Archive for January, 2017

By H. Davis

Given the emotional bond most of us share with our animals, it’s only natural to feel devastated and filled with grief along with sadness after losing them. When a person you love passes away, for instance, it’s common for family and friends to console you and provide comfort. Unfortunately, although the emotional aspect is generally understood, society often forgets how tremendously complex grief and loss can be. Believe it or not, some people still don’t understand how central animals can be in people’s lives, and a few may not get why you’re grieving over “just a pet.”

 

Losing an animal is a thought most pet owners never want to think about, but unfortunately, must deal with at some point and time. While some people may not understand the depth of feelings you had for your pet, you should never feel guilty or ashamed about grieving for your animal friend. Instead, use this moment to help cope with the loss by comforting yourself, and begin the process of slowly moving on.

 

Understand Grief After the Death of Your Best Friend

 

Allow yourself to cry. In general, adults don’t like to cry in public, and we don’t like to share how we’re feeling. But bottling up your emotions is not a good for you, and could even make things worse by slowing down the recovering process. It’s important to remind yourself that loving a pet is no different from loving a person, and when you lose your pet, it’s normal for you to feel sad. Your feelings are not wrong, and you need time to work through your grief.

 

The grief process is as individual as the person, lasting days on end for one person, and years for another. The process typically begins with denial, which offers protection until the individual can realize their loss. Don’t try to minimize the bond you and your pet once shared. No matter what other people might say or think, I strongly believe your pet loved you just as much as you loved him/her. Let yourself believe this, too, and don’t rush to “move on.” After all, if it was the other way around, your pet would show clinical signs of mourning in your loss.

 

Seek out support. This is a great time to reach out to friends. The pet-loving people in your life understand what you’re going through and they’ll be there for you. Don’t be shy about talking with people who care about you and who will offer genuine sympathy. Asking for help is a great way to gather a support group. In other words, if you can’t deal with picking up your pet’s ashes or packing up their toys, ask a friend to help. If you need more support than friends can give, believe it or not, your veterinarian may be able to help you find a pet-loss support group or hotline to contact. There are also pet-centered websites for memorials, some which have staffed pet-loss support chat rooms. Try seeking the sites out.

 

Creating a new direction. This isn’t the fastest process, not a goal to reach quickly as possible, and but be advised that this is something that’s healthy for you. The task might even involve getting a new dog or other pet, perhaps the same breed or a different one. It might also mean volunteering at a shelter, or traveling to places you weren’t able to with your dog.

 

In addition to this, if your dog experienced behavioral issues, you might feel guilty about seeing this as an opportunity. But it’s also a realistic truth. The final task listed is about moving on and exploring new options for your life now that your situation has changed, but also holding your dog in a special place in your heart.

 

Make plans for a memorial. Whether it’s planting a tree, donating to animal shelters, or making a scrapbook. Whatever the case maybe, you’ll know what works for you. There are many options when it comes to planning a memorial. For example, if you want something simple and private, invite close friends and other pet lovers to host a small event. It’s about what you feel comfortable doing. By doing something positive during this time of sadness, we expand our focus by celebrating the life of the pet. Activities which may help pet owners include:

 

  • Planting a tree or flowers
  • Holding a funeral, or memorial service for your best friend.
  • Drawing a picture, or making a sculpture of your pet.
  • Framing a photograph

 

Take time off. While most private sector employees get paid bereavement time off, that time rarely extends to the loss of a pet. Still, you should take a day or two off from work in order to regain your sense of equilibrium. If your boss is a pet owner themselves, explain your situation to him/her, or simply just take a sick day. No explanation necessary.

 

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Thanks for the read. I’m curious to know, what are some other ways pet-owners can cope with the loss of their four-legged best friend? Feel free to leave comments below. Thanks!

H. Davis is a freelance writer, who enjoys exploring the outdoors and watching baseball. If you can’t find him online, you might be able to catch him cheering on the Dodgers. Follow him on Twitter @Davis241. Thanks!

Have you heard the saying ‘If you want something to be done, give it to a busy person’? You may think that you’re far too busy for a dog, but chances are, if your life is already busy, you’re a resourceful person who understands how to make time for the things in life that really matter. It’s absolutely possible to get a dog if you have a busy life already – read on for some tips…

 

Get Organised

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You know the importance of making sure that your life is organised. There’s no better way to take excellent care of a dog than by making sure that you’re organised. There’s no need to go overboard and make up a fancy diet – what about canned dog food? The right brands are just as good as any diet that you could make up. Make sure that you add dog food to your weekly shopping list and that you’ve researched the breed before bringing your new dog home. Research is one of the key factors that will ensure a happy and settled home for your new dog right from the very first day.

 

Make A Schedule

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It’s absolutely crucial that you ensure that every member of your family pulls his or her weight. A lot of parents end up getting dogs when their kids are a little older after giving into years of persuasion, and if this is you, then you need to make sure that your children take turns looking after the dog and the responsibility doesn’t land completely on your shoulders. Obviously if your kids are a little younger this won’t be possible – no one’s advising you to give your toddler a can opener and a tin of dog food. But older kids should be able to manage small tasks like giving the dog food and water, and walking the dog around the block in the evening for a little exercise. In fact, it’s a great way to teach them how to be responsible and caring.

 

Get A Smaller Dog

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If you don’t have much time then it would be cruel and irresponsible to get a dog who’ll only be happy with a lot of attention and very long walks. It’s best to go for a smaller breed with less energy – or you could consider adopting an older dog from a pet rescue. Not only would they have less energy and just be happy to curl up in front of a warm hearth at night, but you’ll be doing something great by giving a dignified older dog some happy years towards the end of its life.

 

Be Realistic

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Make sure that you’re absolutely certain that you will have time in your life for a dog. Make sure that you’re realistic about what you can handle – a rescue dog with attachment problems will have very different needs to a young puppy, who will have very different needs to a calmer older dog. Talk to the shelter workers to make sure that the dog you’re getting will be happy in your home and that you’ll be the right owners for it.