Advice for recovering after the death of a pet

I’ve lost too many pets – dogs, horses, cats, as well as a goat and an anemone I was particularly fond of – and while I can’t tell you how to deal with your specific loss, I can give you a few things go think about.

– Grieve

Accept that you have lost something, great or small, and feel free to grieve in your own way. Cry or not, take a day off work or not, hold a ceremony or not. Grieving is a natural part of loss, and when you lose a pet, you have suffered a real loss.

– Not just a animal

Do NOT accept the words of anyone who try to say you’ve lost “just” an animal, anyone who tells you to “just get over it”. Pets of all shapes, sizes and types become integral parts of our lives, if not integral parts of our families. They are not “just” anything.

– Give yourself the time you need – or jump right back in

I couldn’t live without a dog in my life, and so with in a matter of days, I found another dog – she is a blessing and she helped me through a very rough time. You may need more time before you find another pet – you may need less. Only you’ll know when you are ready – don’t listen to others if they tell you to wait or of they tell you to rush you into a new pet partnership.

– You will always believe you made the wrong decision

If you have to make the decision to euthanize your pet, you will never believe that you made the right decision. You will believe that you waited to long or you will believe that you didn’t do enough, didn’t wait long enough and decided too quickly.

Having to tell the vet that the time has come is the hardest decision that I have ever made, and each time, I “knew” I was wrong, either way. It isn’t easy – it shouldn’t be easy.

But always remember, whatever decision you made, you made the best decision you could.

– Whatever decision you make, your pet will always love you

No matter what happens, no matter what decisions you make, your pet loves you – they have always loved you and they always will. They trust you and know you did the best you could – that’s why (in my opinion) pets are better than humans – they’re less judgmental.

– At the end of the day……

When my time comes, I believe that I will be reunited with all my pets – even the anemone. I believe that my mistakes will be forgiven and that our friendships will be renewed – and I believe that even my dogs and cats who didn’t get along in life will be friends. Although death has separated us in this life, I believe that it’s only a temporary separation. This gives me comfort. I hope that it is an idea that will give you comfort too.

If you’ve recently lost a beloved pet, my heart goes out to you. You will recover, in your own time, in your own way.

The final bit of advice – for every door that closes, another opens. When you lose a pet, open your heart to another. They – the new and the old – always understand.

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