It’s natural to hurt and cry. It’s natural to feel lost and scared. Just remember that you have that pet love and they loved you. Focus on the best memories and don’t forget them.
Losing a pet is an incredibly difficult time, whether it is an expected passing or a sudden one. If your pet had an ongoing illness you may already have a plan in place, but life never runs smoothly. Anyone struggling with the grief of losing a pet can speak to their veterinarian for advice and lean on friends and relatives for support.
An expected passing
Your dog may have a long-term illness or have suffered an accident that there are few treatment options for. No doubt you will have discussed the possibility that euthanasia may be the kindest option. In this case, your veterinarian will talk you through the entire process, so you will know each step and what to expect.
You will be able to spend a few moments with your dog to say goodbye before the veterinary team delivers drugs that will place your dog into a gentle sleep before they pass away. The procedure is painless, just like laying down to take a nap.
The surgery can arrange for cremation if that is your preferred option and you will be able to collect your dog’s ashes to scatter them or keep them at home. Cremation is more expensive than other options, however, you can opt to have some of your dog’s ashes stored in a piece of jewelry or a keepsake.
Alternatively, your local vet can help to organize a burial at a pet cemetery. You may be able to bury your dog at home, provided you own it. It is illegal to bury an animal on land you do not own or in a public place.
A sudden passing
If your dog’s passing was unexpected you probably have a lot of questions and will be feeling quite overwhelmed. This is perfectly understandable. Write down any questions you have and give them to your veterinarian. They are well placed to give you advice and support.
It can be difficult not having the chance to say goodbye, but a sudden loss means your dog will not be suffering.
Dealing with grief
Creating a memorial is a wonderful way of remembering your dog to say goodbye and to create a place where you can go whenever you are missing them. Your memorial could be planting a flower bed or tree, reciting a poem or leaving flowers at a spot on your dog’s favorite walk.
Choose one or two of your favorite photographs and have them printed and framed by a photography company. This will give you something to keep in the home to remind you of your beloved pet.
Contact your local pet bereavement service. Many animal charities have such services or you can search online. There are also lots of wonderful, supportive social media forums for people who have experienced similar losses where you can talk and share your feelings. Do not feel ashamed or embarrassed asking for help. Grief is a difficult process and you should not do it alone.
Take some time to grieve your dog before considering getting a new one. Having that empty space in your life may feel strange at first, but you should be sure that you have recovered from your loss before bringing a new dog into your life.