Grief and Bereavement

Coping with loss

Pets and people often share a strong connection and bond. This connection is described as being as strong as, or very similar to, the feelings we have for family and friends. Many pet carers see their pet as a member of their family.

When your pet passes, the loss and the grief felt can be as devastating as the loss of a human close to us.

The loss of your pet and grief

When grieving for your pet, you may experience the following: difficulty in sleeping, eating less, the feeling that you don’t want to go out and you may spend a lot of time thinking about your pet. Shock, numbness, guilt and searching are all common parts of the grieving process.

Some people may not understand the strong bond humans can have with animals or the grief associated with the loss of a pet. This can make it difficult for others to understand how you are feeling. However, it does not matter what others may think or whether they believe you should not be upset by your pet’s death. What is important is what your pet meant to you. You do not need to justify your grief or feel that it is strange.

Coping with the loss of your pet

  • Remembering your pet and talking to someone who understands the special human–animal bond can be very helpful. Reach out to trusted friends and family to talk to. Alternatively, you can speak with a counsellor, psychologist, GP and/or a support group in your area.
  • Have a burial or memorial service. Plant a tree or a flower in memory of your pet. Include friends and family in this process. We can facilitate pet cremation for you through our partner Bamganie Pets Cremation Service.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help – it’s better to deal with your emotions as they arise. Talk to a trusted friend or write down how you’re feeling.
  • As a pet carer, your days may have had a routine that revolved around or included your pet. It can help to find a new structure or routine. Set daily or weekly goals, making sure your days have a purpose.
  • Be patient! Grieving is an important part of the healing process following the loss of a pet.

Where can I get more help?

There are many phone counselling services that can help you if you are overwhelmed or feel you need urgent support.

24-hour telephone support

Alternatively, you can contact the Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement during business hours: 03 9265 2100.

Lort Smith