How Do You Cope With the Loss of a Pet?

George - Coping With Pet Loss
Sharon Marr via Facebook
After the passing of her dog, Sharon Marr fostered a mama dog and her litter. When one of the puppies didn't find a forever home, she adopted him. George is now 6 years old.

On Welcoming a New Pet

“I had to have my previous dog put to sleep at the age of 6 due to bone cancer, totally unexpectedly. The only way I could cope with the loss was to get another dog straight away. I found a 2 1/2-year-old Boxer, who her owners couldn't keep, and it took my mind off the pain. My previous dog has not been forgotten, but after two years’ absence and the lovely dog I have now, it helped me through that very difficult time. It might not work with others, but it certainly helped me.” — Maryse Acriviadis

“I was a fur baby foster mom, and when my own Babygirl passed away, I fostered a mama dog and her litter. I ended up adopting one of the puppies who didn't find a forever home.” — Sharon Marr

On Support

“Find people who understand your pet was not 'just a cat' but a family member, or quite possibly your best friend. It's only with those people that you can freely express the depth of your loss and grief and won't hear things like, 'she had a good life,' and 'she lived a long time.' Both may be true, but however long the life, it will never be long enough. Don't be afraid to cry, alone or with someone. Don't let other people tell you how, or for how long, to grieve. Don't feel as if you must go out and get another pet immediately, unless you are pretty sure it will help heal you (it wouldn't be fair to the new pet if it turns out you're not emotionally ready for a new one). Take care of yourself emotionally and physically — eat well, exercise, try to find things to make you laugh. And speaking only from my own experience, don't think that not missing your pet just about every waking moment doesn't mean that you are forgetting about them or that you love them any less. It just means that you're going through a healthy grieving process where you have to not think about them every moment. Moving on with life is not leaving the pet behind, it's just creating a necessary balance with your new normal.” — Diane Johnson

“Remind people to talk about it. Find someone, either family or a friend, even a stranger who has gone through it. It always helps to talk. Don't immediately come home and put everything away that reminds you of them, especially if you have other pets. Pets grieve, too. Everyone needs the time to process their emotions." — Angela Oliver Burke

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