Pet Loss and the Stages of Grief

Cat Garden Stone

When you deal with the loss of a pet, grief is a response that is normal. In many cases, other people do not totally understand this type of loss, which can lead to a smaller support system. The problem is that the grief over your pet can be a process that is complex, and others may not understand. You may wonder if it is normal to go through this grieving process. Yes, it is totally normal. Here is a look at the stages of grief you may go through as you deal with this loss.

First, you may be in denial. This is a way you try to protect yourself from the pain. You may even isolate yourself to avoid the facts. This is totally normal when you are dealing with pet loss.

Pet Memorial Rock and Bronze Plaque

The next stage may be anger as the pain really sinks in. You may be angry at your vet, at yourself, or at other people. This is a stage you must go through after losing your pet. Don’t feel guilty. Deal with the anger and try to get through it.

In some cases, you may even go through depression as a stage of grief. You may be worrying about what it will cost to take care of your vet bills or how to have a memorial for your pet. You may even feel overwhelmed with a deep sadness.

In the end, the last stage of grief is acceptance. Although this doesn’t mean that the pain is totally gone, but it is a stage where you make peace and realize that the inevitable cannot be changed. When you reach this stage, it is a wonderful time to enjoy old happy memories with your pet or perhaps hold a memorial service.

Of course, each person deals with pet loss differently. You may spend a lot of time on one stage. That is fine. Just work through this pain and know that there are people who care about you and those who will help you through this painful time.

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One Comment

  1. Pet Memorials
    Posted July 16, 2010 at 2:41 am | Permalink

    Thanks a lot for your post. It is very informative. It makes me think of how my own family has handled pet loss. You’re absolutely right when you say that people work through the stages of grief at different paces. With out latest loss, our two young children have been devastated by the loss of their dog. One child has been very weepy for almost a month now, whereas the other has been more prone to acting out. When we question what is wrong, they inevitably say “we miss Haggis.” It is very sad.

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