Coping with the loss of a pet is not easy. We live in a society in which there is still a certain lack of understanding in the face of these kinds of realities, which are often experienced in devastating ways. The death of our animals not only causes pain, but also the routines of the home are broken.
Research studies in this regard indicate that social support is essential in such situations. However, there are many who, for example, experience reluctance and even shame when explaining the death of their pet at work, because they know that they can look at them strangely. All this intensifies the difficulty of dealing with and going through the duel itself.
Gandhi said that the greatness of a nation and its moral progress also lies in the way they treat their animals. It is time, therefore, to understand that bonding with a pet is very similar to what we do with a family member. Therefore, the loss of one of those figures is something that we must respect and understand.
Let us therefore know what strategies can help us to better manage that goodbye.
Tips for coping with the loss of a pet
The scientific literature on pet losses is growing. If this is so, it is due to two issues. The first is the consensus that companion animals are already configured with the same relevance as a family member. The second aspect is that their lives are shorter and this forces us to have to deal with the emptiness they leave more often.
Studies, such as the one carried out at the Philadelphia College of Medicine (United States), for example, show us something interesting. For 12% of the population the loss of a pet is experienced as traumatic. That pain can last more than 6 months. The difficulty in managing this type of duel lies, above all, in social misunderstanding.
Therefore, it is necessary that we integrate basic strategies to cope with grief after the loss of a pet. We analyze it.
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Accept your emotions and express them
You have the full right to cry, to suffer for that loss regardless of whether it was a cat, a dog, a canary or a ferret. We all form very intense bonds with our animals and their death is lived with pain. Feel free to cry when you need to and to give space and acceptance to each felt emotion.
Talk about what you feel with someone close
Share what happened, as well as your feelings, thoughts and experiences with someone who knows how to listen and understand you. Friends, family or partner. Feel free to put out how you feel and what that animal meant to you.
Do not give importance to those who do not understand your experience
There are those who will understand that loss from the heart and will suffer it with you. Others, on the other hand, will be unable to understand why you feel this way or why you give so much importance to that event. Accept them. Do not be angry or face someone who does not love animals. As the writer Anatole France said, whoever has not loved an animal will always have a part of his soul asleep.
Perform a goodbye ritual
If you decide on cremation, do not hesitate to spread his ashes in a special and symbolic place for you. On the other hand, if you choose to bury your pet in your plot or garden, it is always cathartic to honor his memory through a little family ritual, spending a few minutes thinking about him.
Remember the good times
When one of our animals dies it is very common for the last days to remain in the memory. That now unknown face comes to mind, that look to which we had to say goodbye.
To better manage the duel it is important not to focus on the final moments, but in the good moments lived, those that always remain in the heart.
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To cope with the grief after the loss of a pet, it is good to change routines. In general, animals create with us daily habits that are hard to forget. There are the walks, the times on the couch, the moments of games. Try, as far as you can, to introduce new habits that make you renew your customs.
How to help a child cope with the loss of a pet
If we have children at home, sooner or later they will have to face this situation. To help them cope with the loss of a pet, follow these steps:
Explain in language appropriate to the child's age what is happening at all times. If the animal is sick, let him know.
When the animal dies we should avoid euphemisms like "It is gone" or "is asleep". It is necessary that, with sweetness, affection and closeness, we explain that the pet is no longer there and that it will not return.
We will facilitate that the child cry if he needs it and we'll keep an eye on him for the first few weeks.
Euthanasia in pets: how to face this experience?
There are many occasions when, due to the disease or particular situation of the animal, veterinarians propose euthanasia to avoid excessive suffering. Something that is undoubtedly evident is that these situations are not easy. However, it is good to keep these tips in mind:
Let's try to say goodbye of the pet and be with her at all times.
Let's avoid blaming ourselves for that decision. Let us think that with this we offer him a dignified death, without suffering and accompanied.
In these cases, younger children are not recommended to be present.
Once the vet gives us the body or the ashes of the animal it is good, as we have already pointed out, to perform a farewell ritual in which the smallest of the house can participate.
When is it better to consider adopting a new pet
Many people consider adopting a new animal when they have just lost that special dog or cat. Now, to cope with the grief after the loss of a pet it is important to consider the following that we will say.
Adopting a new animal will not completely fill the void for the already lost. Likewise, no animal will replace the one that has died because they, like us, are unique.
Therefore, it is always better to allow a reasonable time to handle emotions well and say goodbye to that special member of the house. Later, after 5 or 6 months we can already consider a new adoption. However, this must be carried out being aware that it is someone different.
Suffering for pets is normal
To conclude, we will say that today our animals are so significant and special that many couples consider them almost like their children. We love them, we give them a place in the home and a larger corner in the heart.
Suffering for their loss is normal and we cannot, therefore, neglect or displace mourning by emptiness. Let's not hesitate to give ourselves a few days off if we need it. Nor in asking for expert help.
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