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Q: How do you cope with the loss of a pet?

March 16, 2008 | By Lauren S. | 10 answers | Expired: 2333 days ago

How do you cope with the loss of a pet?

I had been fostering a favorite shelter dog of mine about three weeks ago. She was old and having many health problems. After a short time, it was plain to see that it was time to let go of Sheba, having lost control of her bowls, etc. I loved that dog and became very attached to her. The first few days, I was a hysterical wreck. The intense pain has eased, but I am still grieving. Certain things will trigger memories of her, and I just miss her terribly. I suppose there isn't anything to take away the heartache, although time heals some. I did find comfort in the "rainbow bridge" poem. How do you guys cope with the loss of a pet? Any suggestions?

Readers' Answers (10)
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amy c.
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Mar 19, 2008

First of all - let me say loosing a pet is never easy. I hate to say this but im not sure you can ever get completley over the loss of your pet. they are a dear friend & thats not easy. My best advice for you is if you have pics make a scrap book... make a poster dedicated to your lost friend.. A poem that reminds you of her ... put that in there... read it - sing it.. do what makes you feel better. Maybe write a poem dedicated to her.

I had a 15 year old dog who had heart problems and who would have seizures... Every time he would have a seizure id hold that chubby german shepeard in my arms & sing "keep holding on" by avril lavigne basically telling him i was there for him that we could do it together... One time his heart was just too weak and in my arms he didnt survive the seizure.. (im crying just talking about).. everytime i think or talk about him i cry... that was 7 months ago... I will never be over it.
but......
you need to know that because this dog was in your life it was better for her... you did an amazing thing fostering this dog & she knew how lucky she was. She didnt die young and on the streets she died knowing she was at her haven with the people she loves the most... you gave her a life that made her happy & when you cry, when you think about her...think about the good times... how happy she made you and how happy you made her.

even though she is gone... her memory isnt and time will ease the pain but you dont want time to erase the wonderful memory.

Again, so sorry for your loss

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Theranddav
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Mar 17, 2008

I gave you an answer earlier but did dome research for you. Here is a web site that lists several Pet Loss Support Hotlines. I thought maybe it to would be helpful not only to you but others that are reading this. AGain, sorry for your loss.

www.avma.org/careforanimals/animatedjourneys/goodbyefriend/plhotlines.asp

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Bree B.
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Mar 17, 2008

Everyone has to cope with a loss of a pet their own way...My hamster snickers died last Sunday and I am still coping with his loss..I did get 3 new hamsters but even they can't replace snickers.. Let what you did for her be enough for you to remember her! You will probably never forget Sheba and yes certain things will trigger emotion, You need distrations until the pain of losing Sheba starts to go away! Just think she is in a better place and she knows that you will always love her! Good Luck
You are in my prayers

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Theresa
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Mar 17, 2008

Lauren S., My heart goes out to you. It is a process you have to go through. Let the tears flow, don't hold back, it is okay to cry. It is okay to talk about Sheba. Let the fact that you took her in as a foster dog soothe your heart. You gave her a loving place to live her last weeks. She was a special pet and you reminded her of that all the way to the end. If you have pictures of her set them around and remember her. Sometimes pictures are too painful for a while though. I found comfort after losing my pot bellied pig by sitting out by where she was buried and talking to her. She loved to be in the flower bed and that is where she was buried. I made her a cross and a nameplate that marks her grave. The main thing is realize you gave Sheba all she could ask for at the most important time. Her last memories is that she was loved and cared for. You are a wonderful person for opening your heart and home for a dog that needed it. With time the pain of losing Sheba will ease and there will be another loving creature needing your heart. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

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ruthie
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Mar 16, 2008

This is what I mean about having a caring community, I love all the answers so far, you are all wonderful. I am so sorry for your loss, We just lost our beloved Little Bear on Jan 11 around 5 pm He was 7 1/2 years old and had him since conception, we also have his mother you see, and he and his 6 siblings were born on our bed, oh that was a day! I really lost it too. Thank God I actually had 3 days off from work because I cried day and night and still lose a grip from time to time after 2 months. It doesn't take much. We buried Bear in his favorite place, our flower bed, it is all torn up now and I know we will have to spend a lot of time getting it back looking nice, but we will do it for him. I always said he would break my heart someday I just didn't think it would be so soon. He really was my best friend next to my husband.
I am having a lot of illness lately and swear its because i have a broken heart, oh, some people have said its silly to feel so strongly about a pet but I just can't help it.
It does help a little to be able to tell someone who feels the same way or has been through a similar experience so thanks for letting me ramble. My Bears pic is on my profile yet as my pet I am not able to remove or delete, I still feel he's a part of the family, I have his sister Penny and she looks so much like him that I have accidentally mistaken her for him since his passing and even that makes me cry, there are days even I think its stupid but you just take your time, it does get easier and I am a firm believer that all dogs go to heaven, all pets really and someday I'll see my Little Bear and he'll put his head in my lap like he always did when I feel blue and then I won't have to be sad anymore. Take care of yourself in the meantime, let yourself cry and don't let someone tell you to get over it, you will, and you won't ever forget that beloved pet but there will be others to help you through and pull on your heartstrings, and theres always room in your heart for another.

