The saddest thing about owning a pet is that you will outlive it by quite some distance. This means that, at some point, you have to brace yourself for the loss of a valuable family member. People without pets won’t understand how hard this is to handle. It’s very much like losing a human family member that you love dearly. To make matters worse, children become very attached to pets. So, it’s likely to hit them a lot harder than it will hit you. Especially if you have already experienced the loss of a pet before – they haven’t, so it’s very raw.
Consequently, you need to know how best to deal with the loss of your family pet. What can you do to ease the pain during this terrible situation? It won’t be easy, but as someone that’s said goodbye to a family pet within the last year, I have a few words of advice to give to you.
Don’t hide from the truth
Lots of parents don’t know how to approach the subject of death with their kids. Particularly if you have young children, then the obvious solution is to hide the truth. You’ve heard of people tell their kids that a pet has gone away to a farm or has moved to a happy place to be free from pain. It sounds like a nice way of putting things, but you only end up confusing your child. Instead, you have to be honest and tell them what’s happened. There’s a great article on WebMD that goes into detail about what you can say to kids when a pet has sadly passed away.
Hold a proper ceremony for them
When a human dies, we have funeral ceremonies or cremations that honor their lives. Not only that, but it gives everyone a chance to finally say goodbye to a loved one. There’s a finality about it, it kickstarts the acceptance part of the grieving process. You should hold a similar ceremony for your pet. As it shows on Memorials.com, you can buy pet caskets or pet urns for both burials or cremations. I think giving your pet a proper send-off is the least they deserve. It leaves no confusion in your kids as to what is happening, and they can finally have some sort of acceptance of what’s happened. Plus, your pet is a cherished member of the family, so they deserve a send-off.
Memorialize your pet
Similarly, you should keep memories of your pet around the house. The easiest way to memorialize a pet is with photos. Pick the best photo of your pet and set it in a lovely photo frame that dons the wall in your living room or sits on the mantlepiece. For me, the living room is the best place for this memorial as it’s where the family comes together. So, even though your pet is no longer with you physically, they can be there in spirit thanks to the memorial. There are other ways to memorialize a pet as well, including keychains, lockets, and many more ideas.
Consider getting a new pet
This doesn’t have to happen straight away, and your children may refute the idea of getting a new pet after one has died. Granted, this is more likely the case for older children who have a sense of loyalty to the pet. It’s a bit like if your partner passed away and you sought out someone else. Sometimes, your kids can feel like you’re trying to replace their mother/father, and they don’t like it. With pets, it’s not as nuanced. Most kids eventually come around to this idea as they realize that you’re not replacing a pet, you’re just bringing someone new to the family. For some families, it takes weeks, months, maybe even years before a new pet seems like the right idea. For others, it can happen almost immediately as this could be the best way to deal with the pain. The important thing is to never forget about the pet that died. Always remember them as you cherish the new bond you’re creating with a new pet.
No matter how you look at it, dealing with the loss of a family pet is a struggle for everyone. I hope these tips bring you comfort during this very challenging time. Equally, remember to speak to one another about it and talk about your feelings. Don’t keep things bottled up! It’s good to talk, even if you’re recounting memories of your pet, it’ll help the healing process.
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