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Myths & Facts about Grieving the Loss of Your Pet

“It was just a pet” 

       Myth: You can overcome feelings of sadness by willing yourself to do so.

       Fact: You were in a mutually loving relationship, which you felt deeply. It is natural to grieve the loss of a beloved friend and companion.

“Stop crying or talking about it.”

       Myth: You are just making yourself feel worse and prolonging your grief.

       Fact: Crying is one of Nature’s ways of releasing internal tension by triggering the release of stress-relieving hormones.

Expressing your feelings helps. In fact, if you don’t find healing ways to express your feelings, they will “bottle up” and be expressed in other           ways. For example, you may become angry or impatient with others or find yourself crying for “no reason.”

“You should be over it by now.”

       Myth: Grief is short-lived.

Fact: Grieving is individual and has no fixed time limit, although its intensity usually diminishes with time. Be patient and tolerant with yourself during the ebb and flow of emotions which follow your loss.

You don’t “get over” a loss. You learn to live with it. You will always feel some sadness when you think of this pet, just as you remember the good times you enjoyed together

Should your feelings of grief significantly affect your personal, professional, social or emotional life for an extended period of time, you should seek professional help.

“Just get yourself a new pet.”

       Myth: One animal can easily slip into the place of another.

Fact: A beloved pet who has died cannot be simply “replaced.”  A new pet will have its own personality and will relate to you in its own way. The decision about when or even whether to bring a new pet into your life is very individual; it varies from one pet-lover to another and it must reflect the   present life-circumstances of each household. There is no “right” time. Give yourself and your family time. You will know if and when you are ready.

“Dogs can’t go to heaven.”

Theologians have offered myriad explanations/justifications for this statement, but who can be absolutely certain? The best answer you can find lies within your own heart.