Betty J. Carmack - Author of Grieving the Death of a Pet
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  Consider creating  a memorial  to honor your animal companion
 

Guidelines for Coping with the Loss of a Pet


1. Recognize that your animal companion's death is a major loss resulting in significant grief.

2. Take care of yourself ; nurture yourself in ways that comfort you --- your body, mind and spirit are grieving a major loss. Be gentle with yourself and take care of  you.

3. Find nurturing people to support you --- your grief and your accompanying feelings are too tender to be trampled or minimized.

4. Seek out specific resources for pet loss, e.g., books, web-sites. Think about joining a pet loss support group, seeking out a counselor, or calling a pet loss hot line.

5. Consider creating a memorial or ritual to honor your animal companion.

6. Remember that the course of grief is not particularly smooth and doesn't necessarily follow specific stages. Be aware that holidays, birthdays, and anniversary dates can be especially difficult.

7. Know you may have conflicting feelings when thinking of bringing another animal companion into your life.

8. Honor your own time lines and experience -- don't let others tell you where you should be in your grief or what you should be feeling.

9. Different members of a family may grieve in different ways and have different time lines.

10. Children grieve too --- they also need support --- support them at their level of need and development.