Click the play button to watch Lauren explain how pet loss is never easy but her best-selling eBook, The Eternal Gift: Coping with the Loss of a Beloved Animal, can ease the process. (If you are unable to view the video here, watch it on YouTube!)
As many of you know, I work a great deal with people who are suffering from pet loss. Having worked with hundreds of clients over the years, and having learned a thing or two from my own grieving process, I have picked up a few things that some of you may find helpful. - Lauren
5 Tips for Grieving the Loss of a Beloved Animal
Suggestions that can really help.
Helping Someone Mourn the Loss of a Beloved Animal
Your support can really make a difference.
The pain of losing a beloved animal can be overwhelming to the bereaved. Your support can be invaluable, especially in a society that does not always understand the depth of that pain. Whether you consider yourself to be ‘an animal person’ or not, your grieving friend or family member is. Sometimes people are surprised that others go through grief for the loss of an animal friend that is similar to the grief and loss we experience after the death of a human friend or relative. Simply put, this is because to many of us, our animal companions are part of our family.
Our pets offer us unconditional love. Imagine being able to saying what’s on your mind, or in your heart to someone without fear of judgment. Imagine being able to rely on them to always be happy to see you and enjoy your company even when you are tired, grumpy or just don’t have anything to say. Now consider how much time we spend with our animal friends, caring for them, playing, talking, stroking, brushing and scratching, maybe even taking naps. Is it any wonder that these precious creatures dwell in every part of our lives, occupy our thoughts and take up such a big place in our hearts?
So how can you help someone who is grieving for his or her animal? Avoid saying anything about the “right” way to grieve. It all depends on the individual experiencing the loss, as well as your personal comfort level. As an animal communicator I have worked professionally for over 12 years with people who have experienced the death of an animal. My eBook, “The Eternal Gift: Coping with the Loss of a Beloved Animal” was written specifically to help people deal with their loss by helping them to understand the animals’ perspective on life and death. In working with 100’s of clients, and learning from my own grieving process many times, I have discovered a few things about what may be helpful to the bereaved. Aware that everyone’s grief experience is unique, I have compiled several suggestions that may be helpful to you in your support of someone grieving the death of a beloved animal.
Helpful: Understand that the relationship between people and their animal companion is deeply personal. People confide their hopes and dreams as well as their fears and insecurities to animals in ways they might not do with friends or relatives.
Not Helpful: Any suggestions or implications that the loss of an animal is any less difficult than the loss of any other family member.
Helpful: Patient listening. Animals give unconditional love. Losing that source of love and support that comes without judgment or pre-conditions can lead to feelings of loneliness or abandonment. Be there for your friend or family member.
Not Helpful: Advice, shoulds, or opinions. Listening deeply is a great gift to the bereaved.
Helpful: Respect that every animal is unique, just as every relationship between a person and his or her animal companion is unique.
Not Helpful: Suggesting that the bereaved can replace the relationship they have lost by just going to the pet shop or shelter. There is a readiness for this in each person’s grief process. While a visit to the local shelter may be something thing to consider in time, people often feel that they are being disloyal to the memory of their animal friend if they ‘replace’ them too soon.
Helpful: Be patient. Allow people time to grieve and remember. The grieving process takes as much time as it takes. Respect each person’s grieving process unless it is causing harm to the individual (i.e. substance abuse). Helping with rituals, memorials, commemorations may be something the bereaved may value from you.
Not Helpful: Suggesting time lines for another’s grief or talking about stages they need to go “through”. Let the bereaved person teach you about what he or she needs to heal in their grief process.
Helpful: We can never underestimate the support, love and companionship your friend’s animal may have offered on a physical, mental and emotional level. Acknowledge that their life has changed and let them choose to voice how they feel about the day-to-day changes in their lives and routine. The loss of routine, going for walks, shopping for animal food or supplies, even chores related to the animal’s care like giving medications, fluids, or cleaning up accidents in the house can, in a sense, become rituals of devotion. The bereaved may feel as though the absence of their routine animal chores leaves holes in their days that they don’t yet know how to fill. Let them know that grief hurts and their feelings are normal and natural in the process.
Not Helpful: Avoid old clichés such as “Be glad he/she is no longer suffering” or “It’s good that you don’t have to mop up that pee anymore.” While these may be true, such statements only serve to stop the grieving experience for the bereaved, or invalidate how they are actually feeling.
Everyone’s grieving process is unique. Allow your friend or family member to grieve in their own way (as long as it is healing), and in their own time. The impact of loss should not be measured by species, but by the depth of love one feels for another being. Our animal companions offer us unconditional love and for many, that love touches our very core.
You may also download this article, Helping Someone Mourn the Loss of a Beloved Animal. (Note! This article is in PDF format. You'll need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view it. Get Acrobat Reader here.)
Lauren shares wisdom and lessons from animals who have passed to the Other Side in this comforting book. You’ll hear about the life lessons of beloved animals, why they came into our lives, and how we may someday meet again. These words from the heart provide comfort, hope and meaning to animal lovers who are going through the grieving process for their animal companion.
Enjoy these lessons of life, truth, wisdom and inspiration from our most loyal and loving friends and companions.
Available in two formats!
Checkout for this item will be processed separately from other items in our store.