Anyone who has had a pet can tell you that the loss of a pet can be devastating. A pet is with you every day of your life and shares some of your most intimate moments.
Learning how to mourn the loss of a dog is not ideal but preparing for the worst can take a loss and turn it into a celebration of life.
Continue reading below to learn how to deal with the loss of a dog.
How to Mourn the Loss of a Dog
When we think of all the good times we’ve had with our dogs, it’s hard to think of that time ever ending. But for most of us, our dogs will leave this Earth before we do.
It’s not a very comfortable thought but preparing yourself and those around you for the time when Fido might not be around anymore is key. Here are some things you can do to make sure you are prepared for the loss of a dog.
Set Aside Time to Mourn
Between work or school and socializing, you might not have a lot of time to spare. How many of us find it hard to simply sit down and read sometimes?
But if you’re suffering from the loss of a pet, you need to set this time aside. Even if you have one hundred bullet points of your to-do list, make certain that one of those points is to stop and think about the friend you have lost.
At first, you’ll want to do this every day. It’s important that you take this time to grieve otherwise you can find your feelings popping at stressful times throughout your day. Taking the time now to remember your pet will help reduce your pain later. And setting aside specific time to allow yourself to mourn will keep it from affecting your day to day life.
The stages of grief are real, so make sure you understand that these stages are completely normal:
Remember the Good Times
A dog’s death is not all pain and sorrow. While you’ll miss your pet, you can still take the time to remember the great times you’ve had together.
One way of doing this is to start a memory journal. This is a journal where you write down the good times.
It is common to want to write about how bad you’re feeling. You’ll want to write about the grief and pain, but it’s important that you write the positive memories you have in your memory journal.
This is a physical place for you to keep your good memories of your dog. Through taking the time to remember the good times, you will experience the loss of your dog with gratitude for the time you two shared together.
While feelings of pain and grief are completely natural when dealing with the death of a loved one, the memory journal is not the place to put those feelings. Memory journals are for looking back fondly on the time you shared with your dog.
Take Physical Care of Yourself
Grieving can be taxing on your body. This is compounded by the fact that many people report a loss of appetite when they experience such a loss. You need to make sure that you are taking care of your body by eating well even though you may not feel like doing so.
Many people in grief experience disturbed sleep. This can be worse if you’ve lost one of your cuddle partners. Remember to keep to your normal bedtime. You may have a hard time falling asleep but keeping to your normal bedtime and any pre bed routines can help maintain some normalcy in this tumultuous time.
Just like sticking to your normal bedtime, keeping to your normal routines can help you get back to normal faster. If your routine was to come home from work and take the dog out for a walk, be sure to still get that walk in even if it’s by yourself. Sticking to your routine can help keep you on track as you’re dealing with your grief.
If you have other pets in the house, they will certainly be affected by the loss of their friend as well. Keeping a routine can help them out as well. Animals crave structure and sticking to routines can help break you out of the grief you’re feeling.
It’s difficult to say goodbye to our friends, but it’s a large part of the mourning process. Something that can help in this process is having a place or thing to memorialize them. This could be a statue in their favorite sunny spot in your garden. Or it could be having their preserved remains over your mantle.
Whichever way you choose to memorialize them, a physical representation can be a crucial step in letting go of your grief.
Ask for Help
Lastly, if you are feeling overcome with grief, simply ask for help. Your friends or family would certainly be there for you to talk to in this time of need.
They may simply be there to listen to you over a cup of coffee. They may want to walk with you on the normal route you and your pet used to walk. Whatever small step it is, the people closest to you are your support group. They want to know that you are dealing with this loss in a healthy way.
If you feel that your grief is too much to bear, you should seek professional help, but remember that there are groups on social media and other forums with people going through the same experience. These groups are formed to help assist others with how to mourn the loss of a dog. These groups can be a fantastic resource if you are not ready to ask those around you for help.
Mourning the loss of a dog is a very important step in your relationship. It’s not the best part but dealing with your loss healthily is the only way to gain back some normalcy.