As a “Mom” of four rescue cats and growing up with dogs as part of my family, I have a special soft spot for pet bereavement. I do not think that there is enough attention or services for those grieving and mourning the loss of a beloved pet. For many, pets are our special companions, who give nothing but unconditional love and comfort. So, it is natural that you may feel intense grief if your pet dies. Animals can also be our eyes, ears and limbs as well as our working partners. They are a part of our daily living. This is a very special dynamic, unlike any other.
Often well-intentioned people will dismiss or minimize the death of a pet. For example, “it was only a cat, get over it”. Well, nothing can be further from the truth. Did you know that some people grieve and mourn more for animals rather than some humans, based on connection? Your heart is broken and your life may be shattered with the passing of your pet friend. Although there are some similarities, there are also remarkable differences, when it comes to grieving an animal. You may not be receiving helpful or supportive messages from friends, family, co-workers, those in the medical field, about your pet dying. People often do not know how to react or what to say.
You have the right to be in a supportive, non-judgmental, safe environment to grieve and mourn your pet. Through our work, we can go through this process together. I can assist in answering any questions you may have surrounding your experiences. I can provide education and practical suggestions. We will learn about what the cycle of grieving/mourning a pet involves, how it may affect your life and how to cope and manage. We will focus on caring for you and your needs. I would like to add that it is not uncommon for the death of a pet to trigger depression, sadness, anxiety, isolation, loneliness, trauma, guilt, and anger as well as memories of other losses. Through my mental health training, I am equipped to work with you if any of the aforementioned arises.
We will never forget or “get over” our pet. We will carry them in our memories, hearts and minds. They teach us so much about caring and unconditional love. In time, you can feel alive again, living your life and honoring your pet in wonderful ways. I imagine your pet would want this for you.
I am a member of the Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement and I consider Dr. Wallace Sife, the founder of said group to be an inspiration. He is also a pioneer in the field of pet bereavement. My background in grief and loss also assists, if more complicated matters come up while you are going through your mourning. I will be there for you. I am located in Buffalo/Williamsville, NY. Please feel free to reach out.
An excellent, down-to-earth book about coping with the death of a pet is:
Sife, Wallace (2014) The Loss of a Pet: A Guide to Coping with the Grieving Process when a Pet Dies, Fourth Edition. Howell Book House