Processing and Dealing With The Loss of Your Pet


Losing your pet is very difficult. You feel empty, sad and overwhelmed with grief. Your loss is profound. You may feel some guilt and anger. You know that you are in pain; both emotionally and physically.

You look around your house and it hits you like a ton of bricks. His toys are scattered around the house. Each one is a memory. The ball he played with yesterday still carries his scent. You see some of his hair in the corner. Yesterday it might have annoyed you. Today you pick it up and instead of tossing it away, you hold it close and cherish it.

Some people have the need to immediately put away all of their beloved pet’s belongings. Leashes, food bowls and beds are all quickly gathered up and gently placed in a closet. Others can't stand the thought of packing up their pet's belongings. Instead, they take great comfort in having them in sight.

After Jake's death I worried about leaving his belongings out. I was concerned that by doing so, it would cause Couper, my surviving dog, to feel worse than he was already feeling. He was mourning the loss of his best friend. Yet rather than being upset with Jake's belongings scattered around the house, he instead took great comfort from them. He would sniff Jake's toys, and even sleep in his bed.

It's been almost two years since Jake's death. And still to this day I can't even think about throwing away his all-time favorite toy; a worn out deflated basketball. It was his prize possession. He would proudly carry it around in his mouth. It looked quite silly but he absolutely loved it. To this day that roughed up old deflated basketball sits in my garage. It's the first thing I see when I get into my car, and the last thing I see when I return home. It gives me great comfort and I honestly don't think I will ever be able to throw it out.

Don't let someone else decide what you should do immediately following the death of your pet. Grieving is a process. Healing is a process. Neither can be rushed. I have taken great comfort in remembering Jake as he was. I try not to focus on his last day. To do so would be unfair to him and to his memory. Try to remember all the wonderful days you shared together. It will help you heal. There was a time when I would look at another yellow lab and the sadness would take my breath away. I decided this wasn't helping me. Now when I see a yellow lab I use that moment to think of Jake and to remember the wonderful years we had together.

If your pet ill and in need of prayers, be sure to add them to our prayers for pet’s page.