Goodbye, Dear One: Coping with The Death of a Beloved Pet

On Malaysia Day 2021, I lost a beloved pet. It happened right before midnight, and needless to say, I didn’t get much sleep that night. Many tears were shed.

Pet lovers would know that losing a pet is right up there on the list of unpleasant experiences, probably along with wisdom tooth extraction. Although I have lost a pet before in my life, it doesn’t lessen the sting. After all, the pet has become part of your life and a beloved member of your family.

Almost a week have since passed. Over the days that followed, I am learning how to cope with this loss, and I would like to share the things that I have learned with you.

It’s Okay to Grieve

It’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to feel sadness every time you pass the place where your pet used to be. It’s okay to be emotional when you spot your pet’s favourite toy. It’s completely okay. It’s important to know that because ignoring those feelings will only delay our grief process. Many may also think: “It’s just a pet!”, never understanding that losing a pet can be a traumatic time.

Sometimes, you may be feeling better for a while, but seeing something that reminds you of your pet may trigger your sadness again. That’s alright. Take all the time that you need to grieve. Remember that the time for grieving may vary from one person to another, so allow yourself the flexibility and don’t rush the process. You may also consider expressing your feelings in a journal if that can help to ensure that you don’t bottle your feelings.  

Don’t Feel Guilty

As a caretaker, you may also have feelings of guilt such as ‘Is there anything I could have done differently?’ or ‘Is there anything that I shouldn’t have done?’ After Kiki’s passing, there were many ‘If only’ that came to my mind. If only I was more alert, if only I did this, if only I didn’t do this. The first few days after Kiki’s passing was filled with so many ‘If only’. But I had to learn not to allow these guilty feelings to disturb my mind, start to accept the loss, and learn to move on.  

Reach Out for Support

For me, part of moving on is to reach out for support from loved ones or fellow pet lovers. Sometimes, a listening ear can be really powerful in the healing process. Additionally, I also find joy in recalling happy memories of Kiki with my family members.

Don’t Neglect Your Other Pets

If you have other pets, don’t ignore them simply because it is a painful reminder of the pet you lost. The other pets also have feelings, and they might need extra attention during these times. When I was growing up, I had two pet dogs who were brothers and grew up together. After the first one died, the other dog didn’t bark for a whole week. That’s when I realised just how real our pets’ feelings are. Therefore, it is important for you to keep your usual routine with the other pets.

It can also be tempting to find a replacement for your pet, but it is not advisable to do that when you’re still grieving. Allow yourself time to grieve and heal properly. So when the time is right for you to get a new pet, you will be able to give your new pet the attention and care that the pet truly deserves.

Find Creative Ways to Celebrate the Life of Your Pet

As a step of moving on, think of creative ways or outlets to celebrate the life of your pet. For example, you can create a memory book of your pet. If you are creative, how about writing a poem or even painting a picture? It can be really therapeutic and helpful.

That is why this post is a tribute to our dear Kiki, who has brought such joy and much laughter into our lives. It has been a wonderful experience watching you grow, and every memory with you will always be cherished. You have been such a beautiful gift to us. We miss you dearly.

To all of you pet owners out there who have gone through a similar experience, what have been some of the ways you dealt with the loss? Feel free to share in the comment below, I would love to hear from you!

“Animals are reliable, many full of love, true in their affections, predictable in their actions, grateful and loyal. Difficult standards for people to live up to.” -Alfred A. Montapert.

Source: Photo by Andrew S on Unsplash

Hannah Becca is a content writer under Headliner by Newswav, a programme where content creators get to tell their unique stories through articles and at the same time monetize their content within the Newswav app.
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Hannah Becca
Author: Hannah Becca

A writer with a love for coffee and a passion for humanitarian works.