Anyone who considers a pet a beloved friend, companion, or family member knows the intense pain that accompanies their loss. The grief is real, and it deserves to be recognized as such. It’s essential to be honest about your feelings. It can be helpful to seek social support from people you know who will understand and sympathize rather than judge, as society may not realize just how impactful pet loss can be. Everyone grieves differently, and the level of grief you feel depends on factors such as your age and personality, the age of your pet, and the circumstances of death. If extra help is needed, there are pet loss counselors, online forums, and support groups available.
The stress of losing a pet can quickly deplete your energy and emotional reserves. Looking after your physical and emotional needs will help you get through this difficult time. Spend time face to face with people who care about you, eat a healthy diet, get plenty of sleep, and exercise regularly to release endorphins and help boost your mood. Remember that there are healthy ways to cope with the pain, come to terms with your grief, and when the time is right, perhaps even open your heart to another animal companion. Plains Area Mental Health takes pride in treating the whole person by assessing both mental health conditions as well as substance use disorder conditions. Call one of our offices today or take our free online assessment found on this website.
P.S. The stages of grief proposed by Elizabeth Kübler-Ross can be adapted to the grief process for the death of a pet.