Grief is keen mental suffering or distress over affliction or loss; sharp sorrow; painful regret, according to dictionary.com.
In my circle of friends, there is almost always someone who is grieving over the death of a well-loved pet.
Most of us have lost at least one dog, cat, hamster or guinea pig that we have been inordinately attached to.
Just this year, as many as five of my friends have had a cat or dog pass over the Rainbow Bridge.
Each one asks: “How do I cope with losing my best friend, one that has been with me through thick and thin? One who loves me even when I can’t stand myself?”
Remember that someone who has never had an animal/human relationship won’t understand your pain. Don’t allow them to diminish your grief. Statements such as “It’s only a cat” or “You can get another one” only make you feel more lonely. Mental health experts understand that your grief is your own and no one else can tell you how to feel.
The University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine advises that when a person has little or no support to deal with the loss of a pet, the grief and mourning can feel overwhelming and isolating.
“The human-animal bond represents the types of relationships we have with our companion animals. We form these relationships for many reasons: physical, social, emotional and psychological,” according to a report from the school’s Specialty Care Services titled “Pet Loss and Bereavement Information for Pet Owners.”
Authors Lawrence Robinson, Jeanne Segal and Robert Segal, writing for Helpguide.org, a nonprofit resource for supporting better mental health, offer this advice:
The loss of a companion animal may be doubly debilitating for seniors.
If you are or know someone mourning the death of a pet, these methods may help get past the grief:
Finally, is it always a good idea to immediately go out and get a new pet after the loss of a well-loved one?
Well, as much as I love saying “Puppies heal the heart,” the answer is a personal one that only you can make for yourself. In most cases, it’s best to mourn the old pet first, and wait until you’re emotionally ready to open your heart to a new animal.