When grieving over the loss of a pet, there’s no one formula of going dealing with the loss. You don’t have to follow what other people are telling you—whether you should cry or not, or be angry, or laugh at the special moments you had together. You shouldn’t tell yourself what to feel: feel what you feel in your own terms.
There’s a growing community of pet owners who are willing to support you. Online, there are message boards, hotlines, and support groups. There are people who care and understand about your grief.
A funeral may also be in order. This will put a closure to what happened, and will allow you to express your feelings. You can also prepare something to commemorate the joy of your beloved pet’s life: compile a photo album, plan a tree, or share your cherished memories.
And while you’re at it, don’t forget to take care of yourself. Grieving over the loss can take a toll on your emotional and physical health. Don’t forget to sleep, exercise, and eat regularly. Also, go about your regular routine with your other pets. They might be grieving just like you, and in these moments, you only have each other to look out for.
For senior adults who have to deal with the loss of their pet companions, a feeling of loneliness and longing might well up. At this point, diverting to other activities to occupy their time is good, like taking up a new hobby or volunteering.
Stay connected with friends. Pets, dogs especially, can help seniors meet new people or regularly connect with friends and neighbors while out on a walk or in the dog park, for example. Having lost your pet, it’s important that you don’t now spend day after day alone. Try to spend time with at least one person every day. Regular face-to-face contact can help you ward off depression and stay positive. Call up an old friend or neighbor for a lunch date or join a club.
Boost your vitality with exercise. Pets help many older adults stay active and playful, which can boost your immune system and increase your energy. It’s important to keep up your activity levels after the loss of your pet. Check with your doctor before starting an exercise program and then find an activity that you enjoy. Exercising in a group—by playing a sport such as tennis or golf, or taking an exercise or swimming class—can also help you connect with others.
As for children whose first experience of death is that of their beloved pet, they may easily get traumatized. The best solution is not to pretend that they went away, but to simply be honest about it to give them a chance to grieve.
At this point, you should reassure them that they’re not responsible and involve them in the grieving process.
Allow the child to be involved in any memorial service, if they desire. Holding a funeral or creating a memorial for the pet can help your child express their feelings openly and help process the loss.
Do not rush out to get the child a “replacement pet” before they have had chance to grieve the loss they feel. Your child may feel disloyal, or you could send the message that the grief and sadness felt when something dies can simply be overcome by buying a replacement. (Read More Here)
Indeed, dealing with loss of your beloved furry friend is difficult–for children, seniors, and adults alike. But it’s not impossible to overcome. You can move forward, in your own terms, and without having to forget the memory you shared with your best buddy altogether.