Bowie CLAW (September 2020)
Please attend our September general meeting virtually! This will be a shorter than regular meeting and will take place Thursday, September 17th at 7:30 PM. Connect to the Zoom Meeting with this link:
Grieving the Loss of a Loved Pet
Many of us share an intense love and bond with our animal companions. For us, a pet is not “just a dog” or “just a cat,” but rather a beloved member of our family, bringing companionship, fun, and joy to our lives. The pain of loss can often feel overwhelming and trigger all sorts of painful and difficult emotions. Sorrow and grief are normal and natural responses to death. Like grief for our friends and loved ones, grief for our animal companions can only be dealt with over time, but there are healthy ways to cope with the pain. Here are some suggestions:
Don’t let anyone tell you how to feel, and don’t tell yourself how to feel either. Your grief is your own, and no one else can tell you when it’s time to “move on” or “get over it.” Let yourself feel whatever you feel without embarrassment or judgment. It’s okay to be angry, to cry or not to cry. It’s also okay to laugh, to find moments of joy, and to let go when you’re ready.
One aspect that can make grieving for the loss of a pet so difficult is that pet loss is not appreciated by everyone. Some friends and family may say, “What’s the big deal? It’s just a pet!” Some people assume that pet loss shouldn’t hurt as much as human loss, or that it is somehow inappropriate to grieve for an animal. They may not understand because they don’t have a pet of their own or are unable to appreciate the companionship and love that a pet can provide.
- Don’t argue with others about whether your grief is appropriate or not.
- Accept the fact that the best support for your grief may come from outside your usual circle of friends and family members.
- Seek out others who have lost pets; those who can appreciate the magnitude of your loss, and may be able to suggest ways of getting through the grieving process.
Reach out to others who have lost pets. Check out online message boards, pet loss hotlines, and pet loss support group. If your own friends and family members are not sympathetic about pet loss, find someone who is. Often, another person who has also experienced the loss of a beloved pet may better understand what you’re going through.
Rituals can help healing. A funeral can help you and your family members openly express your feelings. Ignore people who think it’s inappropriate to hold a funeral for a pet, and do what feels right for you.
Create a legacy. Preparing a memorial, planting a tree in memory of your pet, compiling a photo album or scrapbook, or otherwise sharing the memories you enjoyed with your pet, can create a legacy to celebrate the life of your pet.
Look after yourself. The stress of losing a pet can quickly deplete your energy and emotional reserves. Looking after your physical and emotional needs will help you get through this difficult time. Spend time face to face with people who care about you, eat a healthy diet, get plenty of sleep, and exercise regularly to release endorphins and help boost your mood.
If you have other pets, try to maintain your normal routine. Surviving pets can also experience loss when a pet dies, or they may become distressed by your sorrow. Maintaining their daily routines, or even increasing exercise and play times, will not only benefit the surviving pets but can also help to elevate your mood and outlook, too.
Seek professional help if you need it. If your grief is persistent and interferes with your ability to function, your doctor or a mental health professional can evaluate you for depression.
This piece is adapted from Help Guide. For more helpful information please go to the “helpguide.org” website. A link specifically to “Coping with Losing a Pet” can be found here. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/grief/coping-with-losing-a-pet.htm#:~:text=The%20grieving%20process%20after%20the,and%20eventually%20acceptance%20and%20resolution
Our Pet Assistance and Support program is also doing well thanks to our volunteers. We currently serve 25 families which include 25 dogs and 36 cats. During these tough economic times, our local families need our support. Thank you for your generous contributions!
Our community cat trappers stay very busy, hours at a time, and our volunteers have saved dozens of kittens, preparing them for adoption and therefore reducing the community cat population. Currently we have trapped, neutered/spayed, and vaccinated 316 cats and kittens! We are so very grateful for their generous gift of time and compassion. More volunteers would be welcome!
Bowie CLAW extends our greatest appreciation to everyone who supports our local animals!
Sign up for Smile.Amazon and iGive online—a percentage of your online purchases will be donated to Bowie CLAW at no cost to you. Federal employees, please consider supporting Bowie CLAW in your Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) contributions this year. Our Campaign Number is 15690. Thank you!