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Grieving over Pet Loss

A Healthy, but sometimes painful, Process

Grieving over pet loss is a natural phenomena that, while it may seem silly or strange to some, is actually a healthy process. Below are a few helpful things to consider about grieving over pet loss.

Many people often wonder if, when grieving over pet loss, it is best to immediately get a get a new pet. This is a difficult question to answer precisely because everyone is unique when it comes to grieving over pet loss. In general, go with your instinct, experts say. If getting a new pet immediately will help ease the pain of grieving over pet loss, well, by all means get a new pet. And have fun with it!

But, likewise, you may also be wise from a mental health perspective to allow some time before bring a new pet into your home. Allowing a few weeks between the loss of a pet and getting a new one, will give the new pet a better opportunity to generate new memories not associated with the former pet. This can help with grieving over pet loss by making the two pets completely separate in the minds of the pet owner.

The loss of a beloved companion is one of the most deeply felt.Over the years some traditions have developed to help pet owners who are grieving over pet loss. Perhaps the most helpful of these is the tradition of the Rainbow Bridge.

Legend has it that, when a pet dies, his spirit travels across a beautiful Rainbow Bridge to a land of playful prairies, where the pet frolics the years away with all of the other lost pets of the world. When the pet’s owner dies, then, his or her first stop on the way to heaven is that same cheerful land, where owner and pet are united once again before traveling together to Heaven. 

The Rainbow Bridge story can certainly help people, particularly children, who are grieving over pet loss. Another tradition to help grieving over pet loss is that of pet funerals. Because pets are often feel much like our best friends in the world, it is fitting, and healthy, to give them a send off befitting a friend.

Pet funerals are occasionally quite elaborate affairs such as those staged for some well known pet stars such as Lassie and Benji who became famous on television and in the movies. But they do not necessarily have to be elaborate. A small gathering of family and friends who knew the pet and are supportive of the pet owners grieving process is enough to help with grieving over pet loss. The gathering can be staged, very simply, in a backyard with the attendees each asked to share a nice story about the pet.

After a pet has been lain to rest, it is not uncommon for the family to feel a void in their homes. For this reason, a pet remembrance can help keep the companion animal's memory alive, and close for comfort. Some families utilize a pet cremation urn (if the pet has been cremated), as an indoor memorial. The great variety of styles available can help create a traditional remembrance, or offer a sculptural piece that does not have the appearance of an urn.  Alternatively, some prefer a keepsake that will keep their pet's memory close at all times. Cremation pendants, such as Pet Urn Necklaces, offer a keepsake that can hold a small token (such as fur, cremation ash, or earth from a special place or grave site) near the heart at all times, and comfort - literally - at one's fingertips. Creating a permanent tribute if the pet is interred, such as a pet grave marker or even memorial rock, can offer a permanent place that the family can visit when they feel the need to be close to their companion. These are just a few of the many options available for creating traditional, modern, or even discreet pet tributes.

Whatever steps one takes in grieving over pet loss, it’s important to keep in mind that feeling sad about the loss of a pet is natural and healthy. Acknowledging sad feelings, and then acting on them in whatever matter seems most fitting is the best path to healthy grieving.

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