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Allow for Individual Differences
The way we grieve is as individual as we are, and failure to understand and accept our different ways can lead to hurt feelings and conflict among family members. In general, men grieve differently from women and children grieve differently from adults. If there are other pets in the household, they may be grieving too. Yet everyone’s task is the same: to come to terms with the loss. Other pets in the household may not understand what has happened to their companion, but they almost certainly will sense that something’s wrong. Pets who’ve grown up together can be just as attached to each other as we are to them.
Look First to Those Around You & Explore Community Resources
The more support and understanding you have around you, the better you will cope with your grief and the you will come to terms with your loss. Not everyone will be sensitive to your needs, especially if they’ve never loved and lost a very special pet, and if they don’t understand the function and importance of grieving. You may encounter relatives, friends or co-workers who unintentionally minimize your loss or, not wanting to see you hurt, discourage you from expressing your grief.
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Planning for the Loss of Your Pet
Why it is Best to Plan Ahead
As much as we don’t like to think about it, death and loss are natural parts of living. Sooner or later our cherished pets will grow old, become seriously ill or sustain an injury that can’t be fixed. Because the life spans of most domestic animals are naturally shorter than our own, it is quite likely that at some point each of us will experience the death of a pet, accepting that reality gives us a great deal of control over how we’ll handle the situation when it arises, because we can choose to plan ahead for it. We don’t have to wait until we’re overwhelmed with grief to think about the practical aspects of pet death and body care, and how we could best preserve and honor our pet’s memory thereafter.
Sorting Out Your Own Values & Beliefs
Facing a major loss usually causes us to confront and rethink our basic beliefs about god, religion, death and the afterlife. While some of us turn to god as a source of strength at the time of a beloved animal’s serious illness or death, others question the religious faith we grew up with. Some of us may have had no religious upbringing at all, yet still feel abandoned by god or angry with god for letting our pets get sick and die. Not all people respond to loss in the same way, and not all people share the same cultural, religious or spiritual beliefs about death, body care and the afterlife. We all have our own viewpoints on these matters.
Memorializing Your Pet
Elaborate funeral arrangements and lasting memorials have been used to honor beloved departed pets for thousands of years. Death ceremonies and rituals play an important part in meeting our social and emotional needs, helping us support one another as we come to terms with the reality of our loss. Download this PDF to view some forms of memorialization that are common amongst our customers.