Losing a Beloved Pet

Posted on August 07, 2015

While many scoff at the idea of grieving for a pet, mourning an animal that you have taken care of can be very emotional and as taxing as losing a family member (in many cases, a pet is considered a member of the family).  Whether your pet has been a part of your life for a short time or many years, it is completely natural to feel the pain of their loss—and there are many questions that may arise after losing your pet.

How much should I be grieving?  How long should I be grieving?

It is all dependent upon the person.  Some people may think grieving for a pet is irrational, but only you know how you are feeling and only you can judge what is right for you.  However, if you are experiencing overwhelming grief that is inhibiting you from performing daily activities, you may want to seek the advice of a health professional.

Comparable to losing a friend or relative, there is no set time for grief.  Take the time you need, but talk to a professional if you feel you or a loved one aren’t able to work through the emotional toll.

Are feelings of guilt normal?

Feeling guilty for the death of a pet is actually very common, it is often the owners who must choose whether or not to euthanize their pet.  After a pet has been euthanized, some people wonder if they could have done more.  Ignoring feelings of anger or guilt isn’t helpful, but assessing why you feel the way you feel, can be beneficial.

If you loved your pet, know that you took care of your pet with the best of your ability.  If after some time you are still feeling guilty or upset, find a friend or professional to help work through things.

What do I do after my pet dies?

Veterinarians will help with the disposition of your pet.  It is becoming more popular to bury or cremate a pet. Memories Pet Loss Center is an option for burial and cremation in the Cedar Valley.  Pets can be buried in a special section of Garden of Memories Cemetery (Waterloo) or they can be cremated in the center’s facilities.  Both of these options offer the same standard of care and compassion shown to humans.   

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Should I get another pet?

Since every person grieves differently, this is something each person must measure for themselves.  If after a period of time you feel you would benefit from a new companion, then consider looking into adoption.  There are many shelters and adoption facilities which allow you to interact with an animal before making a decision.  See how you feel playing with a new pet, and this may tell you everything you need to know.



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