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How to deal with the loss of a pet

Written by Sam

At TastyBone, we’re all pet owners. Because of this, we know that losing a dog can be one of the hardest things a person can go through. The love we have for our pets is similar to that of a child and many people struggle in silence when they have to say goodbye to their close companion. If you’ve recently gone through a loss and aren’t quite sure what to do next, read on. 

Allow yourself to grieve

When someone important to you passes away, it’s important that you allow yourself to grieve. The grieving process is completely normal and it’s not shameful to mourn the loss of something you loved with your whole heart. Pets are incredibly precious members of the family so it’s natural to feel heartbroken. 

Accept support from those around you 

In times of grief, lean on those around you. Talking about your feelings and letting people comfort you will go a long way towards healing your heart. We all need a shoulder to cry on every now and then and there’s absolutely no shame in that. It’s what makes us human.

Cherish the memories you had together

The memory of all those walks you went on together and all those cuddles you shared need to be cherished. It might be painful to think or talk about your pet at first but the pain won’t always cut quite so deep. One day you’ll be able to think back on the times you had and smile. 

Don’t try to replace your pet

Sometimes, when we lose a pet, we rush into adopting another as a way to distract ourselves from the pain. While this is completely understandable, the love you had for your pet is unique and can’t be transferred from one dog to another. Broken hearts need time to mend before they can truly love again.

Consider having a keepsake made

Many pet owners whose pets have passed away have keepsakes made as a way to honour their memory. Keepsake ideas include personalised jewellery, key rings, ornaments, portraits and more. A keepsake is almost like a memory you can hold in one hand and many grieving pet owners find comfort in this.  

Pick up a new hobby 

Grief can be all consuming at times but it’s crucial that you still find time for yourself. Taking up a new hobby will help keep your mind off things and align your focus on something productive. Many people discover skills and talents they never knew they had. 

Try to keep up your daily routine 

If you used to walk your dog every day at the same time, carry on going out for these walks. Exercise is good for the soul as well as the body. Keeping your routine consistent will help keep other aspects of your life ticking along. 

Find someone to talk to 

Grief affects people in different ways and some may struggle more than others. If you’re finding it hard to carry on, consider speaking to a professional, like a grief counselor.  

When you’re ready, consider expanding your family 

The grieving process is different for everyone. Once you feel like you’ve processed your pain and are starting to find joy again in everyday life, it may be time to start thinking about bringing a new pet home. This isn’t to replace the pet you lost, but to open your heart up to a new pooch to love. Dog people are often dog people for life and there are plenty of dogs out there in need of a loving home.

Understand, it’s all just part of the process

The happiness dogs bring to our lives is immeasurable. They are a thing of true beauty and pure of heart in every way. But life has a process and we ultimately have to be accepting of that. In the wise words of Marjorie Garber:

“If you have a dog, you will most likely outlive it; to get a dog is to open yourself to profound joy and, prospectively, to equally profound sadness.”