Featured Editorial

Healing the Grief of Heartbreak When the Family Pet Dies

I went to a funeral for the very first time during my freshman year of college. My grandmother passed away due to medical complications following a scheduled surgical procedure. I was emotionally devastated. To this day, I'm especially sensitive to issue concerning death and dying, my best guess is due to my limited experience and understanding of the processes of loss and grief. Experiencing the death of family members, friends, and pets can become a trigger for an intensely painful time of grieving and mourning. Here are some tips on helping to explore feelings stemming from the loss of a beloved pet. These tips are helpful for healing the grief of heartbreak when the family pet dies.

Healing the Grief of Heartbreak When the Family Pet Dies

We will each at some time in our lives come face-to-face with the inevitability of the death of a loved one. While grieving the death of people near and dear to us is commonplace, many find less sympathy when faced with the death of a pet. Mourning the loss of a pet is a normal, natural process. Ending a relationship with a pet, that has provided a source of comfort, entertainment, and companionship is a tremendous loss. All people will experience grief differently based upon their personal emotional connections. Feelings following a death may include any or all of the stages of grieving- denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. 

Losing the joy previously experienced as your pet would be there to greet you is a significant lifestyle adjustment. Allow everyone the time needed to honestly embrace their feelings. Give kids an age-appropriate, straightforward understanding of the circumstances surrounding your pet's death, encouraging conversations and questions for clarity. Share the emotional pain and sadness being experienced by others as a way to work through any fears or anxiety.

Diminishing grief does not release the emotions behind the feelings. Finding healthy outlets of expressing these powerful sentiments may include creating and sharing memories through creative writing, poetry, journal reflections, photo scrapbooks, collages, or artwork dedicated to your pet (affiliate). Allow family and friends to offer support in working through your time of grieving. If you need help , contact your veterinarian or local humane association for recommendations of pet loss counselors or support groups.

Considering a new family pet will be an intricate decision to be made moving forward, Embracing a new relationship with a pet after mourning your loss of a pet (affiliate) should not come as a replacement, however, when your family is ready, chose a pet striving to establish a new, loving relationship.