Dealing with the Grief of Losing Your Dog

Dog that has gone to dog heaven

It’s a sad fact of life that dogs just don’t live as long as we do. If you have had the pleasure of owning several dogs in your life, that means you’ve also had to go through losing them. It’s such a hard thing to have to do, but as they say, it’s better to have loved and lost, than to never have loved at all.

People Will Try To Comfort You

When your dog passes away, people are going to do their best to comfort you with well-meaning words of advice and common sayings, like “he’s in a better place” or  “she’s gone to the rainbow bridge” or they’ll tell you that “time will heal your wounds”. You know they are right, but still their words offer no real comfort at the moment when it feels like your heart has been ripped out of your chest.

Grieving over a pet is nothing to be ashamed of. When you say that your dog is like your child or your best friend, you mean it – and even if it’s not to the same degree, it still hurts to realize one day that your pet’s life has ended.

Mourn In Your Own Way

So what happens when that time comes for you? First, understand that there’s no right or wrong way for you to grieve. Some of you will run out the same day and get a new puppy to love, to fill the void.

Others will have to mourn the loss slowly and honor their pet’s life carefully and methodically. Either way is right, depending on whatever helps you with your own grief. So when you get advice, see what fits you best and use that.

You’re going to feel lonely, and sad – and you might get angry when others don’t understand. Don’t expect them to. Just embrace your own feelings. Try to voice your feelings with others who are in the same boat or have had felt the same way before, whether in person or online in a group setting. You can even write about your dog and what he or she meant to you and have it published here on our blog.

Beyond the Rainbow Bridge

It might be cathartic for you to hold a funeral for your pet. It can be as simplistic or elaborate as you wish. You can say a few words about your dog and how he or she affected your life for the better. There are many ways you can create a memorial for your canine friend.

Let Your Grief Out

Don’t be afraid to cry and remember the good times. You can look at pictures of the happy days and let yourself sink fully into your grief. It’s better to address it than to bottle it up and let it affect you longer.

At night, you might wake up grieving the loss of your pet, who used to snuggle up close to you. On walks, you might feel the loneliness of his absence trotting along beside you. This, as they say, will improve with time. But allow yourself to feel those feelings for now.

Are You Ready For Your Next Best Friend?

If you miss the camaraderie of a pet and are considering getting another pet, don’t feel guilty. You can adopt another one in honor of the one who passed away, or if you’re not quite ready for that, you can volunteer at an animal shelter to give the love you had for your dog to another animal that is in need of your comfort. Your dog would have wanted it that way.

When Your Doggy Dies

Even though it may not seem so, time really will lesson the pain. The time will come when you will be able to look back on the memory of your dog with nostalgic joy, just slightly tinged with a bit of sadness.

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