital. He had been in intensive care for a week. My ex. Never told me. So I didnt get a chance to say goodbye.or come to terms with it. Just got a phone call to say he had gone. I was devastated. The first year I was in autopilot totally numb. Then spent the following 2 years taking it out on other people friends and family.the past 2 years ive spent pushing people away. Recently ive been better but the last month. Has been hard. Alot about bereavement. On the radio. Its now coming up to the anniversary and im dreading it. I want to move on but dont seem able to do so. How many times can I keep falling apart.18 months before my son died my mother passed away from cancer. Then 2 years after my son my dad died. Not sure I can keep going. Its just one battle after another. As I have written this tears have just rolled down my faceHELP


    Our Response:

    Please don’t try and cope with this by yourself. Seek help from one of the many fabulour bereavement charities/organisations like:
    CRUSE
    Child Bereavement UK
    Marie Curie Community

  11. Last year was my year of hell, beginning of year lost my 12 year lab, July sat with a family member until they passed away, August lost another lab, all this as well as coping with my newly diagnosed husband he passed at young age, today 9 mths on l feel so lonely and tearful, lt feels everybody thinks lm ok , only one person really truly gets it, but they have young family and l feel like a burden they tell me that is not the case,,, just another stage of grief

  12. They really need to take “acceptance” out of the list of “stages”. Coping is more appropriate. I lost my little brother almost 5 years ago and am just now wanting counseling. I have intrusive thoughts and cannot deal with anything anymore. Im really worried that i wont be taken seriously because its been “so long”. Im almost 50 and we were going to grow old together and sit on his front porch and yell get off my lawn to no one and rocking chair our days away. Now i have no one. My partner in crime, my Thing One, my Bubba Chops, my best friend is gone. FUUUUCK

  13. My son Maverick (25 yes old in age inly) lost his father at the age of 50 July 21 2019 due to oral cancer..it was a terrible thing to watch as his dad wasted away and he can’t stop seeing his father in the hospice bed. He is angry and devastated. He also has learning/communication disabilities. He is a dishwasher and as been laid off due to the coronavirus virus, so money is super limited.

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