Time to say goodbye
At Pet Doctors, we understand that the loss of a beloved family pet is always traumatic, even if it is expected. They have shared your life through thick and thin. It would be totally natural to experience feelings of great loss. To you they are not “just a pet” - they have given you unqualified love while they lived with you and for children, the death of a family pet might be their first experience of death and grief. For the elderly it can be equally traumatic, as a beloved pet might be the only thing they see or talk to on a daily basis. It is very important to express your feelings and not to feel foolish. Time is a great healer, but no one could tell you how long that could be, as everyone is individual.
Keep an eye on elderly relatives who have recently lost a pet, give them a ring, drop in for a cup of tea and a chat, as they might be experiencing extreme loneliness. Encourage children to talk, perhaps plant a shrub in remembrance, and if you are upset do not worry about crying in front of children. If they see you showing emotion, it will then give them permission to show emotion as well
Will my other pets grieve?
Pets observe every change in the household and are bound to notice the absence of a companion. Pets often form strong attachments to one another, and the survivor of such a pair may seem to grieve for its companion. You may be surprised to know that cats can grieve for dogs and dogs for cats. You may need to give your surviving pet love and attention through this period. The love of your surviving pet can be wonderfully healing for your own grief.
What should I tell my Children?
You are the best judge of how much information to tell your children. You may find that by being honest with them, may be able to help address some fears and misconceptions they may have about death.
Honesty is important and never say to a child that the pet “went away” as they might wait in anguish for its return. Make it clear that the pet will not be coming back, but is happy and free of pain. Never assume a child is too young or too old to grieve.
Options for your pets’ last journey
This option provides for your companion to be individually cared for, with the following choices:-
• Cremains returned to you within a scatter box
• Cremains returned to you within a wooden casket, with engraved nameplate.
This option is available to those owners who are happy to leave their pet with us and they will be cremated collectively with other pets.
You can take your pet home for burial in your garden. We advise that you place a flower urn or something heavy over the burial site to prevent disturbance of the burial site.
Pets are members of our families and part of our lives. For some people losing a much loved pet can be just as hard as losing a human family member.
If you are grieving for a pet who has recently departed, it may be of help to talk to a trained pet bereavement counsellor.
The following organisations can offer support:-
The Pet Bereavement Support Service
• 0800 096 6606 (8.00am – 8.30pm)
• Or firstname.lastname@example.org
• 0208 303 1859
The Ease Animal Charity