Good Grief! Helping You Grieve The Loss Of A Pet

We bought our daughter Julie a St. Bernard five years ago. Each evening “Mackie” climbed up on my lap to take a nap (even after she was full grown)! A couple years later Mackie died of a kidney disease. We buried her under her favorite tree,Good Grief! Helping You Grieve The Loss Of A Pet Articles made a marker, and thanked God for the wonderful gift of Mackie. But each of us experienced grief and pain over the loss of our beloved dog. This article will give you several guidelines to help you experience good grief as you suffer the loss of your pet.

As I share the following guidelines to help you grieve the loss of your pet, please keep in mind that each person’s grief process is as unique as the relationship between that pet and its owner. However, pet grief can be good grief.

1. Just as in the loss of a spouse, parent, child, or other significant person, you must ACKNOWLEDGE THE LOSS of your beloved dog or pet. I know that sounds obvious, but denial is a powerful emotion during times of significant loss. In fact, pretending that you are not hurting during times of significant loss can actually be detrimental to your physical and emotional health. There really is such a thing as “Good Grief.” Grief is a healthy emotional process. Admit that your cherished dog or pet is gone. Don’t let others trivialize the importance of that dog in your life. A couple quotes will show you that we recognized many years ago how important dogs and other pets are to us. For example, Roger Caras once said, “Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.” Josh Billings noted, “A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.” And Will Rogers once quipped, “If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went.”