|The Grieving Process
The grieving process at the loss of a fur-baby is the same stages as suffered in any loss:
Denial; Anger and finally Grief. You find yourself saying "I can't believe my fur-baby is gone." Then you
become anger that you will never have the joy of their company. The true sadness sinks in. The fur-baby
is gone, they are not coming back and you are left with only an emptiness.
It is now that the support of family and friends is most important and, sadly, most
difficult to find. A lack of support prolongs the grief stage. I assure you that displaying grief is normal and good for
the healing process.
We received much support from other pet owners who have also experienced similar strong
feelings. Thank you to all of those who emailed us to let us know that we were not alone in this feeling of grief.
Here are some helpful ideas from
Patricia Gallagher, a professional bereavement counselor:
Talk it out, share your feelings,
ventilate; don't let your grief get bottled up inside and cause physical
problems. The chest, stomach and back are usually the body areas most
affected by the stress of emotional suffering. Physical exercise sometimes
helps to relieve the stress as do relaxation and meditation exercises.
Tears are often the best therapy for
emotional strain - for both sexes and all ages. Weeping is a natural way
to ease anguish and release pain. Laughter, too, can serve as an outlet
for discharging pent-up emotions.
It's important to find an understanding
group or individual with whom one can share feelings on a long-term basis.
In addition to talking about the grief and telling others what is needed
from them, writing down experiences in a daily log or journal can be
therapeutic. Writing about feelings helps us clarify them.
Many people try to keep themselves too
busy to think, as a way of avoiding the grief. But the feelings must be
dealt with and accepted as part of a normal separation process. There is
no "normal" grief span - the process is never the same for two people.
Giving people support when they are
experiencing a severe loss is important. Words of wisdom are not required,
nor are they necessarily helpful. Rather, reaching out with a card, a
phone call or a personal visit meets the need. Show your concern and
sorrow in your own way, but be available to your friend and encourage
others to reach out too.
Pets Mourn Too
Our vet in Colorado, Dr. Rick
Berggren said that it is common for other pets to grieve for as
much as a month to six-weeks. We have decided to adopt a new puppy right now. Billy is pretty set in his
ways, concerned that he wouldn't accept it.
Betty certainly missed Bob. She
refused to eat for days and was constantly searching for him. She
barked out to him and just didn't understand why he didn't come running.
It was because of these symptoms that we decided to speed up our search for
a new puppy. We felt that she needed a new companion.
When we lost Betty, we gave Billy extra loving attention to help him mourn. We took him for "rides" in the van - a special treat for him.
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