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The hardest Part is saying Goodbye

It is perhaps not surprising that having pets can have a positive impact on your mental health and overall wellbeing.

Pets can bring you a lot of joy. They provide us with unconditional love and companionship. They are good listeners and give great cuddles. They comfort us when we are sad and join in our happiness when things are going well.

Pets can teach us about taking responsibility. They can give us a purpose and add meaning to our lives. They can be our best friends. They cheer us up when we feel down or stressed.

They are a part of our family. And we love our pets dearly.

The hardest part about having a pet?

Saying goodbye.

The sad truth is that most of our pets will die before we do. Chances are that they will become poorly and it is up to us to make the heartbreaking decision when to end their suffering and put them to sleep.

How do you even begin to make a decision like this? Of course nobody wants to see their furry friend suffer. But often we might hold on for too long. Hoping that there might be a reprieve. We might be plagued by indecision.

We might be in denial.

You might find yourself in a situation where your pet has suddenly become very poorly, out of the blue or unexpectedly. You might feel ill equipped to suddenly face the death of your pet.

We can often experience feelings of guilt once we have decided to put our pet to sleep. Did we do the right thing? Was it the right time? Should we have waited? Should we have done it sooner? What if we got it wrong?

The death itself might not be as peaceful as you would have liked for your pet. Things can go wrong and you might feel traumatised by you experience.

Most of us are no stranger to grief and bereavement. The pain is overwhelming and unbearable. It washes over you relentlessly and often it feels like there is no escape from the intensity of our feelings.

Pet Bereavement is no different.

It's heartbreaking.

It's painful.

It's devastating.

It hurts.


Luckily society as a whole and people in general are starting to become a bit more understanding and compassionate towards Pet Bereavement but you might still come across the odd person who says unhelpful things like “It's only a dog” or “What's the big deal?” Or who might tell you that you're overreacting and shouldn't feel as upset or angry or hurt as you're feeling. I hope you don't cross paths with someone like that but if you do, please know that what you are feeling is okay and that you are not overreacting.

Because the truth of the matter is that whatever it is you're feeling, they are your feelings and they are valid. It's okay to feel upset, angry, hurt and heartbroken about the loss of your pet. Why wouldn't you feel that way? The relationship you had with your pet is unique to you. Those feelings are a natural reaction to what has happened.

Unfortunately there is no short cut through grief. And there is no time limit. Grieving takes time.

And with time, you might start to be able to remember the happy and joyful times you shared with your pet.

Perhaps you might find it helpful to have photos of your pet in your home or to have a memorial of them somewhere, for example a tree in your garden. Many pet cremation services now offer memorial items such as paw prints and lovely urns for your pet's ashes.

Your pet might have left you behind when they crossed the rainbow bridge but that doesn't mean that the bond you shared with them is broken.

You will always remember them and they will always be a part of you.

If you do feel that you are struggling to come to terms with the loss of your pet and you are experiencing difficult feelings and would like to talk about what is going on for you, please do get in touch.

Pet Bereavement Therapy can help you to process your loss and your experiences. It is a safe and non judgmental space and as a pet owner myself, I have personal experience of Pet Bereavement which means I can offer you a lot of empathy and understanding.

Pet Bereavement Therapy also includes some practical exercises which can help you to process your feelings if you find it difficult to put them into words.

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