Pet Loss, Grief, and Support
The grief associated with the loss of a pet is a very real and powerful thing. Just as with the loss of a person, everyone will handle and move through the stage of grief after the loss of a pet at a different rate. There is nothing ‘wrong’ about being sad, angry, or distraught after losing a pet. There is also nothing ‘wrong’ if you are able to ‘move on’ quickly after. The experience of grief is unique to each individual and each death that an individual experiences.
Hopefully, you will have a network of love and support to aid you through the loss of your pet. These people can be family, friends, and sometimes even strangers who have been through a similar experience. Regardless of your support network, you may also want or need additional support. This can be in the form of Pet Loss Groups or in ways to memorialize the life of your pet. Below we have compiled some resources that may be of use to you. This is by no means an inclusive list, but can serve as a starting point for your journey towards healing.
Also important to note is that if you need additional professional assistance to help you through the loss of a pet, please seek out appropriate medical or mental health services. There is nothing wrong about what you are feeling and experiencing, or in seeking out the help you need to be safe and healthy.
Argus Institute Counseling and Support Services
Located at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO, Argus provides free grief counseling and tools to help you make end-of-life decisions for your pet.
The can be reached by phone or through their website which is full of free tools, information, and webinars to help you through end of life care and pet loss.
Dove Lewis Pet Loss Support Program
Dove Lewis is a non-profit emergency hospital in Portland, Oregon, that also provides various services to the greater animal community. This includes weekly Grief Support Groups and tools online that you can use to memorialize your pet. They can be reached by phone, email, or online.
Phone: (503) 234-2061
Ideas for coping with the loss of a pet
Some people gain comfort from memorializing the life of their pet. Below are some of the ways we’ve seen people process through the loss of their pet. You certainly aren’t limited to the ideas listed below. Use the ideas below or come up with your own.
- Hold a small memorial service or light candles in honor of your pet’s spirit.
- Create a memory box or photo collage with pictures and objects that were part of the pet’s life.
- Contribute to a charity in your pet’s name or volunteer at an animal shelter or rescue group.
- Plant a tree in honor of your pet’s memory.