We love our four-legged friends just as we love our friends, our brothers, or even our children. So when they pass away, it creates a gaping hole in our lives which is just as painful as that of a close friend.You would expect a period of mourning for the death of a friend, so why not for your beloved animal? The process isoften overlooked and underestimated, but mourning your pet is necessary if you want to move on.
A pet is truly unlike a human. Whatever your companion of choice, your animal does not judge, he will never betrayyou and will love you no matter what.We humans can start to feel that our pet counterparts areour soulmates. Amelie says of her dog: "It was love at first sight. We became one. It was as if we were in some way connected".And because a pet is so important in our lives, a holeopens up and of course it's really painful.
Others just don't understand
"You can always get another one!" Such are the unhelpful, and frankly quite hurtful, comments of those who do not truly understand.When Valerie lost her 15-year-old dog, she was met with similar remarks. For her, the loss was just as bad, if not worse, than the death of her grandparents. "My dog lived with me 24/7. He was my partner,I told him everything".Other people are often quick to criticise, quite simply because they do not understand. Butsuffering is unique to the person and cannot be compared.
Though it can be difficult, it is vital that you talk about your loss. The vet Marina von Allmen says:
Remaining silent will only intensify the feeling of despair, making the mourning process longer and even more complicated. These repressed emotions may resurface at any moment.
So if your friends don't understand what you're going through, it may be better to turn to a vet, a support group, or even a psychologist to avoid going through it alone.
The stages of mourning
When grieving a pet, you go through the same stages as for a human. You can expect to feel these same emotions of denial, anger, guilt, depression, and finally acceptance.Though they may arise in any order, and some can be stifled easier than others, it's a very similar process. You need to go through the process, however painful it may be, in order to move on in the end.
Once you have disposed ofyour pet'sbody, the healing process can begin more easily. Whether you decide to bury or cremate him, it's an important decision to make.Werecommend that you decide while your pet is still healthy, so as to avoid making a rash decision which you may regret.Some kind of ritual - a burial or even writing a poem - can help you face up to reality and move on. You may even want to organise a ceremony to commemorate your pet and say goodbye properly.
Many feel they can never get a new pet, out of fear of forgetting him, betraying him, or causing themselves more suffering.Others may want to find a "replacement". This is never a good idea, because you risk that this animal will never live up to your beloved pet.It's better to go for a different colour, different gender, or even different breed altogether, without forgetting that each one will have a different personality.When is the right time to start thinking about a new companion? Well, it depends. According to Ramel:
When you have been with your animal through illness or old-age, and seen his decline, there's a pre-mourning process. But when it's a sudden accident, it's such a shock to the system that it's inadvisable to get another pet straight away.
Choosing another pet can often be very difficult because it's a reminder that your beloved friend was in fact an animal, and not a human being.