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Saturday, October 6, 2012

Coping with the Loss of a Pet

Our Pets Are Part of Our Families
We love and nurture our pets and they bring us joy. So when a beloved pet dies, it can feel as devastating as the death of a close relative. We can grieve as profoundly as losing our best friends, and for some of us, they are our best friends.

Our Pets Are Part of Our Families
Whether you've had your pet for a short time or for years, it's very sad when they pass from your life. After the loss of a pet, you need emotional support from other people who understand. Often, people who don't have pets don't understand how normal and natural it is to feel very sad after a pet has died.

Allow Yourself Time to Grieve
So, what can you do to help yourself feel better? Just like with the death of a person who is close to you, know that it will probably take time to heal from this loss. Allow yourself to take the time to grieve and don't judge yourself for the depth of your feelings.

You will probably go through many of the same feelings that I discussed in my last article about losing a loved one. Some people find it helpful to make a scrapbook of photos or special mementos related to their pet. Other people find it comforting to keep an urn with their pet's ashes. No one can tell you what will be right for you.

It's Normal to Grieve the Loss of a Pet
People often ask me if they should go out and buy another pet immediately. For most people, this is not helpful. For one thing, you're still grieving for your pet who just died, and you're probably not open to accepting a new pet into your heart and home.

You might also feel guilty if you get another pet too soon--like you're betraying the pet that you just lost. If you get a new pet immediately, without even realizing it, you might also expect that pet to be just like your last pet when, in reality, each pet has his or her own personality.

The other reason that it's usually not a good idea to get another pet immediately is that you might be doing this to avoid dealing with your grief. When the time is right, after you've gone through a natural period of grief, you can open your heart again and enjoy having a new pet.

Our Pets Bring Us Joy
The important thing to know is that grief usually subsides over time if you allow yourself to feel your feelings.

I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist. I have helped many people to cope with the loss of their pets.

To find out more about me, please visit my website: Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist

Feel free to call me at (212) 726-1006 for a consultation.


Also, visit my Psychotherapy Daily News for updates on mental health issues, health education, and science news.

Photo Credits:  Photo Pin

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