Pet Bereavement


Dealing with a Pet Death

When we have an animal in our life they become part of the family and their departure through pet bereavement can leave us feeling bereft. This is a common experience for many people because we attach emotionally to animals and care for them as one of the family.

It is important to recognise that feelings of sadness, anger, guilt, shock, or despair aren’t just reserved for human bereavement, we can experience them just as powerfully in relation to a beloved pet. Sometimes more powerfully as we have a strong emotional investment in our animals. Losing them and dealing with a pet death is a painful experience.

It is important to take the time and space to work through the grieving process, and you may need extra support at this time. Sadly not everyone will understand, maybe those who haven’t had their own close relationship with a special animal for example. This could make you feel you are over reacting, or being silly, which could deter you from confiding in family and friends. Please be reassured that what you are going through is a legitimate form of grief.

It is common to support a companion animal through a long period of illness prior to the end, and sometimes also have to make the difficult decision about euthanasia. This can cause its own stress, perhaps feelings of guilt or powerlessness as the inevitable seemed to take over. It is easy to feel ill prepared for the range of emotions that can affect us.


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