Pets are a huge part of people’s lives, and sometimes you might need to say goodbye. Losing a pet can be detrimental and heartbreaking, especially if that pet was close to you. For me, I recently had to say goodbye to my dog, Roxie. As hard as it was, it happened, and finding ways to grieve and cope in a healthy way is a massive step towards feeling at peace with the situation. Roxie was more than a pet, she was my best friend and support through hard times growing up during my forming years as a preteen and teenager. Losing her was by far the toughest thing I endured, but I found a few things that helped me make it seem a little less saddening.
1. Find your support system
Losing something or someone is a very hard experience for most people. Finding a support system, whether it be friends, family, coworkers, or even a therapist, can help transition to a state of peace. My biggest support system was my family and boyfriend. Although I had many many friends that gave their condolences, my family and boyfriend understood me best and also had a relationship with Roxie, which helped me to grasp the fact that I was not alone. Finding people who have gone through the same situation or are in the situation with you, can aid in feeling connectedness as opposed to loneliness.
2. Talk it out
Talking out your feelings and emotions helps to recover tremendously. Again, finding that support system to talk out how you are feeling in the moment can help you to evaluate the situation and how you are feeling. I personally loved talking to people about my dog and how much she meant to me. It was a great outlet to remember the fun and silly times Roxie and I had together. Talking out your feelings has been proven many times to relieve part of the pain that is built up inside, and so by doing so, can make losing a pet a little less traumatizing.
3. Embrace Your Emotions
Letting your emotions run wild is not a bad thing! If you feel the need to cry, let it out! Try not to bottle up emotions, because your body is telling you to release your feelings for a reason- to heal. Crying is a good thing, it means you are human with feelings and emotions, so cry from the rooftop if need be. It’s okay to feel sad or mad (or anything for that matter), because your feelings are valid.
4. Stay Positive
Staying positive in a hard situation may sound easier than it really is, but by training your mind to look at the brighter side can help get you through the really hard days. I found peace and positivity by remembering how blessed I was to have my dog when I did, and how much she taught me about unconditional love. When I feel down, I think about how she is probably running freely on a tropical beach eating ice cream (hence the lei around her neck). Finding things of joy when you start feeling negative is a huge tip of advice I would give. Every time I start to think of, “What if I had done this?” or “I wish this was different”, I instead, think of three positive things about the situation. Being positive is honesty what creates happiness and joy, which you may need an extra dose of during hard times.
5. Go Do Something
Finding things to do to distract yourself instead of sulking in the situation, is another way I find myself coping through losing my dog. Hang out with friends, go for a run, work on that project you’ve been wanting to start! Participating in activities and embracing your hobbies can be productive and positive for you during a moment of loss. Moving forward is something that may not come easy, but doing things you are passionate about can alleviate some pain.
I hope these suggestions help you through your tough time with dealing with a pet, and if not, I hope you can help someone else going through a similar situation.
Best of luck,
Tally Pavel xoxo
[Photos courtesy of Tally Pavel]