The death of a pet can generate an amount of sadness and grief that is as profound as from losing a close friend or a family member. In some cases, people feel the void left by their pets even more because we choose them and because we value their unconditional love. Here are a few suggestions on how to deal with the death of a beloved pet in a healthy manner.
Acknowledge Your Feelings
It’s easy to fall into the trap of “It was just a cat, a dog, etc.”. We can make ourselves believe that the death of pet does not call for such heavy amounts of grief; such treatment is reserved only for humans we are intimate with. But deep within, we all know that you’d be lying to yourself. Any loss due to death is significant, irrespective of the deceased’s species.
Sadness is sadness whether it is caused by the passing away of your pet or your parent or your peer. And the effects of this sadness on you will be the same, irrespective of the source. So the quicker you accept your feelings as valid and normal the better. Suppressing them will only cause guilt, overthinking and frustration.
Resist Buying Another Pet
Pets, like humans, have unique personalities. So even if you get another dog or hamster, chances are he/she will have their own quirks, different from the ones of your earlier pet. The very void to fill which you got this new pet will remain, in such a case. Also, to bring home a new family furriness as a mere replacement is disrespectful to the pet itself.
So resist the temptation and give yourself enough time to heal before you decide to bring another pet into your life. This way you’ll do justice both to yourself and to this new member.
Ignore The Naggers
There will always be someone who will walk up to you and tell you to get over the death of your pet or that you can always get another one. Even if such a person has the best of intentions, they are not going to help you or your situation. So ignore them.
Honor Your Pet
Your pet was a significant member of the family during his or her lifetime. So you might want to consider honouring and memorialising him or her with meaningful rites, rituals and memorialisation options available for pets today. These will be hard to find in India but all the effort’s worth it. Or you might want to make some make-shift arrangements on your own.
You could bury or cremate your pet and keep the ashes in an urn or plant his/her favourite fruit’s sapling with it.
Only you get to decide how to navigate your life through the grief you are experiencing (and not the society). Please remember.