Pet loss counselling
When our much-loved pets die the emotional impact can be devastating, indeed the word pet almost seems to demean the relationship. They can become much more than just pets, indeed they become part of the family unit, and their loss is often felt deeply by everyone.
Even when children have left the family home to go to university or away to work, when their family cat or dog dies, the impact can be shocking and very painful to cope with. People often refer to their pets as furry friends, animal babies, loved ones and all kinds of names placing their animals in a special category that signals the importance of the relationship to everyone else.
Grieving, the loss of a pet
The emotional impact that people experience when pets die is very dependant on the depth of the relationship. But it can be remarkably similar to experiencing the loss of a fellow human. The intensity will obviously vary from person to person, it may be an animal, but the depth of feeling can be very painful to deal with.
People sometimes cannot openly grieve for the loss of a pet; they feel they will be judged as acting silly, or seen as weak and childish for crying over what some people see as just an animal. People who can’t face work after their pet dies just phone is sick, often too afraid to say the real reasons for not coming in. Not being able to express feelings of loss can hinder recovery and can even lead to the emergence of depression and anxiety issues.
Counselling for grieving pet owners
Is counselling helpful for people who are grieving the loss of their pet? The answer is yes, and it can be especially useful if they feel that no one will understand, or they feel that people will judge or ridicule them.
Humans need to express hurtful emotional content, people normally use friends and family as an emotional pressure valve, being able to talk it out, crying and shouting or just being able to be quiet and comforted. This often helps release a lot of emotional energy that would otherwise add to the inner stress and pressure. We all need this when time are hard.
How can pet loss counselling help?
As humans we can sometimes act towards our pets in way that can create more problems for any remaining pets in the household. Cats and dogs are individuals, and they also feel loss, and that emotional impact will very from animal to animal. A grieving owner can at a time of loss unknowingly introduce negative exchanges for their pets. This makes it harder for the pet to adjust and can lead to future problem behaviours.
Counselling can help clarify what is the best way forward for both you and your remaining pets.
What helped you grieve?