I still remember the death of my pup. I didn't expect it. I recall the desperation, the emptiness. Not only that, but I recollect thinking: "my dog died, and I feel empty. How can I be happy another time?"
You care for, protect and love your pup. How do you experience grief when you lose it? How do you overcome it? Let's talk about it.
What Did I Feel When My dog Died?
I was hurrying home. I had left work at 6:30 p.m., but the traffic made me nervous, and I had no idea why: I was restless and wanted to get home quickly, change my clothes and go for a walk with my pup.
Furthermore, I knew my 11-year-old Collie would be waiting for me to share one of the best day moments. My love for Laika was immense. I couldn't wait to spend time with her and forget the daily stress.
Are you still using plastic bags to pick up your dog's poop? These take around 50 years to degrade.
I got home, and there she was. But she didn't get up to greet me and, immediately, I comprehended something was wrong. I put on her collar and left for the veterinary. Laika couldn't walk more than 50 meters, so I took her in my arms and walked the remaining 550 meters, carrying those 35 kilos as best I could.
The vet did his best, but it wasn't enough, and he put my pup to sleep. I was devastated. I couldn't think, breath, nor walk. Tears rolled down my cheeks, the guilt overwhelmed me, and the pain didn't let me say a word.
My dog died, and I felt empty. Nothing made sense around me.
How Do You Grieve For A Dog?
Grieving your dog is as hard as any other grief, although many people may not understand it. Like any other loss, each person experiences it differently.
"Mourning is the reaction to a loved one's loss".
So how is it possible to measure that reaction? It is not. The experience changes from person to person.
What Can You Feel After The Death Of Your Dog?
There are mourning stages. In general, we all go through them, although we can skip some or spend a lot of time in some of them. I know from my own experience. Let's see them.
Denial: My Dog Is Still Alive
Accepting the pet will not return is difficult. Your unconscious may present the idea that your dog is fine in another place (in the dog daycare, for example).
It's a form of self-protection against pain and usually occurs during the first days of the loss. It doesn't mean that you do not know your pup is gone. In some moments, your psyche tricks you into bearing the loss.
Guilt: I Was Responsible For My Pup's Death
There is a feeling of responsibility for the death of the pet. Questions like "if I had been more careful...", "if I had gone to the vet faster..." begin.
The fault usually arises when an accident has caused the death of the furry friend, or in euthanasia cases.
Guilt was the longest stage of my grieving. It took me a long time to accept that there was nothing I could have done to prevent the outcome.
Anger: Why Couldn't The Vet Save My Dog?
Anger can be directed towards oneself, the disease, the veterinarian who did not save the pet, the relatives who did not recognize the problem before.
It is normal as long as it is not excessive, since it can delay the resolution of the grief process.
Did you know that at Give a Sh!t we donate 10% of our profits to the Soi Dog Foundation?
Depression: I Don't Know How To Continue Living Without My Dog
The state of unhappiness usually consumes energy and motivation. You feel powerless, cry incessantly, and have a knot in your stomach. You may even wonder how to continue your life without your pet.
Depression is normal. However, when it is very pronounced and leads you to think that you cannot go on without your dog, you should consult a professional.
➡️ Deep depression can be dangerous. Seek help.
Acceptance And Resolution: My Furry Friend Is Not Coming Back
Finally, acceptance is reached: the beloved pet is gone forever. At this time, the named emotions may reappear, but with less intensity. Finally, those emotions will give way to longing memories.
You will be able to remember your dog with a smile. You will always feel the lack of it, but you will move on with your life and even adopt a new puppy.
The Best 5 Tips To Deal With Your Pup's Death
1. Don't Hide Your Feelings
You're sad. It's logical, and it's good to express the feelings that distress you and share them with a person capable of understanding what is happening to you.
Share your emotions with someone who has experienced a similar situation or loves his pet as you love yours. Venting to someone who understands you is the first step in accepting what happened.
2. Try Not To Blame Yourself
While it's part of the normal grieving process, you should quickly seek to rid yourself of guilt. You acted as best you could.
If you have made a mistake that has led to an accident, it was not your fault, but just a terrible accident.
Did you have to opt for euthanasia? It has been the best possible decision to avoid your pup's suffering; it's the veterinarian who should recommend this option, and one should rely on his professional judgment. Forgiving yourself is essential to cope with grief.
3. Write Your Emotions
Many people find refuge in writing. Expressing how you feel in love letters to your dog can help you move forward in the grieving process.
4. Tell The Truth To Your kids
Don't lie to your children by telling them your dog has run away. The reality is sad, but your children deserve the truth and not dream of the dog coming back home. Talk with them and accompany their feelings.
5. Seek Help
A grief psychologist can help you come to terms with your loss and move on with your life. This does not mean forgetting, but remembering without suffering.
When To Adopt A New Dog?
The perfect time to adopt a new dog totally depends on each person. Some specialists recommend adopting a pet quickly to ease the pain, while others say it's best to grieve over the lost pet before adopting a new one.
Check out: Why Adopt A Dog And Not Buy One?
Waiting a bit makes sense. Once the grief process is over, you will more receptive and will be able to establish a relationship of mutual love with the new family member without guilt.
Losing a dog involves immense pain that many people don't understand. It's a painful process, just like a family member or friend loss, because a pet is a friend, a part of the family.
It's necessary to keep in mind that the life of animals is irremediably shorter than that of human beings. The most important thing is to have given the pet all the love you are capable of during the years shared together, and to remember it by honoring that friendship.
Is It Normal To Feel Empty After Losing A Pet?
No one can tell you how you should feel after losing your dog. Sadness, anger, guilt, emptiness, pain... All emotions are valid. You can feel like another person, like you are not yourself, for a while. Also, this loss can mark you for life. The grief is like that. Each person experiences it differently.
How Can I Be happy After My dog Died?
At some point, you will be happy again after the death of your dog, even if that seems impossible today. To do this, follow these tips:
- Experience your pain. Don't keep it. Let it out. It's the only way to heal.
- Share your feelings with someone who understands you.
- Find a way to remember and honor your dog.
- Remove your dog's things at your own pace.
- Give yourself space and time to heal.
- Seek professional help if you feel like you can't get by.