For many of us, the relationship we have with our pets may be one of the most important in our lives. Our pets are best friends, our family members, our children. The death of a loved one is never easy and for some the grief can be unbearable. Grief is a very personal experience and nobody can understand the bond that you shared with your pet.

Although the feelings can be overwhelming at times, they are there because of the deep love you shared with your pet. The very fact that you had the opportunity to experience a relationship so meaningful to you is truly a gift. So even though you are hurting now, try to see your grief as a reminder of what your pet gave to you.

Be grateful for the unconditional love they gave you, for the joy, the memories, the support, for everything they taught you while they were with you. It will be hard and it will take time, but eventually, you will transform your grief into feelings of gratitude and loving memories.

PET LOSS SUPPORT HELPLINE 1300 431 450

Give yourself permission to FEEL

The most important way to cope with the emotions you feel after the loss of your pet is ACKNOWLEDGING them. Give yourself PERMISSION TO FEEL.
Grief is a natural and healthy process, DO NOT DENY, REPRESS or IGNORE your emotions. Doing so will only prolong your suffering and can lead to mental and physical disease.
GIVE YOURSELF TIME to heal - take as much time off work as you need to.
RELEASE YOUR EMOTIONS - CRY as much as you need to, TALK about your feelings with someone you trust, WRITE/JOURNAL about how you feel, scream into a pillow if you need to. Release the emotions in any way that feels good for you.

Memorialise your pet

Memorialising your pet is a great way to help you focus on positive memories of your pet. Remembering the good times you shared can help you overcome the grief.

  • Have a ceremony or funeral for them. Ceremonies are a beautiful way to honour pets and the family members who loved them. They symbolise the transition from life with their pet to life without them. Poems can be read, and stories can be shared about precious moments of their lives and what they meant to you.
  • Create a photo tribute. Have your favourite photo of your pet beautifully framed and place it somewhere that will bring you joy every time you see it. You could also create a photo album of them.
  • Write a poem or write down your favourite memories of your pet. You could write a story about their life.
  • Write a letter to your pet and tell them how you feel and what they meant to you
  • Plant a tree or flowers in your garden for rememberence. Every time you look at the tree or flowers you will be reminded of them.
  • Post a tribute online. A lot of pet-loss support websites offer this as a free service. See links below.

Children & Grief

The loss of a pet can be especially hard for children. This may be the first experience they have with death, and they may not understand why there friend is no longer with them. It is very important to BE HONEST with them about the death of a pet. BE OPEN and allow them to COMMUNICATE their feelings. Most children cope very well if they understand what is happening and feel included.

See links below for tips and activities for helping children through grief:
https://www.veterinarywisdom.com/kids-and-grief
https://www.pet-loss.net/handouts/children-A4.pdf
https://petsandpeople.com.au/category/pet-loss-and-children/

Pet Loss + Grief Counselling

Monika Wilson
Reconnections Counselling Service
Mobile Counselling Service available on the Sunshine Coast
reconnectioncounselling.com
Ph: 0413 962 899

David Foote
Consultations available Australia-wide via phone, or face-face in Brisbane
davidfoote.com.au
Ph: 0425 281 424