As with any bereavement the death of a much loved pet can be devastating and an enormous loss. To some the pet may have become a member of the family, a companion, a friend. If you were close to your pet it is normal to have the reactions to it’s loss that you may experience in the death of person ie shock, disbelief, numbness, anger, pain, hurt, sadness, guilt and overwhelming grief.
It can sometimes be hard for others to recognise the extent to which the loss of your beloved pet may be affecting you and it is not uncommon to hear “it was only a dog”, “you can easily get another one” etc. As with any bereavement it is important for y ou to have someone talk to who does understand exactly how you are feeling and what the loss of your pet has meant to you.
It may be particularly difficult if you were in the position of having to have your pet put to sleep and that is a heartrending decision to have to make. However, making that decision shows the enormous amount of love you had for your pet and the ability you had to put your pet’s care and wellbeing before your own thoughts of loss. When a pet we love is ill and suffering, there is no other choice but making the decision to have their live ended with dignity and humanely to end any suffering and your pet would have understood that the love that you showed him/her by making that decision.
Give yourself time to grieve and remember your pet in whichever way helps – talking, writing, looking at photos. Some people find in time that they want to get another pet but do not rush into this as you need time to come to terms with your loss otherwise it may be something you regret doing too quickly.
However, just as when we lose a person we love they would ultimately want us to move on with our lives and be as happy as we can – it is the same for the pet we have lost – they too would want us to move on, be happy, remember the good times with them and if it helps to have another pet they would be fine with that too. If you have a lot of love and caring to give to another pet and can give a good and loving home that would be a really good thing to do – when the time is right for you. Do not allow yourself to be pressured into having another pet until you are ready – if you are ready – that is y our choice.