When a dog dies, it is extremely sad. Pets play a large role in their owners’ lives. Animals provide companionship, loyalty and emotional support to everyone, particularly those who don’t have that around them in human form. People consider their pets as part of their family with some even holding pictures of them in their wallets or purses and holding birthday parties. It is important to find a way that the memories of your pets bring you happiness rather than tears.
The grieving process for a dog owner is hard. Everyone’s grieving process is different in nature and lasts for different amounts of time, with some people healing weeks after their pets death and some years. The first step in the grieving process is denial. Denial offers protection until the realisation of your pets death sets in, Some people attempt to bargain with a higher power, themselves or even their dead dog to bring him or her back to life. Some feel anger which can be directed at anyone involved with the pet including their partner, their vet or children. You are also likely to question yourself through this time about what you did or did not do. After these feelings subside, pet caregivers may become withdrawn or depressed. Acceptance occurs when the pet caregiver accepts their dogs death and remembers them with a decreasing sense of sadness.
Children also feel a sense of loss as this may even be their first death in the family. They too might blame themselves, their parents or the vet for not saving their pet from the inevitable. Children may also feel guilty or frightened that others they love might too get taken from them. It is not recommended that you tell your children their dog ran away as this may make your children feel betrayed when they find out the truth. By expressing grief, you teach your children that it is ok to be sad and help them through their feelings.
Seniors who live alone with a pet may find this difficult time particularly hard as they lose a sense of purpose, trigger painful memories of other losses and or even remind themselves of their own mortality. The decision to purchase another pet by the senior is then difficult as they may even feel like their new pet will outlive them or is not compatible with their physical or financial abilities. It is important that seniors reach out to loved ones, a pet calling a pet-loss support hotline, even volunteering at a local humane society.
Surviving pets may too feel emotional after your pets death. They may whimper, refuse to eat or drink and even suffer lethargy. Even if they weren’t the closest of friends with the deceased pet, the change in circumstances and your emotional state. If your other pet acts out i.e. becomes aggressive, start scratching or biting your or other residence in your house, I suggest you visit a vet as this may be a medical condition.
As each animal has their own unique personality I would suggest giving it a little more time before you rush to get another pet. Pay close attention to your feelings and the feelings of those around you in this difficult situation. Be sure everyone is ready to move on.
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