Mindfulness

The loss of a pet

I’m sitting at my desk writing this article and there’s something missing.

There isn’t the purring noise from my little four-legged best friend curled up on her chair next to me as I type, she’s gone now and she’s not coming back. I would like to think that she is chasing mice and climbing trees beyond the pearly gates.

It would be understandable to assume that after losing 1 dog, 4 cats and 6 rabbits I would be able to cope better with the recent passing of my pet … but I’ve struggled and I’m not ashamed to admit it. I miss all my pets but I don’t miss the chewed shoes, the dead mice or a rabbit hole sending me on a mission to find the little escapee. I miss their companionship and their little faces when I talked to them. The tilt of the head, the giving of their paw or the licking of my hand like there’s no tomorrow.

Coping with the grief of losing your pet is difficult. It’s natural to feel devastated and the pain of loss can be overwhelming. There are many factors connected to how someone grieves over the loss of a pet:

  • Their age
  • Their personality
  • The age of the pet
  • The circumstances of death
  • The feelings of guilt, anger, shock or loneliness

Some people may never understand the love you have for your pet but you shouldn’t feel embarrassed to express emotion. It wasn’t ‘just a dog, just a cat or just a rabbit’. It was a family member that you lost.

As I have found out, one of the most important things when losing something you love is to look after yourself. The stress of losing something you cherish can be very emotional and exhausting.

The experts say:

  • Try to get plenty of sleep – easier said than done when you keep dreaming about your pet
  • Eat a healthy diet – challenging when all you want to do is sit and cry whilst eating junk food
  • Exercise on a regular basis – the last thing I wanted to do was walk or run down my street and burst into to tears

This all sounds dramatic but it’s the truth.

However, the above are all important things to aim for – sleep, a healthy diet and exercise will help you become stronger and heal.

Don’t ignore the intense emotions or keep the pain locked inside from the loss of your pet, I’m not and I couldn’t if wanted to.

  • Don’t be ashamed to cry – for me I have no choice, it just happens
  • Talk to others who have lost their pets – it does really help, they understand your loss
  • Seek professional help if you are struggling to cope – it’s a good option and my pet insurance offered that service for free!

Keep the memories alive!

  • Create a legacy – we have a rock in the garden with our cat’s name on it and have a little wooden plaque hanging in her favourite place where she sat in the lounge behind the curtain hiding, ready to pounce!
  • Rituals can help – a family funeral can be a good idea. Bringing the family together, sharing your feelings and saying goodbye to your pet
  • Care for your other pets – I don’t have any other pets now but if I did, I would make sure they were loved and comforted even more than normal because some animals mourn the loss of another animal

Things have changed since the last time I lost a pet, there’s insurance for starters. I was pleasantly surprised how helpful and sympathetic the insurance company were. I was touched when I received a card of condolence from the vet with a sachet of ‘Forget me not’ flower seeds.

I opted to have our cat cremated and a week after she passed I went to the vet to pick up her ashes. They were presented in a beautiful box with a certificate of proof that it had been a sole cremation. I can’t bring myself to bury her ashes in the cold ground or sprinkle her on the garden where she played. So, she sits in her lovely box on my bookshelf for the moment.

It is 5 pm now and at this point my cat would be trying to walk across my keyboard, pulling things off my noticeboard or using her paw to open the cupboard where her food was kept because it would have been her dinner time. I’m smiling with a few tears and remembering how blessed I was to have had her as my little assistant as I wrote my articles.

I am going to finish this blog article with an invitation. If you have recently lost your pet and need someone to share your thoughts with, you can contact us.

Writing is great therapy!

Best wishes,

Rachel

#specialmemories  #lovemycat  #lookafteryourself

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** The content on this site should not be used as medical advice, we are giving our readers information and insights. If you are concerned about your health or need medical advice please see your doctor. If you are struggling with any issues please talk to someone – don’t suffer in silence. **
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