Do you feel lost and lonely without your loyal companion?
The loss of a pet is very much a grieving experience. The emotional bonds formed with a pet often exceed the bonds formed with other people in a person's life. Many people think of their pets as very special companions, best friends or a family member and the love experienced with a pet is often expressed as unconditional love and acceptance. When a pet dies, disappears or must be given away, the loss can be devastating.
With nearly half* of UK adults owning a pet, you would think that there would be a tremendous amount of resources for those who have lost pets but pet loss is an often discounted grief by society. It is frequently the case that friends and even family are unable to understand the intensity of our grief and sadly, this often makes many pet grievers isolate from human contact for fear they will be judged.
If you've found yourself almost inconsolable after the loss of a pet, please know that it is completely normal to feel a great deal of sadness. Grief is the normal and natural human reaction to any change or end that occurs in life and the loss of a pet can be an enormously emotional loss experience.
We understand the grief and sadness that the loss of a beloved pet can leave. Come and talk to us.
Helping children with pet loss
Losing a pet can be very hard for children. Often, it will be their first experience of death and it can be difficult for them to understand what’s happened to their friend.
Younger children may not have much understanding of death, older children will have more of an understanding but all will miss their pet being around, will be aware when parents and family members are upset at the loss and will want to ask questions.
These questions might be hard for you to answer, but it’s important to answer them as openly and as honestly as you can.
If you've lost a pet, don't rush into getting another one. It might feel like that will help you and your children cope with their loss but it can also delay the healing process or even trigger other confusing emotions. It’s better to wait until the whole family is ready and excited to welcome another pet into the family.
Get in touch
If you, someone you know or your child is struggling with loss and experiencing grief due to the death of a pet, come and talk to us.
We can guide you and/or your child to help come to terms with your loss and 'complete your relationship' with your special friend, so that you can enjoy your fond memories of the lifetime you shared, rather than reliving those moments related to the loss alone.
It allows you to take emotional action on the loss, which will put you in a far better situation with any future pet you may choose to later adopt and it gives you a chance to form a new and independent relationship with a new pet, rather than being in the situation of 'replacing' your loss.
Grief Recovery for pet loss courses
For Grief Recovery For Pet Loss Courses for pet owners, veterinarians and other professionals, please see our Courses and Events page to find out if there is a course running near you. Alternatively, please contact Jill Frampton on 07922 529595 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss individual grief recovery options or bespoke courses tailored to specific staff and training requirements.
*PDSA PAW REPORT 2018 -
The Grief Recovery Method®: Pet Loss: The Often Discounted Grief -
The Grief Recovery Handbook for Pet Loss - Russel Friedman, Cole James and John W James, The Grief Recovery Method® Taylor Trade Publishing ISBN 978-1-63076-014-4