Last week I posted about understanding and supporting your pet when they grieve. Today I want to talk about when we grieve for a pet that has passed. For a great many people the attitude of a pet passing was simply “What a shame, it’s just a..(fill in the blank), you’ll get over it” Or the majority of the human race feels that animals are not worthy of a deep grief from a human. Luckily, that attitude is changing as is our global consciousness towards animals. One example is for K9 police officers who are killed in the line of duty - are given a funeral with full honors. Even Bretagne, the last search and rescue dog during 9-11 walked through a line of firefighters on her final walk before being released to the Rainbow Bridge Click here for her story.
When we make an agreement with an animal - regardless of species to share their lives with us and us with them, we make unspoken, yet understood promises to and for each other. We forge a “contract”. In this contract, we promise to care for them, give them food, shelter, medical care and to become a part of the family. They promise to give us their all, to be our teachers, our companions, our guardians and our comedians with unconditional love. One of the promises we must always make, and one that we must always agree to, is that when they ask us for the final release, then we must honor that request. We cannot and must not let them suffer. To do so would mean we would go back on our promise.
During the time of the contract, our animal companions truly become bonded to us and are family members - 100%. It stands to reason that the bonds of love are also forged during that time. When a furry family member passes, our grief is very real and very valid. Everyone grieves in their own time in their own way. The important thing is to let your grief flow the way it needs to. There are a few online resources for grief support groups. Or if you’d rather punch pillows/cry/scream that’s ok too. Remember to be gentle with yourself during this time. No one can tell you when you have grieved enough.
One thing to always remember - the bonds of love are unbreakable. While the physical form is gone, spirit and love are endless and eternal. Pets who have recently passed will hang around for about a month or so to make sure we are ok. So, don’t be surprised if you think you see your pet out of the corner of your eye or from behind the curtain.
If you have recently suffered a loss of a beloved animal companion and you need extra help Please contact us.