Most people find that after having a dog join their life and household, they will develop a very strong and extraordinary bond with their pet. A dog loves you simply because you love them, will not judge you, does not hold it against you when reprimanded, and can become a remarkable companion. Because of this strong relationship, after experiencing the loss of a pet dog, the grief and anguish is heartfelt. An initial reaction to the death of a dog or other pet you have grown close to is usually denial and/or shock.
Denial and shock are normal and healthy responses to finding out a pet has died, particularly if the death was sudden. You can also have these feelings even before a pet dies. You may have difficulty accepting that your pet has a severe illness or been seriously hurt. Feeling numb, bewildered, and overwhelmed all serve as a cushion after something so unexpected has occurred.
Realizing that you are feeling grief, and then dealing with it will help restore you and allow you to move on with your life. The grieving process can take a long time to get through, but, will gradually lessen its’ grip.
If you can express the grief you feel after the loss of your pet dog or other animal you have grown to love and cherish, the times it takes to heal will be shortened. It will help to talk to someone you feel close to, however, the following five tips also involve taking some kind of action:
1) write a story or poem about your pet
2) make a photo album with pictures of your pet
3) plant flowers in your pet’s memory
4) take a photo of your pet to an artist to create a likeness for you – stained glass, painting, needlework, sculpture)
5) put your pet’s identification tag on your key chain
Grieving a pet loss is a process that usually takes from a few months to a year. By working through the initial feelings of shock and denial, you will be on the road to working through all the feelings that are involved in a loss, and gradually come to accepting the death.