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We welcome your thoughts on great articles, books and other resources that might help others. Please send them to [email protected]faboutpets.com

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The following two websites are good resources to check out for pet loss information and excellent pet loss books. Check them out.

www.aplb.org The Association of Pet Loss and Bereavement

Founder of APLB and author, Wallace Sife PH.D., "The Loss of a Pet: A Guide To Coping With The 

Grieving Process When A Pet Dies" 


www.pet-loss.net The Pet Loss Support Page

Founder and author, Moira Anderson Allen, M.Ed., "Coping with Sorrow on the Loss of Your Pet"



National Suicide Prevention Lifeline     800-273-8255

There are cases of pet loss that can trigger serious emotional responses that warrant quick 24/7 professional hotline support. If you or someone you know has thoughts of self-harm or suicide, please use this hotline number for free and confidential support and help.


    



How to Know When You're Ready for Another Dog After Your Dog Dies

By Gemma Johnstone

Dec 15, 2021 | 4 Minutes

Dogs offer an unconditional type of love we don’t always experience in our human relationships. When it’s time to say goodbye to such an integral part of our families, it can be a traumatic experience.

Not everyone respects grieving the loss of a pet the way they would a human family member—there isn’t always the same level of sympathy or understanding. It’s not uncommon to hear non-dog owners say things like, “why are you so upset? It was just a dog” or “just go out and get another one.”

Of course, welcoming another dog into your family can be part of the healing process, but there isn’t a set time for when it’s best to do this. Grief is an extremely personal journey. It isn’t a linear thing and allowing yourself and any other family members time to process these feelings is sensible before making a decision.

It Will Be Different For Every Family

Dr. Mary Gardner is a veterinarian and co-founder of Lap of Love. Geriatric medicine, the aging process in animals, and teaching families practical ways to care for and manage their elder pets are her passions.

She describes how the right time to introduce a new dog to the family will be different in every situation. “Processing grief can be very helpful in general, and the distraction of a new pet may be good, but may also take away from memorializing the first dog.” The last thing you want is to resent your new dog because you haven’t grieved enough.

“Not everyone goes through immense grief after the loss of a dog that prevents them from opening their heart again sooner,” says Dr. Gardner. “Sometimes the silence in the home is too much for a grieving owner, and filling the void is helpful.” She believes it’s a very personal decision, and “there’s nothing wrong with getting a new pet right away—or waiting for months or years to love again.”

Processing Grief

There isn’t a universal approach for handling the complicated grief process. But taking time to acknowledge rather than minimize feelings of grief and memorializing the pet you have lost can help you better understand if you and your wider family are ready to consider a new dog.

Bereavement counseling can be beneficial for people struggling to cope with the loss of a much-loved dog. Brenda Brown, MA, FT is a grief specialist and owner of Grief About Pets. She offers support services to owners before and after losing their pets. She also agrees that grieving is a very individual process and explains that “as a grief specialist, I always totally focus on my client’s story and relationship with their deceased pet. We talk about their grief symptoms and how they can cope with each one, whether it’s physical, mental, spiritual, or social.”

“Self-care can be so difficult in the early grieving stages. Healthy eating and drinking, along with sleeping, are crucial. I encourage my clients to keep talking and sharing their grief story with other trusted and understanding friends and family,” she says.

Brown encourages her clients to visit online pet loss groups. “Hearing and learning from other pet loss owners can be so helpful. Also, it’s great to know that you aren’t alone on the grief journey.”

There’s an AKC Pet Loss Support Group on Facebook. The private group offers members a place to grieve and comfort one another.

Some common ways of remembering your pet include planting something in their memory, creating a photobook, journaling, or commissioning a portrait. Brown explains that “in the early stages of grief, I suggest keeping many of your pet’s keepsakes (toys, collars, dog dishes, pictures, etc.). Eventually, as owners heal, we discuss ideas for keepsake treasures they can make or purchase (jewelry, urns, tattoos, figurines, stuffed animals, etc.). These special items can provide a great deal of comfort.”

