Losing a beloved pet dog can be an incredibly painful experience. Dogs provide us with unconditional love and become part of our family. When they pass away, it’s normal to feel deep sadness. Sometimes the sadness can be for an indefinite period and the grief can seem overwhelming, but healthy ways to cope with the loss exist. The pain will become more manageable with time and support, though you may always miss them.
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Allow Yourself to Grieve
Allow yourself to feel sadness, anger, guilt, or emotions. Don’t bottle them up or listen to others who may say that losing a pet is not equally as bad as losing a family member. Your feelings are valid, and grieving is a natural response. You don’t need to feel ashamed about losing your dog. Talk to people who understand what you’re going through. Let others comfort and support you. Speaking to a grief counselor or pet loss support group can help you work through intense emotions. Connecting with others who have had similar experiences can help combat feelings of isolation and provide consolation. Your vet may be able to provide information on pet loss support hotlines, groups, and therapists.
Create a Memorial
Create a memorial space with your dog’s photos, collar, favorite toys, or other mementos. It can help with the grieving process. Compiling memories of good times with your dog in a scrapbook can help you work through your grief. Have a special piece of jewelry, artwork, or other item made in your dog’s memory. It could be something that you can wear daily, to always have them around you. Reminiscing about happy times with your dog can help to ease sadness. Talk with people who knew and loved your dog. Flipping through pictures of good memories can help you start to heal. Though it may be painful, it can also be cathartic. Find ways to honor the joy they brought to your life.
Keep a Routine
Maintaining your normal routine can provide stability during this difficult time. Try to wake up, exercise, work, and engage in social activities at your usual times. Make sure to continue taking care of household responsibilities and be there for family members who are also grieving the loss. Continuing to walk, feed and engage with your other dogs at the usual times can help them adjust and provide you comfort. Engage in activities that help you relax and de-stress, like exercising, meditating, journaling, or pursuing a hobby.
Do gentle yoga, get a massage, and spend time in nature. Trying out these self-care activities will reduce stress and anxiety, and that will help you feel more at peace. Stick to a healthy diet, limit alcohol, and get enough sleep. Your physical health influences your emotional state, and you can’t let yourself go because of this huge loss.
Get Involved in a Cause
Helping animals in need can help lift your mood and provide a sense of purpose. Consider donating to an organization that helps with pet euthanasia. Nowadays with the help of the internet, you can easily find such centers for example, if you live in Boston, just search for “at-home Euthanasia in Boston” and you will find plenty of options to choose from. It can be a meaningful way to honor your pet’s memory—campaign for causes like humane treatment of animals or harsher punishment for animal abusers. Make a positive difference in the memory of your beloved dog.
Consider a New Companion
Take your time getting a new dog. Take time to grieve the loss of your companion before opening your heart to another. Providing a home for a needy dog may help you find purpose during this difficult time and they actually might help you feel better. But only do so once you’ve made peace with your loss. Appreciate new animals for their unique qualities. Your beloved dog can never truly be replaced. Don’t let others tell you how long you should grieve or when you’re ready to move on. Grief is a personal experience, and dealing with such a significant loss can take weeks, months, or years. Be gentle with yourself and allow the process to unfold. Know that it’s okay to still feel sad even after time has passed. You may always miss your dog, and that’s okay. Cherish the memories you shared and the joy they brought you.
Losing a pet dog is painful, but the heartache will become more manageable with time and effort. Be gentle with yourself, allow the grieving process to unfold, and seek help from others if needed. Honor your dog’s memory and work to heal by maintaining a routine, limiting stress, reminiscing about happy times, and eventually opening your heart to a new companion when the time feels right. Though the pain may always remain in some form, the loving memories you shared will provide comfort.