Challenges to Handling a Pet's Death

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A pet's death can be a complex thing with every kind of emotion displayed. Especially if the relationship has been close, the defendant may be much greater. A pet's death can also bring some unique challenges such as trying to find a sympathetic listener to help you work through the experience, or not able to get leave of absence from work for mourning a faithful cat or dog from your employer.

In our world, it is a norm to replace the lost pet with a new one immediately after death. However, simply by replacing your last pet with a new one will not heal the grief you feel. It is also common for parents to rush out to buy a replacement pet for their bereaved child. While the action is well intended, parents may unconsciously communicate to their child that "Life is cheap; relationships are disposable and interchangeable."

Handling Grief
It is important for you as the owner to handle and manage the grief. Tell yourself that it is okay to grief. However if your grieving seems to go on too long, that's a signal that it has become unhealthy and you are lodging too much in it. If you face such situation, get yourself engaged in nurturing activities such as yoga, music or sport. Help yourself to let go of the past and be open to the present.

Helping the Young Child
When helping a child to cope, take time to talk with the child and make sure he is not harboring misunderstandings. Do not let him blame himself or even you for the death. This is so especially if you had the animal put to sleep because a painful death was inevitable. Talk with your child let him understand your own dilemma, that you "did not know what else to do". It is a common human situation to have to act in the face of uncertainty and there is no shame in doing so.

Remember, it may be painful to handle now but know that you have given the best to your pet and be glad for the time you had spend together.

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Source by Kimberly Clarke

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