Grief Support
   Grief is a normal part of loss regardless if the loved one is a person or a pet. There are many ways to work through the grief process. Grief Support can aide in the loss of a beloved pet. Like the loss of a family member or friend, it can cause physical and emotional changes that may last for weeks or months. Grief is a normal part of loss regardless if the loved one is a person or a pet. 

   Given the intense bond most of us share with our animals, it’s natural to feel devastated by feelings of grief and sadness when a pet dies. While some people may not understand the depth of feeling you had for your pet, you should never feel guilty or ashamed about grieving for an animal friend. Instead, use these healthy ways to cope with the pain.

   Grieving is a personal and highly individual experience. Some people find grief comes in stages, where they experience different feelings such as denial, anger, guilt, depression, and eventually acceptance and resolution. Others find that grief is more cyclical, coming in waves, or a series of highs and lows. The lows are likely to be deeper and longer at the beginning and then gradually become shorter and less intense as time goes by. Still, even years after a loss, a sight, a sound, or a special anniversary can spark memories that trigger a strong sense of grief.


  The grieving process happens only gradually. It can’t be forced or hurried—and there is no “normal” timetable for grieving. Some people start to feel better in weeks or months. For others, the grieving process is measured in years. Whatever your grief experience, it’s important to be patient with yourself and allow the process to naturally unfold. 
Feeling sad, frightened, or lonely is a normal reaction to the loss of a beloved pet. Exhibiting these feelings doesn’t mean you are weak, so you shouldn’t feel ashamed. Trying to ignore your pain or keep it from surfacing will only make it worse in the long run. For real healing, it is necessary to face your grief and actively deal with it. By expressing your grief, you’ll likely need less time to heal than if you withhold or “bottle up” your feelings. Write about your feelings and talk with others about them. Grief counselors are a good resource for Grief Support in dealing with your loss.



The 5 Stages of Grief

  • Denial - This can't be happening to me/my pet!​
  • Anger - Why me? This isn't fair!
  • Bargaining - If I could just have more time, find the best cure, do something to change the outcome.​
  • Depression - The grief and sadness can be overwhelming.
  • Acceptance - My pet is now in a better place or at peace.

Boy Grieving

Articles

Grief and Pet Loss by Margaret Muns DVM

Ten Tips on Coping with Pet Loss by Moira Anderson Allen, M.Ed.

Explaining Pet Loss to Children: Six Do's and Dont's by www.petplace.com

Books

Grieving the  Death of a Pet by Betty J. Carmack

When Children Grieve by John W. James, Russell Friedman, DR. Leslie Matthews

The Forever Dog by Bill Cochran, Dan Andreasen (Illustrator), (Children's book)

When Your Pet Dies: A Guid to Mourning, Remembering and Healing by Alan D. Wolfelt, PH.D. 

Links an Other Resources

  Pet Loss Support Hotline , Cornell University Collegeof Veterinary Medicine.

The Association for Pet Loss & Bereavement , Extensive resources and articles written by trained bereavement counseling volunteers.

The College of Veterinary Medicine , University of Illinois helpline and specific information on grieving, euthanasia, children and pet loss, as well as meaningful ways to memorialize your beloved animal friend. See also their page on Family Grief.

E Product Resources

  Recover From The Grief Of Pet Loss
  Grief Relief Audio Program

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