How To Cope When Our Pets Cross The Rainbow Bridge
It takes a long time to recover from the loss of a pet and anyone who has ever loved a pet knows that the pain of losing one can be overwhelming.
The emotions that you may feel are no different than if you lost any other loved one.
There are no words that can take away the pain of losing a pet, but here are some things to keep in mind in the aftermath of such a loss. Yes, you ARE normal!
One of the most common questions following the loss of a pet is “Is it normal to feel this way?” Some people think that because the loss was a pet rather than a human that the pain should not be as great as what many pet owners experience.
The truth is that for anyone who loves their pet – whether a dog, a cat, a bird or any other animal – losing them is painful. Yes, it’s normal.
Don’t Apologize or Minimize Your Feelings
Don’t feel the need to say “I know I shouldn’t feel this way; it was only a dog.” This not only minimizes your feelings, but it also minimizes the important place that the much-loved pet held in your family.
If someone else doesn’t understand your pain that is ok, but you don’t have to cater to their lack of understanding by apologizing for what is perfectly normal grief.
Grieving Over The Loss Of A Pet – Take Your Time
Many pet owners get a new pet right away after losing one. This is fine if it works for you, but most people tend to need to give themselves time to grieve before getting a new pet. If you are looking for a “replacement” for the pet that you lost then it is probably too soon.
No new pet can take the place of your last pet. They can, however, add new joy and life in your home. Just give yourself time to grieve before getting a new furry family member.
Let Go of the Guilt
It is common to feel guilt after the loss of a pet. This is especially true if you had to make a decision about putting your pet to sleep. As hard as it may be, you need to let go of the guilt. End of life decisions about your pet are extremely difficult, and there is no way to make it easier or less painful.
At the end of the day, just remember that you did what was best for your pet and your situation. Try not to focus on that last day. Instead, think about all of the happiness that you gave your pet and that he gave to you. Remember that you gave your pet a wonderful home and a lifetime of love that he may not have had without you. Pets are an important part of your family. It is normal to grieve their loss.
Many years ago we shared a page here on our website about about the loss of “Lady”; one of our beloved rescue dogs. You can read Lady’s story here if you like.