Natural Healing Clinic

Pets play a very special part in our lives providing unconditional love, joy, loyalty, acceptance, friendship, comfort and companionship sometimes over many years. Many people love their pet in the same way that they do any other family member and it is not surprising that the loss of a pet should invoke a range of potentially intense emotions. This is not something to be embarrassed about – it is perfectly natural and appropriate.

Guilt:
Some people feel guilty because they have doubts over the decision they made to euthanasia their pet; some blame themselves because they feel they were negligent or did something to contribute towards their pet’s demise (“If only I had/hadn’t…”); others feel guilty about times during their pet’s life when they felt they could have been more attentive or caring.
Guilt is a negative and destructive emotion and you should try instead to focus on positive and happy memories associated with your pet’s life. In some circumstances it is also possible to learn lessons that you can carry through into the care of a new friend at the right time.

Emotions that you may experience around the loss of a pet include:

Pet loss does not just refer to the death of a pet. Many of the points above also apply to other forms of pet loss, namely when a pet goes missing, has to be rehomed due to unavoidable and regrettable circumstances, or is stolen.

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Many people experience a similar range and time frame of emotions following bereavement; however it is important to remember that there is no set pattern of grief – it is ultimately an individual experience that depends on many factors including your individual personality, the circumstances surrounding your pet’s death and the relationship you had with your pet. Similarly how long it takes to start to feel better will vary between individuals.Type your paragraph here.

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Depression:
Clearly for most people the loss of a pet leads to feelings of sadness, lethargy and misery; although potentially very severe, these feelings typically start to ease, albeit sometimes very slowly, after a period of days and do not impair one’s ability to go about one’s daily business.

However in some cases traumatic and distressing events such as pet loss can trigger clinical depression with feelings of extreme sadness that may last for weeks or months and interfere with daily life. Clinical depression is an illness that can manifest physical signs and for which medical assistance should be sought.


Anger:
Anger may be directed for example at your veterinarian, your pet’s illness, your pet, yourself or even God/a higher power
Although anger may seem to help as it distracts from the pain of bereavement, in the long run it only serves to prolong an already difficult situation; release the anger and allow yourself to hurt as this is the only path to recovery.


Confusion:
Sometimes following the loss of a pet, especially a long-term companion, people describe thinking that they heard or saw their pet. This is especially common just after being asleep and before being awake enough to acknowledge reality. This confusion is relatively common, will become less frequent in time and is definitely not something to feel embarrassed about.

Denial:
Denying the reality of your bereavement can seem like an attractive option as it keeps the hurt at bay – if you don’t feel the pain, maybe it will just go away. However this rarely works and instead the pain simply remains bottled up inside until it is finally unleashed. Accepting and acknowledging your bereavement is the first step to dealing with it.

If your pet is still with you but you are planning euthanasia, denying the reality of what is soon to occur deprives you of vital time in which you could be preparing emotionally for the bereavement (in so far as this is possible) and maximizing the time you have left with your beloved companion. Likewise, if your pet has been diagnosed with a terminal illness, accept and work with the reality – make the most of the time you have left while you can, shower him/her with love, spend as much time together as possible.

Denying the seriousness of your pet’s signs can lead to a delay in obtaining treatment or in euthanasia thereby prolonging suffering which in turn can manifest as guilt and/or anger subsequently.

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