Most people don't understand the loss and fail to grasp why our world has been shattered, because they think getting another pet will just replace our loss.
When we lose someone close to us, we are allowed to grieve and take our time to heal and people usually sympathize with us. But, when it comes to losing a pet, it is a different story altogether. Most people don't understand the loss and fail to grasp why our world has been shattered, because they think getting another pet will just replace our loss. That is not how it works and when people say something this insensitive, it just makes matters worse. According to PsychCentral, it's actually worse when we lose our beloved pet as compared to losing a loved one. and there are multiple reasons why the loss is so painful.
Our pets provide us with unconditional love, something that we don't get from humans. We face no doubt when it comes to how our pets feel about us. We know for sure that they love us and we are their world, unlike human relations, where there's a lot of doubt and anxiety in the relationship. We can be the way we are in front of our pets and not fear rejection. This is more than what humans can offer.
Also, being a pet owner makes us a pet-parent. We feel responsible for someone other than yourself so we go to great lengths to make sure they are comfortable and happy. It basically is like parenting a child where we do everything to make sure they're safe and content, so the loss of a pet is like the loss of a child. We open up to our pets in ways that other people may never see and when a pet goes, that goes with them, and we suddenly are left with a gaping hole in our hearts.
Our pets become our priority and relationships with humans become secondary. We change our daily activity to accommodate their needs. Our pets gave us the love and support we needed but couldn't get from other people. We get into a routine with our dogs. Taking them to the park so they can have fun becomes a fun activity and when they go, we don't know how to change the routine. We become blank and frozen, trying to cope with the loss.
We are then faced with things that complicate the grief. Guilt, for example, can make us feel worse. We wonder if it was something we did or did not do that led to the death of our pet. Was it ignorance that caused this? Did we not take good care of them? Were they in pain? All these unanswered questions cause doubt to creep into our hurt minds. It may not be necessary that our pet died a natural death, it could have been an accident or any other unforeseen circumstance, but we will end up blaming yourself for it, thinking we could have prevented it.
If our pet met with an accident, we will constantly be thinking of why it happened. Did you leave the door open, was the leash not secure? Also, people don't seem to understand why we mourn the loss of our pets. They expect us to be over it in a jiffy when that's not the reality. An unresolved loss complicates the current mourning process. It is very important to have some closure over the loss and the cause of the loss.
There are several things you can do to help yourself through the grief. The first thing is to be kind to yourself: it was not your fault. Que sera sera. No one can tell you that you've mourned enough, only you get to decide that. Take your time, and mourn all you want, till you feel better. Pressuring yourself to feel better will only make it worse. It helps to talk to someone about the loss you've just experienced, so find that one trustworthy person and talk to them.
Try to remember the lighter memories associated with your pet when you talk to your ally. Tell them about the first time you got them home, your fondest memory of them and all things that make you feel good. Also, talk about what you're going to miss the most. This helps solidify the things you want to make sure not to forget. When a human dies, we have rituals. Not so much for pets, but that should not stop you from making up your own special rituals for your pets. It helps with closure.
Slowly, as time passes, make sure you dispose of things that remind you of your loss. Start off by moving their beds and bowls to a different location, because seeing them every day can be quite painful. This helps with the transition. If you don't feel like giving them away, you can keep it locked somewhere in the house so you have a fond memory of them lingering around. Finally, memorialize your pet. Plant a tree, or erect a headstone in fond memory of your baby. Seek comfort in the fact that your pet would try to move mountains just to cheer you up if you were ever to have a bad day with them around. Take your time to heal.