Monday, April 26, 2010 4:07 PM

Grieving for a Lost Pet

Losing a pet, either to traumatic injury or disease, is always heartbreaking. After all, we love our companion animals just like members of our own family, which, in the truest sense, they really are. As a matter of fact, many would say that pets are more forgiving and less judgmental than family members!

The grief we experience at this loss is real as well. Those who don't understand may pooh-pooh it, but the pain we feel is very real. It is nothing to feel ashamed about, or apologize for. It is a natural byproduct of love, for which none of us should ever be sorry.

Some people who have put their pet to sleep compound their grief by second-guessing themselves. They wonder if they weren't a bit hasty, if there might not have been another alternative. Don't let this happen to you. We have within our power to end our pets' suffering, something we cannot do for human family members. We each know our pets as well as we know ourselves, so we feel it when we know that there is nothing more to do. With your veterinarian's concurrence, you ended the suffering. You did the right thing, rest assured.

If this was your only pet, you probably feel the loss more keenly than those with multi-pet households. You have no animal to comfort you, and the house seems empty. If you have other pets, you also see their confusion and grief. It's a difficult situation, but will get better with time. Cry, and think about your well-loved pet. In a few days, the sadness will time out and you will see the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. Before long, you will be remembering not the end of your pet's life, but all the good times.

That's when it is time for the ultimate grief remedy: A new pet! Visit your local shelter and bring home another animal to love. Your other pets will be a bit annoyed, but will forget their sadness, too. If you have no other pets, then you really are on a new adventure. Enjoy!
Chat later!

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Amanda has worked with animals for many years and has always had cats in her life. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two excellent cats.
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