The sad reality is we simply do not have our pets for long enough.

They are the trusted companions that bring us joy and are there with us through it all: the good times, the sad times, and the big life changes.

They never offer unsolicited advice or make judgement; they just sit with us through thick and thin and want little in return.

Our pets are more in tune to our emotions than we give them credit for, this is why Fluffy curls up on your lap when you cry or when your dog knows to be calm and quiet when you feel stressed – they are so intuitive.

So when it comes time to say goodbye, it may feel like you have lost your best friend.

The Practicalities

One of the biggest challenges of grown up life, is having to deal with the practicalities even when we are grieving.

In some cases, the vet will be on hand to help your through this process, but not always.

You could talk to your local council about the burial or cremation options – you will need to contact them anyway, to cancel your dog or cat’s registration.

The traditional family choice of burying your pet in the backyard may not be an option if you are living in a high rise apartment.

However, you can still keep them close to you! If you choose to have your pet cremated, you could order a personalised or special keepsake urn for their ashes.

Give Yourself Permission to Grieve

It’s perfectly okay to take time off work if you are struggling with your emotions. Better to wait until you are more in control and able to be your usual professional self, than to be in floods of tears every other minute! Don’t let anybody make you feel guilty about this – be kind to yourself, and treat yourself the way you would treat a best friend experienced a terrible loss!

So many memories will be associated with having your pet by your side. It can be challenging to navigate through this as you process the grief of losing your beloved, but here are a few things that you may find helpful:

  1. Chatting with a trusted friend who has also lost a pet, and understands what you are going through.
  2. Holding a funeral or an informal ceremony. This can be extremely healing, and a great way for others who have known and loved your pet to come together with you and express their feelings.
  3. Creating a legacy. You could plant a tree in memory of your pet or have a memento in your home of your furry (or feathered, or scaled, or ….) friend.

And finally, don’t let anybody push you into another pet – only you will know when you are ready to take this step. For some people, this might be straight away; but others can wait years. There is no “right” time; just know that even with a new pet, you will always hold your previous one in your heart forever.