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There is no way to prepare yourself for a pet loss when you’re single. This Pet Remembrance Day we are remembering all the four-legged best friends who changed our lives forever, long after they are gone. Anyone who has considered a pet to be your best friend or family member knows the intense pain that accompanies losing them. There is no easy way to heal after the loss of a pet, but here are some strategies to help you work through your mourning process at your own pace.
The grieving process when you’re single
Studies show that the death of your pet can be just as devastating as the loss of a human significant other. It isn’t easy to move on from a traumatic loss when you are single. Sometimes it seems like our relationships with dogs or cats can be even more satisfying than our human relationships because our pets provide us with unconditional, loving positive feedback. Unlike a human loss, there are no funerals, obituaries, or set rituals for how to heal from your pets death.
On average dogs can live to be 10-13 years old, which is more than enough time for them to become an integral part of your life and a huge piece of your heart. This is even truer if you were the only ones that lived together in your home. You will miss their constant presence in your daily life and the rituals that you had together. You will need to shift your routines to help you cope. For example, if you always went on walks in the morning continue to do so and add new elements to your routine, like grab a coffee or breakfast.
It is important to remember the deep love you have for your pet. Losing them is without a doubt a traumatic experience. When you react to that loss you may experience physical reactions like feeling tired all the time, general body aches, not feeling hungry, poor sleep patterns, anxiety, or loneliness. Know that all these feelings are normal and you need to work through your grief however you can.
Healthy coping mechanisms after a pet loss
A Petsies custom stuffed animal helps keep your past pet’s memory alive. Courtesy: @bondaddy IG
There are hundreds of books, studies, and articles designed to help pet owners cope with the death of their pet, but nothing truly takes the place of a friend or someone who can listen to you. One good thing to do after you have lost a pet is to reach out to others who have had or are in the same situation.
Read online message boards, articles and seek out support groups like you’ll find on the Rainbow Bridge Memory Wall. Find someone who will listen to you and sympathize with what you are going through. It may seem like you are alone in this, especially if you are single, but you are not.
It is so important to make sure that you take the time to look after yourself. The stress of losing a pet can quickly deplete your physical and emotional reserves. Eat a balanced healthy diet, make sure you get plenty of sleep, and exercise regularly to help boost your overall mood. Being grateful for the times that you had together can help you with your healing process. Even though your heartache is intense, the times you had with your dog was worth it.
Memorializing your pet is another meaningful way to honor their lives and help you continue to cope. Maybe you can hold a small private ritual or ceremony, like planting a tree in your yard or donating to a local animal shelter. You can even volunteer at a local charity in their memory. Petsies can create a custom stuffed animal that looks just like your pet that you can keep for years to come. All of these ideas will help keep their memory alive and create positive situations for you to grow through your pain.
Remembering your pet
A pet is truly a gift that can change your life and bring you monumental happiness and gratitude. You have to realize losing your pet is a significant loss, it’s going to be very real and it’s going to hurt. Finding ways to cope each day can help you remember your dog and keep their memory alive. Don’t try to ignore the pain or try to avoid it. The most important thing is to recognize that the loss of a beloved pet is a major life event that society does not always respect. Your first task is to take care of yourself.
Remember that grief has no set timeline. Everyone needs to grieve differently and for different lengths of time. Your pet was a part of your family and your heart and it will hurt, but there are ways to move forward and remember the times you had together.