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Mourn the Death of a Dog

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Dealing with the death of a beloved pet is never easy. You feel lost. You look at their empty dish, their leash hangs by the door, and their toys are still scattered on the living room floor. You feel empty, like a part of you is somehow missing. Well it is. The grief is real (even if it the death of a pet and not a person). It is necessary to recognize that your feelings are normal. And that each person grieves differently and in their own time. What can you do to cope with the loss?

The first step is to realize that you are not alone. Seek out friends. Talk with them.

The second step is to acknowledge your feelings. Do not discount your loss. You have spent years with your pet. Their big brown eyes had a way of melting your heart. Their tail wagged its greeting, happy to see you. This is gone now and your feelings just cannot die with your pet.

The third step is to write about your feelings. Journaling is an excellent way to get your feelings out. You do not need to share your writing with others. It can be just for you.

The fourth step is to look for outside resources. There are many excellent pet bereavement groups online. Their forums allow you to share your feelings with others.

The fifth step is to prepare a memorial for your pet. This can be done in the privacy of your own home, by simply saying a eulogy or publicly at a pet cemetery.

If you have children, the sixth step is to involve them in the process. Be truthful with the child. Never tell the child that the pet ran away or simply went to sleep. This may make the child feel that the pet didn’t want them anymore or that the child could go to sleep to and never wake up again. Express your own grief and loss and allow the child to see this. We all teach our children by example and teaching a child about death is a great responsibility and not one that should be taken lightly.

The last step is to realize that the grieving process will not take forever. Time will eventually feel all wounds including this death of your pet.

Honor your pet. Take the time to grieve their loss and finally when you feel like you can, adopt another dog. Go to a shelter and rescue one there. This new dog will never be exactly like your old, but you will surely find a way to love them too. Open your heart and hug a new dog. By doing this you will know that the worst part of your grief may be over and that time had indeed healed your wounds.

I had a rough time dealing with the death of a beloved dog as a teenager. I had adopted little tan mutt when I was about 12 and I accidentally ran her over when I was 16. I was devastated. Time was the thing that filled that wound. So take the time to acknowledge your grief. It is very real and let time pass. Soon another dog will wiggle their tail, look at you with their moist eyes, raise their ears to listen to your voice and again you are lost. You are hopelessly a dog lover and this new pet has found a new companion in you.

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