Is my grief normal?

There is no right or wrong way to mourn the loss of a beloved pet.

Don’t set a time limit on how long you mourn.

We all grieve differently, and we must allow ourselves to do this at a pace that is right for us. If we supress those feelings they can often return later in different forms like anger, irritability, lack of concentration, poor quality of work or trouble in relationships.

Don’t compare your grief to someone else’s.

Just because your friend may have moved on quickly, doesn’t mean you will have the same response. Grief is a normal human emotion and as such presents to us all in different manners. We need to just take things day by day, allowing our grieving process to move along at a pace we feel comfortable with – not what others feel is “right”.

Decide what to do with your pet’s things.

Some people want to leave their pet’s water dish out, others want to box it up immediately. There’s no one right way to do it. What is important is to do what makes you comfortable with at a time when you feel you can make this big step without causing more hurt.

Keep a photo of your pet around.

Remembering the happy times is very important and sometimes this is helped by having photos of you pet around, especially in their favourite place or with a special toy. Sometimes this makes us cry again, but as time moves on we start to smile as we remember those wonderful times together.

Seek support if necessary.

There are pet loss groups that can help if you’re having difficulties coping. If the loss begins to interfere with your everyday life, we recommend reaching out to a mental health professional. There are many specialized pet loss counsellors and we can help you with that if needed.

The main thing to remember is that your feelings are valid. That pain we feel, both physical and emotional are very real and often stronger than we expect. We often have clients who are concerned they feel worse than when an extended member of their family died, but did that person rely on you every day, 7 days a week? Were they there for you when you had a bad day at work? Did you change your whole routine and holidays for them like we do our pets? NO. This is why the loss we feel is so great – that unconditional love that flows both ways.

A loss of a pet is still a loss. And you’re allowed to grieve.

24 / 7 Pet Loss Support Line:
Pet Loss Support Line
Ph: 1300 431 450

Beyond Blue:
Beyond Blue Website
Ph: 1300 224 636

Lifeline Help
Ph: 13 11 14