For a lot of people having a pet is like having another member of the family. They offer comfort, love, emotional support and company. Pets need our attention, time and love and give us a sense of responsibility and purpose. Losing a pet can be devastating and the grief you feel on losing them can be the same as grieving the loss of a family member. It can also be a trigger bringing up feelings of past losses e.g. if your pet is your last reminder of your loved one. 


Some people may not understand the intensity of the feelings you experience when your pet dies which could lead to people feeling shame or guilt for feeling the loss so intensely. This does not mean your grief is not valid or that your feelings should not be acknowledged, you are still grieving the loss of a loved one. The emotions you are experiencing are a normal reaction to loss and it can be an emotional time.


If you have children, this may be the first time they have experienced loss and they may struggle to understand what's happened and ask lots of questions to help them process it. This can be hard to navigate whilst you are dealing with your own grief. 


There are various animal charities that offer free advice and guidance on coping with the death of a pet including ways of remembering your pet and how to speak to children. Seek support from friends and family if you can and give yourself time to grieve, your feelings are valid, be kind to yourself and allow yourself to process the loss in whatever way works for you. If you find yourself struggling to come to terms with the loss, feeling lonely, isolated or it brings up other unresolved issues or losses then talking can help. Counselling could help you through the grief, please get in touch to discuss further.