The bond that we form with animals can be very deep and fulfilling, and the loss of a beloved animal can have an impact on us that is as great, or even greater, than the loss of a family member or friend. This bond is what makes our interactions with animals rich and rewarding, but also what makes the grief process so complicated. The grief can seem to come in waves, may be brought on more intensely by a sight or sound that sparks your memory, and may seem overwhelming at times.
Although everyone experiences the stages of grief, grieving is always a very personal process. Some people take longer than others to come to terms with denial, anger, guilt, and depression, and each loss is different. If you understand that these are normal reactions, you will be better prepared to cope with your feelings and to help others face theirs. Family and friends should be reassured that sorrow and grief are normal and natural responses to death.
Just as everyone may grieve differently, people may choose to honor their pet's life in a number of ways. One person may prefer a memorial service or funeral for their pet, while another may prefer a symbol of remembrance, such as a paw print cast in plaster or stone or a lock of hair from a horse's mane or tail. Whatever you choose to honor your pet and your life together is as personal as your grieving process.
Allow yourself time to grieve and heal, and be thankful that your life was made that much better by sharing it with your beloved pet.