As a pet owner, it is inevitable that the day will come when you have to say goodbye to your beloved fur baby and trust that whatever you believe happens into them in the afterlife will be realized for them. Whether that means you will meet them again at the Rainbow Bridge or they will return into your life in some way, you should take comfort in those beliefs.
That day is never easy and the pain and grief you feel are real. You will find sympathy and compassion from other pet lovers who understand your loss, but it may be hard to truly express your feelings to them. You might feel like your family or friends will think you’re crazy for having such a strong feeling of loss. You might be embarrassed that you suddenly find yourself crying at the drop of the hat. There can be floods of emotions at any time – you may hear a song that you and your dog used to dance to, or you might want to cry when you pass the window when your cat used to spend hours basking in the sun, or passing a certain park may be difficult.
You shouldn’t feel ashamed or embarrassed by the emotions you go through during this time of grieving. Your pet was with your 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for their entire life with you. They were probably one of the first things you saw when you opened your eyes and the last being you said: “Good Night” to each evening. They sat on your lap and licked your tears away when you were crying. They kept every single one of your secrets. They knew just which antics would make you smile and which would make you mad! They were the perfect scarey movie companion. They helped walk you down the aisle on your wedding day. They went to the school bus every day to walk your kids home safely. They ran under the covers to play every time you tried to make the bed.
Everything you feel – denial, anger, depression, extreme sadness – is part of the grieving process and it’s ok. Having lost many of our own pets and client’s pets over the years, we understand how difficult this time can be and want to offer information for local and national support groups.
ASPCA Pet Loss Hotline: 1.877.GRIEF.10
We hope these resources will help you through the loss of your pet. You’re not alone in how you feel and we want you to look back on the memories of your pet and feel the happiness they brought you when they were with you.