If you lost your furry friend...
They say there are 5 stages of greiving, and when your pet crosses the Rainbow Bridge, it may seem that you're experiencing these stages all at once. Death may be sudden and unexpected, and no matter how much time you may have had to 'prepare' - it's perfectly normal for the mourning process to be difficult once the time comes. Here are a few things that we have found to be helpful to our own friends and family here at St. Pupper's:
It's okay to mourn
Our grief that we feel during this time is an expression of the love that we experienced, and the transformation of our life in it's absense. Unfortunately, life doesn't slow down during this time as you'll still be expected to show up to work, tend to your family, and yourself. However, you should consider setting a little time out of your day to greive and fully experience your emotions. Repessing these feelings or avoiding the greiving process may cuase more pain in the future. It's best to cope with these feelings as soon as possible, and at your own pace.
Talk about it
Friends and family can be a very valuable resource to help guide you during this process. Your emotions are runnign wild, and speaking to someone about these feelings can help ground them. Not to mention, most people in their lives have mourned before, and can often provide useful suggestions that helped them during their time. If you have nobody to turn to, consider attending a pet loss group therapy session. Most are free, and can be found by calling your local humane society or veterinarian. A good place to start is right here.
Don't blame yourself
If you feel that you are to blame for your pet's passing with questions such as "what if I took them to the vet earlier?" or "what if I fed her better food?", rest assured that that's not the case. You were a very caring owner to your pet, and these questions will only hinder the greiving process, since you should be looking to the future and not dwelling on the past. While you might be looking for answers, sometimes there are no answers to be had - and that's perfectly okay.
Strive to make peace
Let's make something clear: the mourning process is not about getting over the loss of your pet. It's about accepting that while your pet may not be here physically, they are here with you emotionally, spirtually, in our hearts and in our memories. The time that you and your pet shared together will always be something that you will cherish, and those memories will be with you forever. With regular time set aside to mourn, by talking with others about what you are going through, and by accepting that your pet is still with you in other ways, you'll be be back to yourself soon enough - and now with a little guardian angel watching over you.
If you know someone who has lost their furry friend...
Friends who have lost their pet may need you more than you think. This is an especially emotional time in their lives, and by being their for them, you'll be helping them make large strides in their time of mourning. We've also compiled a small list of tips that should be consider when consoling the owner of a pet who has recently become an angel and has crossed the Rainbow Bridge.
Be a good listener
When someone opens up and talks about the pain that they are experiencing, try to be a good listener and let them speak. Talking aloud helps the mourner organize their thoughts, which is especially helpful since the emotions that they're feeling during this time can cause thinking patterns to be relatively scattered. It's also worth mentioning to avoid using the phrases "you should...", or "if I were you I would..." if you cannot relate to what they are going through. With that said, if you've gone through a tragic loss in your life, then now's the time to share your story with them!
Be available if you're needed, and remember to check in often. Someone who is going through this painful process can feel isolated at times, as if nobody truly cares about the emotions that they're experiencing, and that they're alone in figuring this out. Showing someone who is going through the mourning process that you're there for them during this time is a good way to expedite the mourning process, as they can focus on coping with the loss of their pet and not on the fact that they feel alone. Again, emotions are high - and even though they may not be alone, they may feel that way!
If anything, keep it simple
You don't need to overdo it! If you're unsure how to handle helping someone through this, you can say simple phrases such as "I'm sorry to hear, and I can't imagine what you're going through. I'm here for you". Keeping it simple is an easy way to let them do most of the talking (see the above point), as well as signaling to them that you truly care.
If this is a true friend or family member - then don't walk on eggshells. While some things may be off limits, don't be afraid to joke with your friend if you usually do. If anything it should help by getting the mourner's mind off of the somber subject, and it may even cause them to laugh! Sometimes mourners don't want to be treated differently, but your mileage may vary, since you know your friend more than us!