Mourning the Loss of a Pet

Purrfect Paws offers a “Tribute to a Best Friend” certificate for a small monetary donation to the rescue.

Losing a pet is hard for many people since we tend to view pets as important and beloved family members. Pets bring happiness and meaning to people’s lives, just like close friends and relatives, so the normal response to a pet dying is the same: grief. It’s very important to cope with the loss of a pet as soon as possible, otherwise, it can worsen negative effects on your mental health.

There is no right or wrong way to grieve for the passing of a pet, but it’s always essential to never be ashamed of feeling sad for an animal’s death. Other factors can worsen the death of your pet, such as the pet’s age and the causes of death. You may not feel as much grief from your pet dying of old age than of an injury or terminal illness, but this depends on what they meant to you.

The importance of the pet in your life is probably the most important factor. If they were a service animal, emotional support animal, or if you lived alone and they were all you had, it would be like losing the ability to live normally. What’s worse is if you were unable to afford to treat them of their impairment, and all you can do is think that you could have done more to prevent their passing.

There are many healthy ways to come to terms with the loss of your pet, all of which lead to moving on and possibly welcoming another pet into your family. Suppressing your emotions often makes things worse, so it is important and healthy to talk to other people about how you’re feeling. Ignore other people who make you feel like you’re wrong about feeling sad and talk with people who sympathize with you – after all, you aren’t alone.

More healthy ways of coping include holding a funeral, creating a memorial, and making sure to take care of yourself. Planting a tree, keeping toys or accessories that belonged to the pet, or creating a photo album are good ways to remember the wonderful times you’d shared with your pet. Eating healthy and getting plenty of sleep and exercise can lift your mood as well, and are all considered healthy coping mechanisms.

If you are thinking about adopting another pet, it’s best to wait until you’re ready and have gotten over the loss of your previous one. If you currently have other pets, they also could’ve been affected by the death, or they’re distressed by your sadness, and adopting a new one will take longer to for them to adjust. It’s important to note that a new pet will never replace your old one since each animal has their unique personality.

Losing a pet is also especially hard for seniors and children. For seniors, it can mean the loss of the only companion you had, so it’s important to stay in touch with people close to you. For children, the loss of a pet is usually their first experience with death, and it’s important to teach them how to cope with it. It’s important to be honest with them from the start instead of giving them false hope that the pet is still alive, as well as not rushing to find a replacement pet and giving them time to grieve. As stated before, it’s healthiest for you and your family to wait before welcoming a new pet into your home.

If you are interested in honoring your beloved pet (or someone you know who lost their best friend), Purrfect Paws offers a special “In Memory of,” dedication certificate for a small monetary donation. Just email Summer at [email protected] to make arrangements for yours today.

Estelle Ferrari

A local DuBois High School student who loves animals, writing and helping her community.