Pet parent petting a happy dog's head

A Pet is Never “Just” a Pet

Pet Grief Can Be Complicated, and That’s Okay

“It’s just a pet.”

There are few things crueler to say to someone grieving the loss of a furry family member. Yet people are often quick to dismiss the pain associated with pet death. Sometimes when we are coping with the loss, we can even internalize that dismissiveness and feel self-conscious or ashamed of our feelings. This only compounds the pain, adding more negative emotions to an already difficult time.

Pets serve a vital role in our lives. They are precious to us. Pets are part of the family.

In some ways, they can be even closer to us than many of the people in our lives. It’s only natural that their loss would affect us deeply.

You Are Grieving a Loyal Companion

Our pets rely on us. We are responsible for every aspect of their care. In return, they supply unconditional love and companionship. The love of a pet is uncomplicated and nonjudgmental.

Some people have especially strong bonds with their pets. The family dog or cat is often the first companion and playmate a child has, and their loss might be a child’s first experience with death. Senior citizens living alone may rely on their beloved pets for company in what might otherwise be a lonely home. Other people turn to their fur babies for emotional support that may be lacking in other areas of life.

Pets often see us through tumultuous times, from divorce and break-ups to moving to a new home, losing touch with old friends, the death of family members, and more. When a pet passes away, you may end up grieving their loss alongside many other losses and milestones that accrued during their life.

This is a natural part of the grieving process, and not a sign of weakness in any way. Quite the contrary. It’s a sign of how much love you have for your pet and the special bond you share.

You’re Also Grieving a Change in Your Lifestyle

Aside from the emotional bond, the loss of a pet can disrupt your life in practical ways that can be disorienting and upsetting. Caring for a fur baby means building your daily routine around their needs. Mealtimes, walks, litter box cleaning, daily snuggle time on the couch – you may be missing all of these and other routines that give structure to your day.

This is one reason that getting another pet can help ease the pain of loss. But getting a new pet isn’t a decision to enter lightly, and you may feel intense grief over your disrupted routine while you adjust.

Whether you choose to get another pet right away or not, you deserve to treat yourself with kindness and acknowledge the difficulty of this transition. A change in routine after losing a pet is disruptive. It’s natural that you may respond by feeling irritable, short-tempered, confused, sad, overwhelmed, or even cycle through these and other emotions. What’s important to remember is that the intensity of these feelings will lessen with time, and you will reach a point where the positive memories outweigh the painful ones.

Best Friends Pet Passings and Cremations is dedicated to helping Albuquerque pet parents say goodbye in the most peaceful way possible. From partnering with mobile vets who provide at-home euthanasia services, to providing multiple cremation packages and memorial services for pets, we are here for you to help in any way we can in your time of loss. Give us a call at 505-345-5615 to arrange pet cremation or learn more about our services.

Pet parent petting a happy dog's head