Dealing With Pet Loss

Photograph Credits to Wailani Sung

Renee Chaples, Editor and Chief

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Pets are an amazing addition to any family. Whether it be a standard cat or dog to more complex pets such as snakes, birds, and insects, pets are a great way to bring a family together. Unfortunately, all good things must come to end and unless you decided on a 400-year-old turtle your pet will eventually make its way into the afterlife.

A common misconception for non-pet owners is that losing a furry friend will not take a toll on the owner’s mental state, however, this is very incorrect. Although there may be a difference between losing a goldfish after owning it for three days versus owning a dog for over fourteen years this does not dismiss the owner’s feelings towards losing their pet. It is completely valid to go into an episode of depression after losing a pet and thankfully there are many coping techniques to help the sorrow from distracting from the realities of life.

Many therapists recommend talking about the loss of your pet with a trusted friend or family member. It may hurt to bring it up now but ignoring the problem will not make it go away. Talking about the way losing your fur baby made you feel and remembering the good times you had with the pet will help ease the process of mourning, much like mourning for a person.

Many pet owners who have lost a pet will adopt another pet to help with the grief, unfortunately, this will be counterproductive to the healing process. Getting a look-alike pet will never replace the one lost and you can find yourself resenting the new pet for not being the lost one. For obvious reasons, this would be unfair to the new animal. Get a new pet when you are ready to move forward and form a new bond with a new animal rather than looking back and trying to fill the void the old one left.

Losing a pet is hard, but no pain is forever. It is okay to look back on pictures and videos and think about the good times, but always remember that the present is today and the past is behind you.