Healing from Pet Loss and Grief

This pain feels like it will never go away

If you are reading this then chances are you have lost a precious companion, part of your family even. I am so very deeply sorry for your loss. And I understand from the depth of by being.

As a psychotherapist of 38 years (The love of my life, my Dachshund Cocoa, worked in my psychotherapy practice with me for 15 of those years) I can tell you with confidence it won’t always feel this sad, this lonely or this devastating. But telling you that, doesn’t lessen the pain you are in now. Your pet was a constant source of joy, love, companionship and of course, unconditional love. So of course you feel devastated. And no one should ever give you the message these feeling are silly because your loved one was “just a pet”.

Normal feelings:

1. Grief:

Grief is experienced by different people in different ways and it’s compounded not only by sorrow and loss but my other feelings that may accompany your experience.

If you had to put Your pet down you may feel overwhelming grief almost as if you killed them. I know you made the best decision you could and the truth is, of course, that you were willing to suffer so they didn’t have to.

2. Anger:

You may have anger at the disease that killed them, the accident that happened, the veterinarian that couldn’t save them. This anger makes sense and is part of the pain of saying goodbye.

3. Disbelief –

Just acknowledging that your pet is going is so very gut wrenchingly painful. It can feel impossible to believe. The empty space your love one once occupied is incomprehensible, I know.

4. Powerless that can lead to depression

The deep soulful connection you had with your loved one is truly irreplaceable and it can still heal and you can once again feel joy, even joy for another pet companion.

When my beloved Cocoa died, I said I would never get another dog because I never wanted to feel that pain again. I have had 4 dogs since in the 9 years since she  passed. What allowed me to have more dogs was that I realized even if I knew when I got her that our 15 years together would never be enough and I would grieve so very deeply when she was gone, I still would not have wanted to miss out on her love in my life.

I promise this will not feel this way forever. I promise.

Copy-write Marcie S.Cramer, LMHC 2011