What To Do When Friends and Family Don’t Understand Pet Loss
Losing a pet is difficult, and it's even harder when you feel like you can't talk to your friends and family about it. Pets are members of the family too, and their loss should be mourned in the same way.
If the loss of a pet has hit you hard, you might turn to those around you for comfort. So it can be incredibly discouraging when the people you love the most aren't supportive. Often, it's simply a case that they don't understand pet loss and how it impacts people. If your loved ones don't understand why you're grieving, here are some tips on how to help them to understand your position.
The grieving process is different for everyone - don't be ashamed if you're not coping the way others expect you
Some people might not cry or show any obvious signs of upset, while others might be extremely emotional. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, so do whatever you need to in order to cope.
Talk about your pet and how much they meant to you. It can be difficult to open up about your feelings, particularly when those around you aren't supportive. People often compare pet deaths to human deaths and decide that a pet death should be less significant, but this isn't the case. If you are close to your pet, a pet death can feel just as raw and emotional.
Allow yourself to feel all the emotions that come with pet loss - sadness, anger, guilt, loneliness
Bottling up your emotions will only make the grieving process harder. It can be helpful to talk to someone who understands what you're going through - whether that's another pet owner, a friend who has also lost a pet, or a professional counsellor.
If you don't allow yourself to experience your grief, you might get stuck and be unable to move forward. It's better to accept that you are grieving so you can process your emotions in a healthy way.
Seek out support from friends and family, or online communities of people who understand what you're going through
If you can't get support from those around you, don't be afraid to widen your search for a supportive circle. You might have extended family members who understand what you are going through, or you might have acquaintances that have recently lost a pet.
If no one currently in your life can understand your pain, then you can also turn to online communities. These can be a great source of support and advice from people who have been through the same thing as you. Remember, you are not alone in this. No matter how hard it feels, remember that you are not alone in your grief. There are plenty of other people out there who understand what you're going through and can offer support and advice.
Don't hesitate to seek professional help if you need it
If you are struggling to cope with your grief, don't hesitate to seek professional help. A counsellor or therapist can offer impartial support and guidance through this difficult time. It might feel odd to seek counselling for the loss of a pet, but grief is grief, no matter what has caused it.
Losing a pet is never easy, but it's important to remember that you are not alone in your grief. There are resources out there to help you move through the grieving process. So if you’re uncomfortable speaking to a professional, try reading a book or listening to a podcast about grief.
Remember the good times you shared with your pet and celebrate their life
One of the best things you can do to honour your pet's memory is to remember all the good times you shared. Celebrate their life and all the happiness they brought you. This can be a difficult thing to do, but it's important to focus on the positive memories so you can start to heal. It’s also essential for finding closure and saying goodbye.
Planning a memorial or creating a keepsake piece of jewellery from your pet's ashes are both great ways to memorialise your pet and keep them close to your heart forever.