Those of you who follow me on social media know that we lost our beloved cat, Scooter, this summer.
Although only 2 years old, Scooter was diagnosed with severe kidney disease in the spring that was terminal.
We walked with her and loved her through her final months, even administering IV fluids every other day.
But when it was finally time to say goodbye, our whole family experienced profound grief. If you have a pet, then you know how much a part of the family he or she becomes.
It was devastating!
While nothing really helped, a few things made it a tiny bit more bearable. If your family is facing the loss of a pet, then perhaps these things will help your family with pet loss grief and bring you or your kids comfort, too:
My daughter and I checked out many books from the library on losing a pet. The children’s librarian was so helpful in these regards, guiding us towards books that were the appropriate level for her and not too babyish.
Reading about other’s experiences with losing a pet, even though fictional, brought a bit of comfort.
In particular, I liked a non-fiction book that had short, simple ways to grieve called, “Healing Your Grieving Heart for Kids”. It wasn’t aimed at pet loss in particular, but it was helpful in providing acceptance of grief and ways to survive/manage it.
Toys for stress relief
My daughter packed me a care package to take to work after Scooter died. It had lovely smelling thinking putty that I pulled out and sniffed, plus a squishy toy that I pressed. I didn’t think these things would help, but they did. When I got sad, they took my mind off my grief and focused it on the sensation of smelling or touching.
Plus, it touched me so much that my daughter wanted to help me with my sadness!
Talking or not talking about it
Personally, I needed to talk about Scooter. Her good qualities, fond memories, even the events of her last weekend and having to take her to the vet. Talking helped me.
Meanwhile, it did not help my husband or my daughter with their pet loss grief. They did not want to talk about it as it made them too sad.
You will find what works for you, and know that it might not be the same for everyone.
About two months after Scooter was gone, we realized that it was not so painful to think about cats anymore. And while we missed Scooter, we also missed having a furball around to love. There are so many cats who need homes that we decided to adopt two cats together. These two do not replace Scooter, but they make our hearts swell again.
I hope that if you have lost a pet, then you have found your way back to a good place again. Other people who have lost a pet get it; don’t worry about those who do not understand.
What words of advice would you give to anyone dealing with pet loss grief?