The loss of someone you care deeply for can feel absolutely devastating. The same goes for the death of a cat, dog, or any other pet you may have. The experiences and feelings we have with our pets are unique to our relationship with them. There is no one else that has experienced that relationship or the pain you feel in their absence. Your beloved pet is irreplaceable.
I know this because I’ve recently lost my sweet Petey boy. He lived a long 15 years and provided my family with so much love and laughter. I’ve found myself completely devastated in his absence. We all have. Our home doesn’t feel the same without his doggy drool, sassy barking, and demands to be held each night. It feels like the end of an era.
How do we even begin grieving the loss of our pets?
It’s important to understand that there is no clear answer – grief looks different for everyone. Here are some tips that may help during your time of mourning. I know they’ve helped me.
Feel the feelings
- You’ve experienced a loss. Give yourself permission to feel all the feelings during this time.
Be kind to yourself
- Spend some time engaging in self-care activities as you grieve. Give yourself the space to take some time off if needed.
Talk about it
- Find a way to talk about what you’re feeling in a safe and affirming space. This may be speaking with someone else who has lost a pet, supportive family/friends, or a therapist.
Honor your pet
- This may look different for everyone. It could be simply hanging your favorite photo of your pet or walking their favorite route.
It is never easy losing a pet. However, it is possible to find peace in the process of mourning. The deep connection we have with our pets is a true testament to our capacity to love deeply.
About Whitney Miklos:
Whitney is a Supervisee in Clinical Social Work and provides teletherapy to residents of Virginia. She graduated from Bridgewater College with a B.S. in Sociology and a minor in Social Work. She then received her Master’s in Social Work from Tulane University. Throughout her time at Tulane, she worked with both undergraduate and graduate students at Loyola University New Orleans Campus to provide individual therapy, crisis intervention, and other social work services.
Upon graduation, Whitney has continued to provide individual therapy to young adults and adolescents in various settings. She has also had the opportunity to provide consultation to educators seeking to become more trauma-informed in the classroom. Whitney has also provided support services to caregivers. Whitney honors the unique needs of each individual and believes it is important to tailor treatment accordingly.
To learn more about Whitney, visit HERE.