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Patriciamelodini
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Mar 16, 2008

Hi Lauren,
You have my sympathy. I've lived with animals for more than 30 years and it never gets any easier. I am, as I write this, crying over a beloved dog I lost 13 months ago.
I work as a mental health therapist and have counselled countless people who have lost loved ones but all my knowledge was useless when it came time to comfort myself.
Please find a support group if you can -- online if necessary. Maybe your local humane society can be a resource. There are also some books you can find online. Jamie Quackenbush wrote a great one 20 or so years ago. If you can't find a shoulder to cry on or a sympathetic human ear, just read something and let the tears flow. Possibly you can volunteer as a memorial or use your grief in some other way to honor Sheba. Just try to remember that she is not in pain anymore and that you gave her love and comfort knowing the pain you would suffer when she was gone. Probably another shelter animal will tug at your heart in the future the same way. When he or she does, don't be afraid to respond the same way you did with Sheba even though you know you'll suffer. I think that is the only way to repay them for the way they love us unconditionally. Good luck. Pat

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Jacksmum
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Mar 16, 2008

When I lost my beloved terrier Peppy I felt like the world was ending for me. I think the worst was no longer having someone who depended on me for everything. Not long after that Jack came into my life and when I look back on her death I can't help think that her death allowed Jack to have a chance at life. Jack had many behavioral problems as a puppy because he was tied up outside by himself during the critical puppy development period. He was taken from the previous owners and I found him in the shelter at 12 weeks old. To say it was very difficult raising Jack would be quite an understatement. Having worked in a shelter I know that Jack was the kind of dog that would be adopted out over and over again had I not adopted him. He was VERY difficult, but I also fell in love with him at first site. I still occasionally think about my Peppy with fondness, even 9 years after her death, but had the timing been different I would never have had the chance to have Jack in my life. So I guess the way I like to remember my Peppy's death is by thinking she gave it so Jack could be saved.

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Theranddav
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Mar 16, 2008

Losing a pet is no different than losing a human best friend or a family member. Your greiving process is going to be the same. The initial shock of the loss is first. Then comes the ache so deep it feels like it will never go away! Sometimes you might just feel numb. The best suggestion I can give is for you to cry. Cry as much as you want. Stay away from people who think crying over a pet is wrong. If you have photos look at them often. If there is a funny one or one that stimulates a funny memory laugh. If the photo makes you want to cry do so. At first is will be VERY difficult. It is absolutly ok to feel guilty, mad, sad, and happy. It is going to be ok for you to eventually smile again. Another person here says to look for a Pet Loss Group. This is a great idea. These are the people that will ALL understand. If you ever want to just email me thoughts I would love to talk to you more. Sometimes just talking about all the great and bad things helps me. I am soooo sorry for your loss.

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Anonymous
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Anonymous

Mar 16, 2008

Sweetheart I am still grieving over the loss of my doberman. So i know exactly how your feeling. I lost her about a month ago and it still hurts. I think I cried for 2 weeks straight. Just have to grieve and time will heal but your always going to carry them in your heart and memories are going to pop up and you are going to feel the heartache. In my case however I started working at the local humane society as an Animal Control Officer and it is helping to work with the dogs and play with the puppies. Maybe volunteering at your local shelter may help with some of the pain your feeling.Most shelters always welcome anyone to just come in an play and pay attention to the dogs and take them for walks etc. Its helping mine but i still do miss her. And you may come across another dog at the shelter that has the exact personality of your dog that you've lost. I have just met Jasmine, Pit bull that acts just like my doberman Jazzy and well.. she's coming home with me. She'll never replace the memories I had with Jazzy but it also saving the life of another. I sure hope this helps! Take Care and God Bless you!

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Michele Z.
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Mar 16, 2008

Losing a pet is very difficult and it sounds like you could benefit from a Pet Loss Support Group, which you may find at your local Humane Society. It helps to know that other people are just as devastated over losing their pets/companions.

Instead of focusing on the loss, try focusing on all the good you did for this pet while she was alive. Realize that the YOU made it possible for this dog to have the best possible life while in your care. Was she all alone in a cage with no one to pet or hold her? No--you were there and gave all that you could. Be proud of what you did for this dog and celebrate her life; she is now in peace and has YOU to thank.



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