Coping with Pet Loss
We are so sorry for the loss of your companion and want you to know that it’s okay to feel the way that you’re feeling right now. Whether this is an impending loss or whether your pet has already passed, there is a lot to do and emotions to deal with – things that you probably never imagined when you brought your furry one home. Please know that you are not alone.
Dealing with the loss of a pet is just as intense as that of any close loved one and often misunderstood by society. This is a time to be kind to yourself; to allow yourself to feel sad, guilty, and devastated. If your pet passed as a result of an accident or in an unexplained way, you may feel as though you failed your animal. But you did everything you could with the circumstances you were presented. Your pet knows that you love him or her and that he or she was more than just a pet to you.
Resources to Help You Through this Difficult Time
We created this section of the FMAS website as a resource to help make things easier for you during this difficult time. For instance, have you decided what to do with your pet’s body? This is an uncomfortable decision to make for yourself or with family, but a necessary one. Not everyone has the option to bury their pet at home. Pet cemeteries and cremation are also options. Your animal hospital might also be able to do a cremation for you. If not, they should be able to point you in the direction of someone whom they recommend. They may also be able to freeze the body for you while you make arrangements. Locally, Animal Heaven in Hollis, NH (603-465-2577) has a lovely pet cemetery and also performs respectful cremations. If you are looking for a way to memorialize your pet, Adirondack Stone Works and foreverpets.com offer nice options.
If your pet is going to pass, or has passed, at home, you may find this information from the ASPCA helpful. It is specific to the NYC area but speaks to some details that are infrequently discussed.
To help sort through the emotional side of things, you may want to start by reading this post on pet loss from petplace.com. You can also visit the webpage that one of our Board Members created for her beloved cat. Similarly, we are working toward expanding this section of our website so you too will be able to create a similar memorial page for your pet in the future.
For further support dealing with the loss of a pet, including information on meeting the emotional needs of children at the time of a pet’s death, call the ASPCA’s Pet Loss Hotline at 1-877-GRIEF-10.