Dealing With Bereavement

Female pet owner and old dogSaying goodbye to a pet is something that most of us have had to go through at some point. Greencross Vets Ballarat Grief Support Facilitator Nikki Catley offers some words.
Your pet is an integral member of your family. Therefore, after losing a pet, it is normal to feel an array of emotions including anger, sadness, guilt or even confusion. Grieving is a highly personal experience and there is no timeframe for when grieving will pass; it can vary from weeks to years. Some people find grief comes in stages, while others find the grief recurring, coming in waves, or a series of highs and lows. You should never feel guilty or ashamed about grieving over the loss of your pet. There are many ways to cope with the grieving process. Here are a few helpful tips:

Be patient

The grieving process is natural; there is no timeframe for it. Don’t try and force yourself to heal. Take the time you need to acknowledge your grief and mourn your loss.

Accept and understand your feelings

You may experience an array of feelings such as anger, sadness, loneliness or guilt. It’s important to understand these feelings, even if you think they don’t feel like part of your grief. Your loss could be bringing up old memories and it’s important to recognise and understand this.

Celebrate your pet

Remember the good times you shared with your pet and use these memories to create a memorial, such as planting a tree, creating a photo album or writing a story or poem.

Talk about your pet

It’s important to have a strong support system as you go through each stage of your grieving process. Talking about how you’re feeling and reminiscing about your pet with the people who care for you will be helpful as they are most able to understand the love you had for your pet. Also, they may have gone through a similar experience and can understand the pain you are feeling.

Get support 

If you are currently faced with a difficult decision regarding your pet your local Greencross Vets team is always available for support.
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