Grieving the loss of a loved one is never easy, regardless of whether they happened to have two legs or four. In the days, weeks and even months following the loss of a pet, there are often a number of questions that arise. And while grief is truly a unique and personal experience, there are several commonalities that can be found amongst the bereft. If you’re struggling with your emotions over the recent passing of your furry family member, here are some answers to five commonly asked questions that may bring you comfort and peace.
Did I make the right decision?
If you chose to have your pet euthanized, you may be experiencing feelings of guilt and regret. It’s not uncommon to question whether or not it was the right decision. The truth is, if your pet was in pain or was no longer enjoying a good quality of life, then humanely putting an end to his or her suffering was absolutely the right thing to do. Furthermore, your vet wouldn’t have agreed to euthanize unless it was the best possible option, so take comfort in that.
Are these feelings normal?
Many people wonder if their feelings of overwhelming grief and sadness over the loss of a furry, feathered or scaly family member are normal. After all, it was an animal, not a person. But scientists and psychologists alike say that grieving the loss of a pet can just as intense and as lengthy as when a significant person in our life passes away. So, yes, the emotions you are experiencing are completely normal, and even healthy.
When will I start feeling better?
As mentioned, grieving is a deeply personal process. As such, no two people will have the same experience. Some people may be capable of reaching the acceptance stage in days or weeks, when for others, it may take months or even years. The good news is, over time, those feelings of raw pain and overwhelming grief will begin to recede and the sorrow you feel will one day be replaced with happy memories. You may also find that the emotions you’re experiencing ebb and flow. This is perfectly normal as well.
What should I do with my pet’s remains?
Just as the grieving process is unique to each person, so is the decision on what to do with your pet’s remains. For some, cremation is preferred, while others would rather bury their beloved pet. If you choose cremation, there are lots of options available to you. For instance, you could scatter the ashes, keep them in an urn or even have them turned into a piece of memorial art or pet ashes jewelry. Give yourself time to think over all your options before you make a decision.
Should I get a new pet?
Again, every situation is different. Some people find that adopting a new pet right away helps with the grieving process. For others, it’s better to give it time and work through the grieving process before welcoming a new family member. There’s no right or wrong answer to this question, but here are a few tips that may make the decision-making process a little bit more straightforward.
Pets are more than just animals who share our homes. They are a special part of the family. And while grieving the loss of a loved one is something each person experiences on an individual level, knowing the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions can help make the process a little bit easier. We hope the Q&A above provides some clarity and comfort to you during this challenging time.