Most pet carers know that companion animals bring the greatest joy to our lives, sharing unconditional love and loyalty, yet few are truly prepared for the pain experienced when a companion dies. No two pet carers will grieve the same, so never compare how you are coping to that of how someone else coped. There is no quick fix, we cannot rush through a period of bereavement, before we heal we have to experience the heartache associated with our loss. There are different types of grief, but for those grieving the loss of a pet, most will experience disenfranchised grief, a grief that not everyone will understand, accept or acknowledge.
One aspect of pet bereavement that every pet carer does relate to, is that it is a pain like no other, often more difficult to accept than the loss of a close family member like a parent, sibling or for some a child.
Grief is the price we pay for loving our companion animals, but we all find ways in which to cope with loss, some will use coping strategies they have learned and used in previous losses, whilst others seek new coping strategies as they navigate their way through their period of bereavement. You will find ways to cope and rest assured you are not going mad, but you must take care of yourself, don’t be too hard on yourself placing unrealistic expectations regarding your recovery – be patient, these intense feelings will pass, you will discover ways to honour your companion as you adjust and progress through bereavement to a new way of life.
A period of bereavement is the loneliest journey we will ever take, but with the support from Living With Pet Bereavement we will be by your side each step of the way.
Dawn Murray's new book 'An Introduction to Pet Bereavement Counselling' is now available to buy on Amazon. This is a must have reference book for anyone who supports or counsels others through pet bereavement.