Being a pet owner isn't just "owning a pet". Animals can become part of the family and in some circumstances are the only "family" some of us have.
Sometimes the death of a much loved animal can have such a devastating impact that can affect our daily functioning.
The loss of an animal should not be dismissed as not important. It can impact same of us the same as a losing a loved one who is human. Saying to someone "It's only a cat or dog, never mind - you'll get over it. you can buy another one" is not what you say to a person grieving the loss of their beloved fur baby. The impact can be huge. Sleep deprivation, guilt, loneliness and an ache that feels like it will never go away.
I had two wonderful cats, Molly and Tommy. Molly was 15 and Tommy (pictured ) was almost 17 when they passed. They were brother and sister ( twins I called them) I had my cats before my children and they were very much part of our family. I remember saying to people BEFORE I got them "My cats won't be in on the furniture they can stay in their basket if they are inside." Reality - "ohh its cold outside, I will turn on my electric blanket on my bed so they can sleep on my full, soft duvet with heat coming through"
The loss of Molly and Tommy was awful. It was a pain in my heart that non-pet owners will never feel. I had to have both my fur-babies put down as their health was deteriorating and guilt stayed with me for a long time.
One of the things that did aid in the start of our healing and acceptance that they were gone, was a "Pet Ceremony"
This may involve a funeral (where you are burying your pet) or memorial (your pet may have already been cremated or you do not have your pet there)
Having a beautiful ceremony where you share your stories is very healing. You are not only honouring your pet you are honouring the feelings that you may be feeling. It can give you a chance to start your grieving process. You are allowed to cry at a funeral or memorial!
There are many things you can do to symbolise your "headstone" for your pet. Painting a stone, planting a tree, shrub or rose or building something special in your garden, are only a few ideas. A painted stone or rock is a good option for children as they can actually bring their rock or stone inside to have their "pet" near them. It is also good if you move as you can easily take that with you. Do what ever you need to for YOU.
Ideas to consider:
Your pet is an important part of your life.
Honour them. Remember them. Celebrate them