Coping with Pet Loss
At The Anti-Cruelty Society, we believe that pets are part of the family. Losing your furry friend can be one of the most challenging experiences to go through, especially for a child.
The Society offers a Pet Loss Support Group for adults. You can find out more information about our group’s next meeting, and register here.
The Association of Pet Loss and Bereavement provides a multitude of resources, including how to guide your child through the process of understanding their emotions regarding the loss of their pet.
Memorializing Your Pet
Acknowledging your child’s grief after the loss of a pet is the first step to helping them cope. Remember, there is no wrong way to grieve, and each individual does so in their own way. Children do not often have the tools to help them deal with the emotions they might be feeling as a result of losing their friend. Including them in memorializing your pet can go a long way in helping them sort through what they are feeling in a constructive manner. The following is a list of simple ideas that might help get the process started:
- Donate to an organization in your pet’s name (have your child pick the organization!).
- Create a scrapbook with your child that depicts happy memories with your pet.
- Cultivate a plant with your child in your pet’s memory
- Plant a tree, flower bed, or other plant with a garden stone or marker commemorating your pet
- Purchase a Living Memorial, so your pet’s cremated ashes can grow into a tree or plant. Note: simply using ashes straight out of an urn can be harmful to the environment. Be sure to research a living memorial provider to safely create your living memorial. There are many companies that provide this service.
- Get your pet’s paw print embedded in clay. Many veterinary clinics have resources for how to do this. You can then use it as a decoration or ornament.
- Frame an ink print of your pet’s paw.
- Help your child write a letter to your pet saying goodbye.