Death of a Pet

Dealing with the death of a pet can bring such a deep grief, but can be misunderstood by others who have not experienced the love of a treasured pet. Their suggestion that if we just replace the pet, it will “fix” our grief can feel hurtful and dismissive to us. We cannot replace someone we love, and pets can feel like members of our family.

When a pet goes missing, the loss can be confusing and painful. If you feel your pet won’t be coming back, it may be important to find closure with a memorial ceremony or by burying a favorite toy or collar.

What is different about losing a pet?

We grieve because we have loved. Our relationship with our pets can be such unconditional love and much less complicated than our relationships with other human beings. But those who can’t relate to our experience can dismiss our grief and we can feel disenfranchised, like we shouldn’t feel the way we do.

It is also important to pay special attention to any surviving pets, as they may be grieving for their lost friend. Look for significant changes in behavior. Remember to give plenty of love and affection to your surviving animals.

What helps when you lose your pet?

Fortunately, our society seems to be growing healthier in understanding the grief we feel at the death of a pet. Honor your grief. Find people and places where you can find support. Your veterinarian’s office might have resources. The local animal shelter might offer outreach. We will share with you some of the best resources we have found on the web.

More Information on

Do Our Pets Grieve After Loss?

More resources:

Denver Dumb Friends League

The Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement

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