All pet owners know they’ll probably outlive their pet, but that doesn’t make it any easier when a companion passes away. Pets are like family, and losing one can leave us with deep feelings of grief, pain, and loneliness.
Pet Loss Support
Sadly, many pet owners never truly give themselves the time and space to fully grieve the loss of an animal companion. We want pet owners to know there’s no shame in feeling sadness, and we encourage you to seek the support of family, friends, and local pet bereavement groups.
At Paws, Purrs & Exotics Animal Hospital, we offer free grief counseling for adults and children. Together, we can help you and your family work through the intense emotions surrounding pet loss and help you get started on the road to healing.
Dealing with Guilt
Making the choice to end a pet’s suffering is one of the most difficult decisions a pet owner will ever make. Even when someone knows their pet’s quality of life has deteriorated significantly, there can still be tremendous guilt associated with euthanasia.
We understand the complexities of this decision, and we make every effort to create a space where pets and their owners can feel as peaceful as possible.
We light a candle in our lobby for each pet, placed next to a sign that reads “Please keep your voices down to a respectful volume, someone is saying goodbye to someone they love.”
One Day at a Time
When you’re ready, the following ideas may be useful as you begin the healing process:
- Memorialize your pet in a way that’s meaningful to you. You might create a scrapbook, plant a memory garden, hold a memorial service, or hang a beautifully framed photo of your pet.
- Reach out to friends and family who knew your pet and share funny or heartwarming stories.
- For many children, pet loss is their first experience with death. Answer their questions in an honest, age-appropriate way. There are plenty of wonderful books about pet loss that are geared toward children; ask your local librarian or bookstore for recommendations.
- Exercise, rest, and eating well are just a few forms of self-care that are essential following a traumatic experience like pet loss. Forgetting or neglecting to take good care of yourself can intensify and prolong grief.
Please don’t hesitate to contact our staff with any questions or concerns following the loss of a pet. We’re always here to help.