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The holiday season is full of family, gatherings, excitement, memories of a year gone by, and expectations of the year ahead. However, for anyone who has lost a pet, this can be a brutal time of year.
The brain processes the loss of a furry loved one in the same way it processes the loss of a human loved one. Our pets become family members, and losing them leaves a hollow emptiness.
With the holidays upon us, here are some tips for surviving through the holiday season if you are grieving the passing of a fur friend.
There is no right time to experience grief and loss. Still, the holiday season, with all its baking, caroling, well-wishing, shopping, gifting, singing, partying, and happiness seems especially incongruous with mourning.
Realize that it is absolutely normal to feel sad. The loss of a beloved pet is a profound, life-changing event.
Honor and remember your beloved pet in a way that is meaningful for you. Some people say a prayer or light a candle. Others are comforted by looking at pictures or putting together a scrapbook or photo album.
Whatever you choose, acknowledge your grief, and take a few minutes to remember your fur friend.
Giving to a pet who is amongst the living allows your pet’s legacy to live on through them.
Others will see the words “Donation in memory of…” and your pet’s name, and in this way, your pet will touch the lives of others.
If you had unique holiday traditions with your late pet, it might be too soon take part in the very same traditions you are used to doing with your beloved pet. That is understandable.
Maybe you had a special place that you and your belated pet loved to visit or walk during the holiday season. If it is too painful, try finding a new walk or discover a new spot where you can sit with your thoughts.
If you have other pets or you have let a new pet into your heart, discover a special place that can be yours together.
Consider starting a holiday tradition that honors your pet’s memory, while helping other animals as well – for example:
During grief, it can be easy to forget to put yourself first. Make sure to reach out to people when you need support. Find people who can relate to your experience and can offer you support.
Pet Loss Support Groups can offer safe, non-judgmental environments for people to share their feelings and experiences with others who truly understand.
You can find a Pet Loss Support Group in your area by asking your local veterinarian for recommendations. For online support groups, look at your veterinary hospital’s website.
Here at PetFirst, we know accidents and illnesses happen to all pets. PetFirst is here for every canine and cat – year-round! Pet insurance can help cover unexpected vet visits.
Pet insurance provides peace of mind that if your pet gets sick or injured, you don’t have to worry about the financial aspect of your pet’s care. You can focus on your pet’s health.