Consider Other Household Pets

If you have another dog or other pets in the family, it’s important to consider them before introducing a new dog to the household. Throwing an excitable young puppy into the mix when you have a senior dog that’s choosy about who they socialize with may not be a fair decision.

However, dogs can experience grief at the loss of their furry friend too, and, sometimes, having a new dog around for companionship can help them feel less lonely.

Dr. Gardner says you need to consider how the new pet can change the dynamics in the house. She recognizes that “the existing pet may enjoy a new friend to play with,” but if they have high care needs or will stress with the introduction of a new pet, then the timing might not be right.

Try Not to Compare Your Old Dog to Your New One Too Much

Dr. Gardner thinks it’s common for grieving owners to compare their new dog to their previous one—she admits she has even done this herself. While it might be difficult not to do this to some degree, don’t be disappointed or frustrated if your new dog doesn’t behave the way your beloved previous dog did.

If you have a passion for a particular breed or opt for the same breed as your last dog, you might compare them even more, since they look alike and share similar breed traits. But every dog is unique.

“It can be a problem when someone sets expectations for the new pet. It’s important to just let the new pet be themselves and develop their own awesome personalities,” says Dr. Gardner.

A dog you shared your life with will never be forgotten or replaced. But, when the time is right, and another dog comes into your life, you can create new memories together, and building a relationship with them can continue to help heal your heart.

https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/health/do-dogs-grieve-other-dogs/


                                                                      How to become a Pet Loss Survivor


By Brenda Brown, Grief Specialist/Owner of GAPs

January 25, 2022

When you are initially grief-stricken, it is very challenging to imagine how you will ever survive the loss of your dearest fur companion. Whether your pet’s death was anticipated or an unexpected shock, grief makes you feel broken physically, mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually. However, the word ‘survivor” is the new positive grief term that has taken hold in the field of trauma and grief. As a pet loss grief survivor and specialist here are my best thoughts on how to begin to survive:


1- Remember that you are not alone. Social media is flooded with hundreds of pet parents who      

understand your pain. It can be very helpful to connect with other pet parents through a pet loss 

support group online.

2- Make the crucial decision to take care of yourself. I tell my clients, “Go back to the basic needs of life:          eating, healthy drinking, and sleeping.” As trite as it sounds, do your best every day with the basics.

3- Allow yourself to release your grief emotions (crying, even sometimes wailing, etc.) privately as often as you need to. Tears are truly healthy. It is good to get rid of those bad chemical toxins inside of your body.

4- If you have to work outside of your home, hopefully, your boss will be understanding of your severe grief and allow you to have one or two days off work. If this is not permissible at your workplace, it is crucial that you find a private area at your workplace to be tearful.

5- Share your story with trusted friends or family members who are pet lovers. Their empathy can often be the best medicine on the market.

6- Limit for a while sharing your grief story with friends/family who are not pet lovers and do not comprehend the level of your pain. Talking with these people can be more hurtful than helpful.

7- If your basic needs (eating, healthy drinking, and sleeping) and severe grief does not improve, call your physician and/or counselor for added help.

8- Don’t throw away all the pet treasures (collar, dog dish, pictures, ornaments, etc.). Put them in a secure box or safe location for now.

9- As your grief heals, begin to think about ways to memorialize your pet. When you are ready, consider making a shadow box/collage with keepsakes or a scrapbook with all those incredible pet pictures.

10- Eventually make the decision that you are going to be a survivor! Truthfully grief triggers will hit periodically. Triggers are those times you run across your deceased pet’s toy hidden under the couch or discover their Halloween costumes tucked in the closet. These moments are not easy but the length of time your severe grief feelings last will lessen over time.

11- Finally, open yourself up to helping other grieving pet parents in the future. Being able to share your grief healing wisdom and compassion with others is such a blessing.

12- Remember GAPs (Grief About Pets) and schedule to talk with Brenda Brown, MA, FT.

Surviving only comes from brokenness! It is my hope you decide to survive. 



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