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Pet Loss & Grief: Some Coping Tips

Coping with the loss of a loved family member is always tough, but when that family member is human, no one questions your need to grieve.

With a pet?  Not so much.

That means your pain may be compounded by embarrassment over the depth — or even the existence — of your sense of loss. “Get over it,” some may suggest. “It’s just an animal.”

Pity their ignorance. Your pet isn’t “just” anything. And don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Consider that, during the time you spent with your pet — possibly more time than you spent with any other family member — your clothing choices weren’t criticized and your hold over the remote control was uncontested (unless we’re talking about a Labrador retriever, in which case there was always the possibility of his trying to eat it).

Your pet’s ability to make you laugh? It probably far exceeded that of even your most amusing family member. And it was never mean laughter, the kind you feel bad about afterward. Pets don’t care whether you’re laughing with them or at them, especially if liver treats are involved.

Why wouldn’t you mourn the loss of such a satisfying, emotionally uncomplicated relationship?

So it’s not a question of whether to grieve, but how best to work your way through it. Read More »

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