The loss of a pet can be heartbreaking. Sometimes we need help in the time leading up to and after their death. If you are feeling overwhelmed by your emotions, please reach out for help.
There is no right or wrong way to grieve and heal after the loss of a loved family member. You may find it helpful to:
- Talk it through, whether you talk it through with a family member, a friend or a medical professional, talking about how you feel and what you are experiencing can be an important part of the healing process
- Have a memorial service for your pet, whether it is planting a tree, scattering ashes or going on their favourite walk in their honor, making the loss is an important part of healing. This can be especially important for children by giving them a chance to say goodbye and express their feelings.
- Make a memorial, like above it might be planting a tree, having a stone in the garden with their name painted on it or favourite photograph on the wall. Have somewhere you can go to remember the good times.
- Write about them. Write about how you are feeling. Write about all the things you loved about them. The process of putting pen to paper can be very therapeutic even if you don’t share it with anyone. Simply writing it down help.
- Get help if you need it. It can be isolating to feel so sad after the loss of the loved one. We want you to know you are not alone and there is help available. One of the hardest things is admitting you might be struggling, however it is also one of the most empowering, when you are finally ready to take a step to get the help you need. Contact your local doctor for guidance to local support services.
- For more information regarding the healing process follow this link http://www.nalag.org.au/Library/Brochures/petloss.pdf
Pet Loss Support Counsellor
- Vicky Nonas, By My Side Pet Loss Support www.bymyside.net.au or 0401 809 666
For Australian based online resources and support services see
- Lifeline lifeline.org.au
- Beyond Blue beyondblue.com.au
- Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement grief.org.au
- National Association for Grief and Loss http://www.nalag.org.au/
- Childhood Grief https://childhoodgrief.org.au/
- Our Wonderful Pets http://www.ourwonderfulpets.com/
If you are in a crisis please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Suicide Call Back Service 24/7 on 1300 659 467
Children and Grief
It can be difficult to know what to say to a child after their much loved pet has died. Often the death of a pet is one of the first times a child may experience grief. It is important to use simple language which is appropriate to the child’s age. It is best to use correct terms like “dead and died” rather than “put to sleep or he’s sleeping now” as it can cause children to become fearful of normal processes.
From our experience, children will ask you often again and again initially after a pet has died about where the pet is and if they are coming back. Gently remind them that their pet has died and explain where they are in relation to your personal beliefs.
Allowing your child to say goodbye to their pet by having a small memorial service at home or sharing stories and planting a tree will allow them to express how they feel about the loss and can help them to process their grief.
For further information on how to explain death to children this brochure gives a good overview http://www.nalag.org.au/Library/Brochures/explaindeathchildren.pdf
For additional information on childhood grief visit https://childhoodgrief.org.au/
Making a difference when it matters the most
Have a question?
Please fill out the form below and a member of our team will be in touch with you shortly. Alternatively please contact us directly at 0411 052 779.