Grieving & Support
“Many will walk in and out of your life, but only true friends will leave paw prints on your heart.”
We wish our animal companions could stay by our side forever, but they unfortunately cannot. Losing a pet is like losing a member of the family and comes along with a period of grief. When we grieve the loss of a pet, the process often comes with the feeling that perhaps we should not overreact to the death of what some people view as “just a pet.” Many friends and family members just do not understand how much our pets mean to us in life and often cannot empathize with the very real and deep feelings of loss and sadness.
One of the most difficult components of the grieving process is wrapping your mind around what happened. Remember that whatever you are feeling is all right. Your sense of loss may encompass your life, and these feelings are normal. You have every right to grieve the loss of your companion, and you can take as much time as you need to make sense of everything.
Grief has many stages, and none are absolute or easy to define. Time frames vary from person to person, but the general stages of grief include:
- Shock, disbelief or denial
- Bargaining (often with God)
- Acceptance, resolution and recovery
In some cases, people go through all these stages in a predictable manner. But, more often than not, there is no rhyme or reason to how a person experiences or handles his or her grief. Some people may go through only one or two stages and have resolution. However, a memory or anniversary of a pet’s passing may bring back feelings of anger, extreme sadness and denial. Just keep in mind it is okay to have these feelings; it is normal.
Grief Support Resources
National Grief Support Hotlines
- Animal Companions and Their People: (972) 966-8993
- Grief Recovery Hotline: (800) 445-4808
- Pet Loss Support Hotline: (888) 478-7574
- Pet Loss Hotline: (877) 394-2273