This isn’t the first post I have written about grief when a pet dies. Feather, fin, and fur babies are just as much family members as humans. When our pets die the grief is just as painful as the loss of any loved one. Some folks do not understand the intensity of loss and often act judgy. No one needs to deal with that while dealing with heartache. When someone doesn’t understand how you are feeling that leads me to believe those folks never shared their lives with a beloved dog, cat or other pet. When grieving the death of a pet it can be a solitary journey if you don’t get support from your friends and family.
My puppy girl Maile died over a year ago and then within two months our little boy Koa followed her over the rainbow bridge. The grief has been overwhelming at times. We have a new little girl who has given us a diversion. She is the opposite personality of our angel fur babies. Neither of us remembered how much work puppies can be. Sometimes I think maybe we should have thought it through a little longer. She is cute and funny but not too cuddly yet. One good sign, I saw a Goldendoodle at Petco and I didn’t cry so maybe Cocopuff has helped.
Sorry for rambling but my manager’s 14-year-old best friend Zoey died recently. Seeing and feeling his grief brought my grief over Maile and Koa back to the surface. Plus Zoey was one of my favorite four-legged friends. That is how grief works. Grief accumulates and each time you are hit with it, waves of pain can resurface. Totally normal but sucky just the same.
Cherish your fur babies. When they die, because unfortunately, their lives are never long enough. You need to deal with the grief the same way you should deal with the loss of your human loved ones. Face it, feel it and move through it. If you have a hard time, get professional help.
Shirley Enebrad is a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist with 25 years of experience. For her many years of work with pediatric cancer patients and those grieving the loss of a loved one, she received the Jefferson Award for Outstanding Public Service and the Angel of Hospice Award. She is the author of Six-Word Lessons on Coping with Grief and Six-Word Lessons for Surviving a Devastating Diagnosis.
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