Starting again after pet bereavement
Anyone that has a pet knows that they can creep under your skin and deep into your heart very fast and become a strong part of the family. Even if you have not meant for it to be like that, it will more than likely happen without you even knowing! Animals have a way of showing love and compassion. They provide us with acceptance and companionship that is very hard to resist. They are forgiving, understanding, patient, funny, and a lot more of the other things we as humans need. It is no surprise that couples with no children, whether they have flown the nest or don’t have any for whatever reason, see their dogs as their children. Older people living on their own very often only have their pets as their only companion and in fact, the responsibility caring for them and the companionship that they provide is a big reason why their caregivers are still alive.
Unfortunately, animals do not have the same lifespan as humans. In extraordinary cases, a dog can live up to 16 years. The oldest dog documented holding the record for living the longest, died at age thirty. But on average, the lifespan of a dog is between 8 and 12 years with fluctuation between breeds. Their healthy, lifestyle and genetics also play a big role.
This leaves us with the dilemma that we know for certain we will more than likely outlive our dogs. How are we suppose to deal with this?
Prepare for the inevitable.
We can prepare our family, friends, and children when the time approaches for our beloved dog to leave us. If your dog is suffering and your vet recommends euthanasia as a humane option, take time to let go. Spend as much time as you need with your dog to say goodbye. Take him one last time to his favorite place and spoil him with a good bath and massage if possible. Make funeral arrangements, whether it is going to be a burial in your garden or cremation and keeping their ashes. Prepare and be grateful that you have this option as many do not get to say goodbye. As soon as your dog reaches the senior stage, it is a very good idea to have a funeral plan in place.
Allow yourself time to mourn.
When your beloved dog leaves your side, you have to allow yourself to mourn. It is not silly to cry or to miss them as much as you would have missed a dear family member. They were very much your family. Go through the stages of mourning and take time for your heart to heal. You can keep their memory alive with framed pictures or a memory box with their collar and favorite toy in.
See a pet bereavement counselor.
If you are struggling to move past the loss of your pet, there is professional help out there. Pet bereavement councilors are very understanding and will know how to help you with your heartache. They will speak with you about your departed pet, share memories and help you to deal with your feelings of loss and grief. They will also help you deal with your reasons for getting a new pet or the fear of doing it again. Some pet care professionals such as groomers, veterinarians, and veterinary assistants are trained in providing pet bereavement counseling. If you are a friend of someone who has lost their pet you can encourage them to speak to a professional. Sometimes just being there and listening is a great reassurance.
Getting a new pet
When you think about getting a new pet, you should not let yourself feel that you are replacing your old one. Don’t feel guilty or feel that by getting a new pet you are betraying your departed pet’s memory. Reasons for getting a new pet is totally fine. Take time to mourn, heal and you will know when the time is right to get a new pet.
Reasons for getting a new pet
When you are able to think of your departed furry friend with a smile and fond memories, you will know that you are ready for a new adventure. Think of all the reasons there are for getting a new pet! A new pet will keep you occupied, especially if you decide to get a puppy. Someone that had an elderly dog forgets very fast how much work and how naughty a new puppy sometimes can be. The rewarding challenges of raising and socializing a pup can be a very good reason for getting a new pet. Their love, affection, companionship and above all the wet nose kisses will make it all the worthwhile.
There is nothing that soothes the loss of a wet nose than the kiss of another.