The process typically begins with denial, which offers protection until individuals can realize their loss. Some owners may try bargaining with a higher power, themselves, or even their pet to restore life. Some feel anger, which may be directed at anyone involved with the pet, including family, friends, and veterinarians. They may also feel guilt about what they did or did not do, and may feel that it is inappropriate to be so upset. After these feelings subside, some people may experience true sadness or grief. They may become withdrawn or depressed. Acceptance occurs when they accept the reality of their loss and remember their animal companion with decreasing sadness. Remember, not everyone follows these classic stages of griefsome may skip or repeat a stage, or experience the stages in a different order.
How Can I Cope with My Grief?
While grief is a personal experience, you need not face loss alone. Many forms of support are available, including pet bereavement counseling services, pet-loss support hotlines, local or online Internet bereavement groups, books, videos, and magazine articles. Here are a few suggestions to help you cope: