Recovering from the Stress of Losing a Pet

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I recently came across this article, which had been copied (with an acknowledgment, as I’m doing) from UC Davis (University of California, in Davis) veterinary medicine web site, and I decided it was so helpful that I would use it at my blog. If you’ve ever lost a pet, or if you have an aging pet in your life now and you nervously anticipate losing them soon, you know the stress level can get very high, not only for you but the whole family.

I’ve lost several dogs over the years — two just last year — and I know how hard it is when you lose a companion animal.

Some people don’t seem to realize that it’s okay to go through the grieving process when your pet dies, and they hold the sorrow inside. That’s not a healthy reaction, and it can lead to prolonged sadness that erupts at odd times unrelated to pets at all.  I hope you enjoy the article, and that it offers comfort if you’ve had such a loss — feel free to share this with friends who might find it helpful.

to your happiness,

Evelyn Brooks

“Emotions: Loving Animals and Losing Them

For those of us who choose to share our lives with pets, at one time or another we will undoubtedly become emotionally attached to them. Even for people who share their lives with many animals, every so often an extra special one comes along.

When we must face the loss of an extraordinary animal companion, we may be shocked to find ourselves experiencing intense grief. It might even be worrisome to have such an overwhelming response to losing “just an animal.”

You need to realize this is NOT “just an animal.” This pet, for reasons perhaps known only to you, has managed to find a very special, unique place in your life and in your heart. Part of the sadness in losing such a pet is knowing that no other pet or person will ever fill that special place in quite the same way.

Reactions to Loss

First and foremost, GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION to have a reaction, whatever it is. Know that grief can occur before, during and after the loss of a loved one. Grief also includes a wide range of reactions that are considered normal, such as feeling numb, irritability, crying spells, hallucinations, and feeling hopeless.

Every loss is unique and every person grieves differently – even when experiencing the loss of the same animal or person. It is normal for profound sadness and grief to last a few weeks to many months, lessening with time. Without proper care and attention, painful grief can last for years.

Recovery from Grief

If you have suffered painful losses before, you may know that no two losses are alike and losing loved ones does not get easier. If a loss of this magnitude is new to you, you may feel as though you will never get over it and that you will be suffering forever.

PEOPLE DO RECOVER from painful losses. The people who adjust to loss are those who experience their feelings about the loss and take one day at a time. Many eventually decide to bring another pet into their lives.

In every case, grief does not go away magically. Dealing with your loss and the passage of time are the two best healers.”


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