How to Deal with the Loss of a Pet

Figuring out how to deal with the loss of a pet is difficult enough, let alone during the holiday season when pet loss grief can be even more painful and intense.  I’ll be including some help within this article about dealing with the loss of a pet in general, which I hope you’ll find helpful.  But for now, let’s discuss things you can do to remember your pet during the holidays.

How to Keep Your Pet’s Memory Alive During the Holiday Season

Professional Dog Trainer and Behavioral Specialist, Doggy Dan, wrote a beautiful blog post called, Keeping Your Dog’s Memory Alive During the Holiday Season.  I believe the tips he includes in the post can also be helpful for the loss of a cat, or any pet.  I’m using his tips here in this article.

The holiday season should be a time of fun and good cheer. But, if you’ve recently lost a pet, the idea of not having your pet around for the holidays can be extremely difficult and painful.  I agree with Doggy Dan that one of the best ways to cope with pet loss during the holiday season is to take steps to keep your pet’s memory alive in your home.  I believe our pets remain with us in spirit, and I’m quite certain pets we’ve lost are very much present during the holidays.  And they want us to be joyful, not sad.

pet loss during the holidaysHow to Remember Your Pet During the Holidays

How do you keep your pet’s memory alive? Here are a few suggestions.

1.  Give to Pets in Need.  One of the best ways to honor your pet during the holiday season is to do something to help other pets.  Read my article called, How You Can Help Your Local SPCA.  It includes a video plus a printable list of items you can donate.

2.  Continue Your Pet Traditions.  For example, if your pet always had their own stocking hanging from the mantel or their own Christmas ornament for the tree, go ahead and put them up.  This can be especially helpful for children coping with the loss of a pet.

3.  Create a Memorial for Your Pet.  You might plant an evergreen tree, or you might purchase a memorial plaque or other items as a memorial.  You can find several varieties of pet memorials here.

4.  Tell Your Favorite Stories About Your Pet.  One of the best ways to comfort ourselves when we’ve lost a pet (or any loved one), is to remember all the good times and fun and special moments we had with them.  Letting every family member (especially the kids) freely talk about the pet can help a great deal and lift the heaviness and sadness a bit.

5.  Consider Getting a New Pet.  Of course we can never replace our pets, and when their loss is still fresh, it’s difficult to even consider ever getting another pet because the pain is so intense.  But adding a new pet to your home can be one of the best ways to move forward, especially for children.

It’s important to consider whether you’re prepared to care for a new pet.  It’s a big responsibility and you should consider your finances, your availability to spend time with the pet, etc.  But if you can adopt a pet who is desperately in need of a home, it can definitely be a win-win.  For you, your family, the kids…and the new pet.  You might refer to the tips in my article, How to Choose the Right Pet – 7 Things to Consider for help with this decision.

Grieving the Loss of a Pet

Please feel free to read my article, Grieving Over the Loss of Your Pet – Comfort and Coping Tips and watch my video below for more help dealing with the loss of your pet.  You might also benefit from visiting this website which specializes in helping people cope with pet loss.

how to help an aging catRainbow Bridge Poem

One of the most helpful things anyone has done for me regarding the loss of one of my pets was when I lost my cat of 20 years.  Yes, she lived 20 years.  Because she had been with me so long, losing her was one of the most painful experiences of my life.  That’s my little sweetie in the picture.  She was around 18 years old when that picture was taken.

Anyway, when she passed away I received a sympathy card from the vet’s office.  Every staff member had signed it!  And enclosed with the card was a poem called, The Rainbow Bridge.  The poem was so moving and provided so much comfort for me.  I’m happy to provide it for you as well, and I hope it helps you as much as it helped me!

rainbow bridge poem

people loving animalsI Hope This Helped

I’m so sorry for the loss of your pet.  I’ve been there several times and I know how painful it can be.  I do hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday season and are able to include memories of your beloved pet during the holidays and always.  We never forget them, do we?  Pets leave a permanent mark on our hearts and in our lives.  It’s so important to honor them and also try to focus on the positive memories while we move through the sadness.

Please know that you will get through this.  Be strong.  And please feel free to comment below with other tips that might help fellow pet owners.  HUGS XOXO  Debra

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