Whether accidental or expected, the death of a pet is tragic. Sadly, this loyal friend who has given us so much love will have to leave us one day.
He purrs by our ear, he looks at us with admiration, he cuddles us, and he makes us happy. Our pet has a special place in our heart. Some grow up with a dog, others get older with a cat, but in any case, at any age, the loss of this loved one can be a traumatic event.
So how can we cope better with these sad farewells?
When your little animal came into your life, you could not imagine the intensity of the bonds that were going to be woven between you. You did not expect to receive so much love, in a joyful and unconditional way.
Yes, if the nicknames "my baby" or "my little boy" slip when we talk to our pet, it is not insignificant. The pet takes an important place in our heart, often in the same way as a child.
Can his loss be as hard as the death of a friend or relative? Absolutely, say clinical psychologist experts. One reason is that the animal loves us as we are; it does not judge us.
During key periods of our life, the animal can play an essential role in the well-being of its master: an animal is a real emotional sponge; it has therapeutic virtues. It can bring enormous pleasure and emotional wellbeing, for example to the elderly and adolescents, "says the specialist.
The death is all the more challenging to overcome for single people - especially elderly people. It increases feelings of loneliness and leads to thoughts of their own mortality.
The natural death of an animal can be sudden and unexpected but although an accident is very traumatic it is normally an event that we are unable to prevent.
The option of having a pet put down, however, can be even more shocking because ultimately we make the decision. We take responsibility for it, and despite all our common sense, and the knowledge that we are relieving suffering, we can feel guilty. Guilt is then added to the sadness, but we must not forget that this act allows the animal to end their life comfortably and without pain.
The process is perfectly controlled, using drugs to send the animal quickly and painlessly to sleep under the guidance of an expert veterinarian.
When the suffering of our little companion cannot be alleviated, this process is often necessary. The welfare of the animal must dictate this decision, and it must not be guided by sadness, the fear of losing it, or the gulf that its absence will create, say the doctors.
Here are some different ways to remember your special friend and pay tribute to how much they meant to you. Starting with this right now is the first step to coping with the loss.
# 1. Virtual tribute
There are websites that offer the opportunity to pay tribute to a departed pet and so to share with friends, family and others all the love that we had for him. Tributize.com has a section entirely dedicated to pets https://tributize.com/pets. You can add pictures, video clips, and invite comments from others who knew him.
# 2. Funeral jewelry
To keep him closer to you physically, you can also turn to funeral jewelry. Some companies offer jewellery designed to contain the ashes or hair of your pet. Or even more original: from a molding, you can get a bracelet or a pendant bearing his imprint.
# 3. Commemorative plaque
Another possibility, a little more poetic, is that of making him a memorial plaque. You are free to engrave a personalized inscription describing your relationship or simply a very memorable souvenir! If you have the talents of a sculptor, you can erect a statue to celebrate the memory of your animal like Tombili, the wandering cat from Istanbul, made famous around the world for the photo where he posed on a bench in such a relaxed way!
# 4. On Canvas
Are you an art fan? To make a portrait of your pet is really a great way to pay tribute to him and keep his image forever. Also, do not worry, many artists are not content with a few pencil strokes but will paint real works of art in oil, watercolor, or ink.
# 5. Floral grave
Planting a tree in honor of your beloved animal in your garden or in a place that you cherish allows you to have a place to visit regularly. You can take care of it and watch it grow - just like you did with your pet. It’s also an excellent way to stay connected to him. Some cities allow this kind of planting in their parks so do not hesitate to inquire.
# 6. The gift
If your pet died of a particular disease, donating for research may help other animals not follow the same path and thus help you to grieve. You can also simply contribute to an animal protection organization! Have you heard about the English pet that moved all of England after organizing the last dog walk on social media in November 2016?
The whole country had mobilized to come and walk one last time beside the sick greyhound named Walmut. After the death of the dog, the man made a song in his tribute and the profits were donated to animals in need.
It will take time to get over the loss of your pet, but when you are ready you should look for a new companion.
The pleasure that our pets bring to us, and the love that we can give to them is one of the most positive things that we have in our lives.
Give a home to a stray animal, take someone else’s unwanted pet, or contact a local charity to see how you can help.
There are so many lovely, unwanted animals out there looking for a nice home and some love and affection. Start today and make someone two people happy – you and your new friend!
p.s. why not share your story on Tributize.com with a page for your old friend and one for your new companion.