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Coping with the loss of a pet

Many of us share an intense love and bond with our animal companions. A pet is a beloved member of the family, bringing companionship and joy to our lives. A pet can add structure to your day, help you to overcome setbacks and challenges in life, and even provide a sense of purpose. So, when a pet dies, it’s normal to feel racked by grief and loss. 

Each person deals with grief differently, but that doesn’t make the death any less painful. The grief process is as individual as the person, lasting days for one person, years for another. 

Suggestions on how to cope:

  • Acknowledge your grief and express it. 
  • Don’t hesitate to reach out to others who can lend a sympathetic ear. Do research online and you’ll find hundreds of resources and support groups that may be helpful to you.
  • Many forms of support are available, including pet-bereavement counseling services, pet-loss support hotlines, local or online pet-bereavement groups, books, videos, and magazine articles.
  • Call your veterinarian or local humane society to see whether they offer a pet-loss support group or hotline.
  • Prepare a memorial for your pet.

The most important thing to remember is that grief takes time. You will always miss your companion, but things will get better. Future pets cannot replace your beloved companion, but they might help fill a void. Just be sure to wait until the time is right. It is an unfortunate reality that humans will most likely outlive their pets. All that can be done is to be grateful for the short time you shared.

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