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As strange as it might sound, even for those of us that have had children and grandchildren, becoming a “puppy mummy” can be life-changing. There are no creatures that are as loyal and dependent, and as genuine in their affection as dogs. As such, when you lose your four-legged friend, it can knock you for six. The grief that hits can be a lot more potent than you might expect. As such, here are some tips that can help you deal with the unexpected impact of losing a dog.
Let yourself grieve
It’s a callous person that would say that you don’t have to grieve or feel loss over the death of a beloved pet. They are members of our family, after all. However, when you lose a pet, it can feel like there is that pressure to simply “get over it.” Bottling up your emotions is not healthy, nor is wallowing in despair. It can help to talk to professionals like Pet Eden, which can help you process your emotions healthily, while still giving yourself room to grieve over your beloved pet. You deserve the freedom and space to feel what you’re feeling without judgement from others or from yourself.
Take the time to say goodbye
Once you’ve given yourself the room that you need to grieve and really feel the loss of your pet, then you need to think about how you’re going to say goodbye to them. For a lot of us, finding some way of giving them a formal farewell can really help in expressing our love and our loss. There are services like Paws To Heaven that can help you take care of all the practical aspects of them, like what happens to their physical remains, allowing you to focus more on remembering them. To that end, you might want to consider what kind of memorial you can set up for them, even if it’s something as simple as a photo gallery on your wall.
Thinking about the future
A lot of us who have lost a pet might feel a new hole open in our life after losing a dog that we have been especially fond of. Some people think to “fill” that hole by getting another dog and, indeed, that might be the way to go after some time. However, getting a new dog too quickly can invite some unpleasant feelings, such as a feeling that your new dog doesn’t compare to the one that you lost, or that you can’t cope with looking after them while still feeling sad about the loss. As such, it’s important to give yourself time. When the time does come, consider looking at adopting from shelters like PetRescue instead of buying a new dog.
Saying goodbye to your dog, finding a way to remember them, and giving yourself some room to feel the loss and cope with it is important. You have to allow yourself to go through the grieving stage or else those emotions can bottle up in an unhealthy way.