Pet Loss - How to Cope
Watching our friends cross the Rainbow Bridge
The story below was written by an unknown author who understood the connection of love and shared companionship between our pets and ourselves.
Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....
Grieving for your loss
Grief is probably the most confusing, frustrating and emotional thing that a person can experience. But it is real and it affects pet owners too. The loss of the companionship of a pet leaves a void and it is often difficult to express what we are feeling. Society in general does not give bereaved pet owners “permission” to grieve openly. Pet owners often feel isolated and alone. Luckily, more and more resources are becoming available to help the bereaved pet owner realize that they are not alone and that what they are feeling is entirely normal.
First and foremost give yourself permission to grieve. Allow your sorrows to come to the surface and release. Share your experience and what you are feeling with a friend who knew your pet. Allow yourself time to think and then save the memories you cherish the most. Imprint them in your mind and let them come to mind first each time you think of your missing pet companion.
Your other pets may well be grieving too. Even when outward appearances suggest the opposite, animals can form very strong bonds with other animals. Grieving pets can exhibit similar symptoms to those experienced by the pet owner. They may show extreme stress, become restless or lethargic, anxious or depressed. They may also suffer sleep and eating disturbances. There may be excessive vocalization.
Some pets will attempt to seek out their departed companions, perhaps in places where they played or napped together. It is quite common for them to raise their level of affection and demand more attention from their owners.
Eventually your pets will return to their normal behavior. In the meantime it is important to keep a grieving pet to its usual routine, so that it won’t develop bad habits, such as becoming dependant on more treats, extra attention, etc. Try not to create a finicky pet or over do the attention which might lead to your pet acquiring separation anxieties. Keep exercise and feeding to a regular pattern as much as possible.
This is an opportunity for emotional growth. Your life was and will continue to be brighter because of the time shared with your pet. This is the best testament to your pet’s existence.
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