World Pet Memorial Day: Coping with Loss of Your Pet
By: Jeff Noce, i4C Innovations President
Our pets bring so much to our lives: unconditional love, companionship, joy and devotion. They are there with us during all of life’s most memorable moments, both large and small. They make their way into photographs, accompany us on vacations and greet us each day when we get home. Is it any surprise, then, that they become as much a part of our families as any human?
Inevitably, though, we must eventually say good-bye. As someone who has had to make this journey with my dogs more than once, I understand how difficult it is to let them go, even when we know it’s the right thing to do.
World Pet Memorial Day, observed this year on June 9, is a day to honor and remember the loyal companions we’ve all been fortunate to share our homes and hearts with.
If you have recently lost a pet, here are some things to keep in mind as you navigate this difficult time:
Lean on those who understand
Although more and more people are beginning to understand that our companions are more than “just pets,” it may be hard for some to grasp the depth of your feelings. Instead, reach out to those who are fellow animal lovers for support, sympathy and strength.
If you don’t feel comfortable sharing with someone you know personally, look for support groups online or through your local humane society. If you need immediate support, call the free Tufts University Pet Loss Support Line at 508-839-7966.
Give yourself time
The grief process is different for everyone. For some, it may take longer than others. Don’t be tempted to think that you should just “get over it.” Give yourself permission to remember and mourn your pet in your own time and in your own way.
Create a memorial
Throughout human history, rituals and remembrances have played important roles in helping us cope with the loss of a loved one. It doesn’t matter whether your way of honoring your pet involves a ceremony, a memory book or planting a tree. There is no right or wrong. What matters is that it holds meaning for you.
Take care of yourself and others
When you’re in pain, it can be hard to rejoin the “real world.” However, sticking to your regular schedule as much as possible can go a long way in maintaining some sense of normalcy. Make sure you eat well, continue to exercise and try to rest. In addition, if you have children or other pets, caring for and guiding them may help you work through your own feelings.
While the pain of losing a beloved pet may never fully go away, with time memories of your companion will bring you comfort, peace and laughter.
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