Dealing with the Loss of a Beloved Pet
by: Rev. Dr. Karen Schuder
Losing a beloved pet is never easy. We can love other pets, but those pets will have their uniqueness and share a different flavor of love. When it comes to pets, some people understand this and others do not. It all depends on life experiences and perspective. However, lack of understanding on other people's part does not diminish the reality of sorrow when you are grieving.
What is important to know is that when you lose someone or something that is cherished deeply by you, it is typical to experience grief. This summer we suddenly lost our beloved 6 year old lab to cancer. He was a wonderful companion and family member in so many ways. Whether he was slobbering kisses all over us, smiling with his whole body moving, or plotting how to get the food on the kitchen counter - he had a special place in our hearts. There are times we are still filled with sadness, but also times when we laugh about somthing he used to do.
Some helpful things to know about grief:
- It is okay to feel sad at times.
- Grieving is a unique process for individuals in that we express and experience it differently. This means we need to be more understanding of people who grieve differently than we do.
- There is not one particular way we are supposed to feel for any certain period of time. It is normal to feel a variety of emotions after a loss, but be mindful of how you express those emotions.
- Allowing yourself to find joy in life especially when remembering your beloved pet can help you move through the healing process and honor your pet's life in positive ways.
- If you have a faith background, this can be a wonderful source of hope and healing.
- Talking with caring people you trust can provide valuable support.
- Loving other people and pets does not mean you are loving the pet who has died less, it means he or she helped you learn how to love better.
- If you are having a difficult time moving past the grief, get professional help and use the resources available. Doing this shows wisdom, not weakness.
I hope at this time of loss you allow yourself time to grieve and feel sad, but also time to cherish and fondly remember. May you be blessed from the love received to bless the lives of others. Know there is always a hope and beauty in God's creatures can touch our hearts and bring a smile to our souls.