Time is usually the biggest healer for the grieving owner. Grief comes in waves; large at first, but getting smaller and less frequent over time. However, there are some ways to help to speed the healing process and these include:
- Give yourself permission to grieve and be patient with yourself. It is okay to be upset about the death of your dog. Take as long as you need and cry as much as you like.
- Hold a memorial for your dog. This helps to make the loss real and gives you an opportunity to reflect and express your feelings. A brief funeral or memorial gathering with close friends or family who knew your dog will give everyone an opportunity to say goodbye and to recognise their feelings and share their grief.
- Learn about the grief process. This will help you to realise that that you are not alone in experiencing these emotions and feelings and that they are in fact, perfectly normal.
- Surround yourself with people who understand your loss and who you can talk to about your dog. Talking with others will help you to express your feelings and come to terms with your loss.
- Look after yourself physically and indulge yourself in small pleasures. Make an effort to get enough exercise, sleep and eat properly. Treat and pamper yourself.
- Don’t be ashamed or too proud to get help. Contact a pet bereavement counsellor or attend a support group if you cannot cope alone or even with help from your friends or family.