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Losing a Pet

August 07, 2008  |  Difficulty: Easy

Pets are a large part of most American families and the bonds are so strong that when a pet dies, the grief process is just the same as it would be if it were a human.  The grief cycle is the same and every member of the family exhibits denial, anger, depression, understanding and acceptance at different intervals and in different ways. Losing a pet can be just as devastating for some as losing a human family member.

It is no easier to deal with when you’ve chosen to euthanize your pet due to age, illness or suffering than it is if your pet is tragically killed on the spot in an accident. Dealing with the loss of your pet should be a family affair where everyone can express their feelings and memories. Some great ideas for pet memorials include a special funeral burial or pet cremation at a pet cemetery. Other ways to commemorate your pet include a burying at home or honoring them with a special homemade gravestone, plaque, flower bed or tree.  Families can create a pet scrapbook honoring the pet from the day you brought him home.  Looking at all these pictures will remind every member of your family your pet’s role in the fun and memories. Even a candlelight memorial held on the same night each year will remind family members of your pet’s place in your heart.
Try to find comfort in the company of co-workers and friends who have lost their pets. This is a great way to air your grief with those who understand what you are going through. There are live internet support groups as well as local pet grief support groups.  You might find one at your local humane society or by asking at your vet’s office. Remember, grief takes time so be patient with yourself and your family as you adjust to life without your pet.

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