Coping with Your Loss
Finding strength and healing through the grief process.
Saying Goodbye: Coping with the Loss of a Beloved Pet
The process of grieving is different for each person and in each situation, but make no mistake, losing a beloved animal companion is a real loss. Our pets give us so much: companionship, joy, purpose in life, and most of all, unconditional love.
If you are reading this, chances are that you have a pet approaching the end of his or her life, or know someone who does. There will be hard choices about that pet’s care and when to say goodbye to that very special friend.
Taking the Time to Grieve and Seeking Support
Many people find comfort in physical reminders of their pet. It could be a beautiful urn containing the pet’s ashes, a marker stone in the garden, photographs, or a memory book. Some find comfort in helping others, whether by donating to charities, volunteering, fostering, or opening their hearts to another animal in need of a warm, safe, loving home.
There are numerous books on grieving available, many of them mentioned on the websites listed below. Professional counseling is also a valuable resource that can help people deal with their pain.
I am listing some websites below with information on coping with pet loss. I found many others with a simple online search.
Pet Loss Support Hotlines and Websites
- PetLossHelp.org offers a list of hotlines and websites under the “Bereavement Resources” tab, as well as a “10 Common Questions” tab.
- veterinarywisdomforpetparents.com, created by Clay Paws, thoughtful and useful articles, as well as a list of resources, from printed material to counselors.
- HomeToHeaven.net is the excellent website of a home hospice and euthanasia service in Colorado. They also have a very informative site, including a section on grief with a page of quotations that will touch your heart.
- Pet-Loss.net offers articles, books, and memorial items. In addition you can read an article about the emotions of pet loss here: http://www.pet-loss.net/emotions.shtml
- The Facebook group Compassion For Canines Bereavement Group is dedicated to consoling each other on the loss of beloved dogs. Visit the group here: http://www.facebook.com/groups/2022836161164168
- Many universities have pet loss support hotlines as part of their school of veterinary medicine, including the University of Washington, University of Florida, Colorado State University Argus Institute, Tufts University, and Cornell University.
- Hotlines for grief support include ASPCA (877-GRIEF10), Lap of Love (855-955-5683), and Pet Compassion Careline (855-245-8214) provided by Final Gift, the cremation service.
- There are also hotlines such as: ASPCA: 877-GRIEF10 (877-474-3310), available from 12 pm – 12 am daily, Lap of Love: 855-955-5683, available from 7 am – 11 pm, and Pet Compassion Careline (24/7 grief support) – 855-245-8214. This is provided by Final Gift, the cremation service that cares for our patients.