Grieving the Loss of a Pet

Whether the result of a slow and certain end of the road, or a devastating and sudden event, the time inevitably comes when you must say goodbye to your best friend, your bosom buddy, your beloved pet.

The grief associated with the loss of a pet is profound, and one that many people do not understand. After your shattering loss, maybe you’ve had friends and family members tell you, “it’s only a dog, cat, guinea pig.” Maybe others have said things like, “what’s the big deal? Just go get another dog, cat, guinea pig.”. And maybe you’ve even wondered why the pain of losing your pet is so agonizing. No, there’s nothing wrong with you. Yes, it is perfectly normal to feel like your world has fallen apart because it has.

A Disrupted Routine

Your pet was a part of your daily world. You fed him, petted him, walked him, cuddled with him, and probably took him with you whenever and wherever you could. In return, he wagged his tail, licked you, purred, came to you when you called, and a myriad of other things that made you a very special pair. When he’s gone, you are left with a huge hole. Except for children, no one else in your world could be as close to you and give you the love that he did. This brings us to the next point.

Loss of Unconditional Love

Where else do you get unremitting love and adoration? Who else wags their tail when you are at your worst? Pets, especially dogs, want nothing more than to please their human. The fact is, never will you get the same unconditional love as you get from a pet. Pets do not judge. Pets do not ask for more than we can give. Pets accept us no matter what. Can we say the same about our human friends and family?

Lack of Support

Sure, most people will acknowledge your loss, but most won’t understand the depth of your pain. When you lose a parent, child, brother, sister, best friend, or someone else close to you, people allow you to grieve and openly support you. There are rituals and services in remembrance of the person who has passed that allow closure for those who remain living. Any such practices for pets are rare, so we are left with that wound that simply stays open and raw.

In addition, many other things can complicate and amplify your grief.

What if, What if, What if

What if I’d taken him to the vet sooner? What if I’d only fixed the fence? What if I hadn’t left him with the neighbor while we went away? All these questions signify guilt with a capital G. Second guessing is an exercise in futility. Instead, work on remembering how your pet enriched your life.


This is tough, and one that owners usually agonize over, both before the decision is made and after the pet is gone. If you have had to make this excruciating decision for your pet, you know all about how you racked your brain with doubts and questions and possibly, punishing regrets.  Often, pets tell us when it’s their time. You trusted him explicitly during his entire life; this is the ultimate time to trust him.

Don’t Fight It

You are not weak or inadequate for feeling your grief. Fighting it is worse than letting yourself feel the pain of your loss.

How to Heal?

Healing takes time, but there are some things you can do to help your pain lessen.

Find a Friend

You already know that not everyone in your life “gets it,” and choruses of, “Aren’t you over that yet?” will make you feel awful all over again. Look for that one caring, compassionate friend who can be there, listen, and understand what you’re going through and how you feel.

Nurture Yourself

You’re in pain. Acknowledge it. Do things that make you feel special and loved. Maybe it’s a walk in your favorite park, a cup of coffee with your compassionate friend, a dinner out, a favorite television show. This is not a time to beat yourself up. Accept yourself for where you are, just as your beloved pet would do.

Conduct Your Own Ceremony

There are many ways to do this. Set up a memorial in your home with your pet’s pictures, a favorite toy, and a collar. Another option is to create an outdoor commemorative garden in his favorite spot in the yard. After you have made your indoor or outdoor remembrance, spend a few quiet moments honoring and thinking about your good times together.

Pet Preservation at Animal Family Pet

The ultimate way to memorialize and remember your cherished companion is to preserve him forever using Animal Family Pet Preservation. By forgoing burial or cremation, you can keep him with you forever. We urge people to remember their pet in a sweet and peaceful sleeping pose that they can place anywhere in their home. Your pet will look exactly like you remember.

Don’t be surprised if some people mock or question your desire to keep your pet with you. It’s important to remember that opting for pet preservation is your choice and your choice alone.