The process is normal and your not alone. But how do you deal with the pain and loss? The emptiness that fills our hearts can be scary and overwhelming. How do we deal with all these emotions? As painful as it may seem you need to reevaluate the life of your pet and your relationship to promote healing. Crying is OK.
You need to have no regrets or guilt in order to heal. It’s important that you remember dogs and cats are only here with us for such a short lifespan compared to humans. We know that if they lived on love alone, they would be with us forever.
The Five Stages Of Grief
The same as a loss of a loved one you need to go through the normal stages of grief. There are actually five stages you will go through. at least that is what I have experienced over and over. Dogs and Cats just don’t live as long as we do. So it is inevitable. We took that oath the moment we brought them home. Here are the stages of grief you can expect below.
- Denial and Isolation
- Anger and Regrets
Let’s Talk about Denial and Isolation
Denial is a natural reaction in nature. It is a buffer to the shock or disbelief we may feel. It disconnects us for a moment. So we can start the healing process. It is like becoming numb as some describe it. This responsive will only last temporarily. So remember this will go away. But do remember to cry when you need to. Ride with it. Let it all go and it is ok to do that. It can do wonders by just letting it all out.
You may find yourself making excuses and not wanting to socialize. People will understand. Allow your heart to heal. Those that love you will understand and support you. But try the best you can after a week or so to get out. Get back to normal routines.
Let’s Talk About The Anger and Regret
You may find yourself more irritable and impatient as normal. That is ok, It’s ok to be angry. Again this is part of the healing process. You need to vent that anger somehow and not let it build. You just lost the love of your life and that can make you very angry and doubtful about your beliefs and values. Trust me this is a normal process. You mind find yourself in the could have, would have stage too at this point. Anger or Guilt everyone reacts differently. Some only one and others both.
Whether you came home from work and found your beloved pet passed away. Or maybe you knew and were there at home until they took their last breath. We also find ourselves having to make that dreadful decision to give our pet the last selfless gift we can give when they are suffering. It’s hard no matter which way you look at it. You will find yourself doubting your choices. Keep focused. You did the things you did because you know your pet and what they needed.
Sometimes we lose our pets through a tragedy. Unexpected and start wondering what we could have done differently. There is nothing you could have done. You need to keep the grieving process going until you can accept what has happened.
You Need To Start Reasoning
The best thing you can do is to allow yourself to feel the grief as it manifests in you. Resisting it only will prolong the natural process of healing. You may find yourself asking these things over and over:
- Maybe I should have got a second opinion
- Maybe I should have done something sooner
- I could have been better or spent more time with your pet
This is also a natural reaction when we lose someone we love. Eventually, that will subside.
There are two types of depression that are associated with mourning. According to the Psych central Website. You click on either link to read more on depression and the two types associated with grieving. It is best to seek out some professional help.
Talk to others who have lost their pets. A journal can help as well. Learn About: Depression Symptoms and how to manage them better. They have a quiz you take on the page as well. Talk to a professional or a doctor. Remember your pain is real. Even though they are a pet, they are your best friend and family. Don’t be afraid to reach out to family or friends.
This phase of grieving can make you feel withdrawn and a more calm feeling. This is not a period of happiness and must be separated from depression. You need to accept things you could not have changed. You need to set yourself free from any guilt or regret.
I found by doing something in their name whether it is by making a plaque or plant a tree. It can help you feel better. Once you have accepted everything you could not have ever changed. You will start to be move on from this feeling of guilt or regret. It’s a beautiful feeling once your there. It doesn’t mean your forgetting, you’re just learning how to treasure the memories you still have.
If You Know Someone That Just Lost Their Pet
You can read our other article on saying goodbye and sometimes hearing another story will help you. Everyone goes through grief differently. When a pet dies we feel alone. You need to surround yourself with people that understand this was not just a cat or dog you lost. It was your best friend.
If you know someone that has recently lost a pet you can share this article with them and let them know you’re there for them through all these stages of grief they will go through. Have patience and listen to them. Sometimes that is all a person needs besides a hug.
A gesture or a card may work too. Take them out for lunch or coffee. It can make the healing process move more quickly. You may want to read our other blog article about senior dog care if you still have a senior dog in your care. Making them comfortable in the end can make all the difference.