The loss of a family pet affects our emotions and these feelings usually progress through several stages of grief.
Recognizing them can help us cope with the family pet loss grief we feel.
My Griffey who left us way too early!
And now we lay you down to sleep
You’re finally at rest
Our love for you we’ll always keep
You were the very best
You gave us joy for all those years
A memory for each new day
Then came the day of all my fears
The day you passed away
A part of us you took with you
And I can’t stand the pain
But when this life on earth is through
I know we’ll meet again.
The following excerpts are from the free pamphlet published in 1986 by the ALPO Petfoods and can be obtained through your veterinarian:
The loss of a family pet affects our emotions and these feelings usually progress through several stages. Recognizing them can help us cope with the family pet loss grief we feel.
The First Stage: Denial
This is the initial response of many pet owners when confronted with a pet’s terminal condition or sudden death.
The Second Stage: Bargaining
The hope that a pet might recover can foster reactions like, “If Rover recovers, I’ll never skip his regular walk . . . . never . . . .”
The Third Stage: Anger
Recognizing anger in the grief process is seldom a problem; dealing with anger often is. Anger can become “guilt” when it is internalized. Your veterinarian’s support is particularly helpful.
The fourth Stage: Grief
This is the stage of true sadness. The pet is gone, along with the guilt and anger, and only an emptiness remains. It is now that the support of family and friends is most important — and, sadly, most difficult to find.
The Proper Good-Bye
There are several options for making final arrangements for your pet. They include: Cemetery Burial, Communal Burial, Communal Cremation, Individual Cremation, or Home Burial. In Memoriam, making a donation in the animal’s memory to a worthy animal-related cause, is another way to soften the impact of your pet’s death.
The Final Stage: Resolution
All things come to an end — even grieving. As time passes, the distress dissolves as the pet owner remembers the good times, not the pet’s passing. And, “more often than not, the answer lies in a new pet, a new companion animal to fulfill the need for a pet in the household.”
Euthanasia: The Difficult Choice
For a pet-lover, no decision is more difficult than authorizing euthanasia. Yet, too often, this is the right choice for your pet.
If the Burden’s Too Heavy
Veterinary teaching institutions, in studying the human-companion animal bond, are increasing their efforts to help pet owners cope with lingering grief. Some of the teaching institutions have social workers who are specially trained to counsel pet owners. Among the most well known programs are those at:
Univer. of Calif., School of Veterinary Medicine
Davis, CA, 916-752-7418
Pet Loss Hot Line: Oct.-June, Monday-Friday, 6:30-9:30 pm;
July-Sept., Tuesday-Thursday, 916-752-4200/TTD
(Spanish by appointment or referral on local support groups.)
Family PET LOSS Grief Help Support Groups
Free at The San Francisco SPCA
Although surveys show that most people consider their pets members of the family, pet owners often feel isolated and misunderstood when coping with the death of a cherished animal companion. Recognizing the need to provide bereaved pet owners with critical support, The San Francisco SPCA continues to offer ongoing Pet Loss Support Groups.
On the first Tuesday of every month, health professional Dr. Betty Carmack moderates a free Pet Loss Support Group to help grieving pet owners heal the pain by working through their feelings of loss, anger and depression. The meetings are held from 7:30 to 9 p.m. at The SF/SPCA. Please call 415-554-3050 to confirm. Those who are unable to attend the group can write to The SF/SPCA for “Losing a Best Friend,” a free booklet of comforting essays on pet loss.
The SF/SPCA is located at 2500 – 16th Street.
Here are two wonderful links, for anyone who has ever lost a dear pet. I hope they help to ease the pain.
The following poems are dedicated to all the Kindred Spirits from the magnificent animal kingdom who have blessed our lives with their presence and now wait for us on the Rainbow Bridge.
“May I go now?’ Beloved pet Poem can help us make the difficult decision of euthanasia.
My heart will go on…. http://housecalls4pet.com/my-heart-will-go-on
For the Loss of Pets: Simple Quotes