A pet is more than just a pet — they're part of the family. That's why it's so painful when we have to say goodbye. Grief comes in waves, and we endure the same stages of denial, anger, guilt, depression, and finally acceptance as if we were losing a family member or a friend.

Here are 7 ways that may help you better cope after losing your pet. 

  1. Consider a ceremony. Find comfort in gathering with friends and family to remember your pet. Have an intimate memorial service to signify a funeral. While it's a time for you to say goodbye, it's also a time to celebrate the life of your pet.
  2. Reflect upon the life you shared with your pet. Take the time to ponder through writing, storytelling, or creating. Whatever expression brings you the most comfort. 
  3. Maintain routines with your living animals. They're experiencing grief and the loss of their companion as well. Dogs can search for their pack member, while cats may hide or spend more time alone. Try to maintain your routines with them, as they provide a sense of structure and familiarity for everyone involved.
  4. Take your time. Don't rush yourself to "get over it". Go at your own pace, and find your comfort in different things. If you find fur on the floor and you're not ready to give it up just yet, leave it there. Grief is a unique process for everyone. 
  5. Honor your pet's memory. Find a way that's meaningful to you. Whether that's by planting a tree, volunteering, or donating to a favorite animal charity, it's a great way to keep your pet’s memory alive.
  6. Permit yourself to feel. Trying to pretend like you're not affected by it will only bring the pain back later on. Forgive yourself for the things you weren't able to do with them, and understand that you did your best. With what life presented you with at the time, you did your best.
  7. Seek support when you need it. Grief is an individual experience, and we do our best when we can share it with others. Recognize when you need support-whether, it's calling a friend or spending time with a loved one. IN the same way, it's essential to recognize when you'd benefit from spending time alone. Don't force yourself to be with other people just for the sake of it. Sometimes, we need time ourselves to process our feelings.

It is essential to understand that it's completely normal to mourn the loss of your pet. Process these feelings as they arise and take the time to work through them. Remember to find comfort in knowing that there will be a day when you can remember your friend with cherished memories and strength.