When you have a dog, the love the two of you share grows steadily once that special bond is formed. Suddenly you might realize as your bond strengthens that the thought of losing them is oftentimes too much to bear. Pets are like family to us once we let them in our hearts, and when they are no longer with us it takes time for our hearts to heal. Here are some ways to help you mourn the loss of a beloved dog:
1. Regardless of What Anyone Says, It’s Not “Just a Dog”
As anyone who has lost a beloved dog knows, it isn’t just a dog when you are dealing with loss. Losing a pet that you love hurts a great deal, and you need to allow yourself time to grieve, reminisce, feel frustrated, or whatever emotion it is that you are feeling, because it’s perfectly acceptable. Giving yourself time to heal is the most important thing of all, because when you have a great pet, nothing is going to come in and take its place. If people question the way you feel or don’t empathize in your grieving, do your best to ignore them and push their words out of your mind. People can be rather inconsiderate at times when they don’t know the right things to say.
2. Don’t Ignore Your Pain
While it takes time to deal with your loss, don’t ignore the way that you are feeling. You are allowed to be sad for as long as you want, and if you don’t feel like talking to anyone about it, you don’t have to. But if you do feel like opening up, there will certainly be dog lovers just like you in your life that will understand. Everyone has had a pet in their life that has meant something to them, so when others hear of your sadness it will likely take them back to that time when they too were hurting over their beloved pet they lost.
3. Think About the Happy Times
When you think of your dog that is no longer with you, especially if they became ill at the end of their life, try and remember the happy times the two of you had together. Think of the ways that they used to make you smile, or how they made you feel special when they loved to be near you. It’s important to keep positive thoughts and cherish the good times the two of you shared together.
4. If You Have Other Pets, Try to Maintain the Routine
Don’t neglect your other pets who probably miss your beloved dog just as much as you do, and lean on them for extra support in your time of grieving. Losing one of your pets will probably strengthen the bond you have with other pets in the home, as you are thankful and lucky to still have them in your life.
5. Remember to Take Care of Yourself
At times when we are hurt or suffering, we are sometimes guilty of neglecting ourselves. This is because we just don’t have our usual strength or energy to motivate ourselves the way we usually do every day when we are grief-stricken. When you are mourning, be sure to eat regularly, sleep appropriately, and try to keep up with your regular routine as much as you can–even if that means at a much slower pace initially.
6. If You Have Children, Assure Them This Wasn’t Their Fault
Kids are sensitive and can have a more difficult time dealing with death than adults do. Allow them their time and space if you can sense that they need it, and above all, reassure them this had nothing to do with them whatsoever.
If you have children, remember that most kids feed off of their parents’ energy. If you face your grief and deal with it in a mature way this will help them to do the same. Going into hysterics over your lost pet in front of them will likely trigger a similar response and could possibly scare them. Although it may be very hard, try to be strong in front of them for their sake.
7. Do Not Rush Out and Get A New Dog
Instantly filling your void by quickly getting another dog is not a good idea. Accept that you need time and take this into consideration. Rushing out and getting a new pet is not going to replace the bond that you had between you and your dog that has passed away. If you want to go shopping or pamper yourself, then by all means, you completely deserve it if it makes you feel better. Go for walks and give yourself time to unwind and let go of your pain, because like all things that may be hard in life, this too shall pass.