Dealing with the Grief of Euthanasia
Many, many pet owners experience a very strong and lasting sense of pain and grief after the passing of a special pet. Part of their trouble stems from having so few human friends who actually understand the deep sense of grief they are experiencing.
Even a close friend might say "Oh, just go get another one" or "Gosh, it was only a cat". This can be a very lonely and private grief since the pet owner often is reluctant to disclose the source of their saddened state for fear of ridicule. Plus it is very common for the pet owner to think they see or hear their deceased pet in the home or out in the yard long after it is gone. If someone hasn't personally experienced the loss of a loved pet they simply will be unable to connect with the pet owner who is grief stricken.
The bereaved pet owner often is self-critical, too. Reading their thoughts we would recognize self chastisement such as "Oh, this is ridiculous feeling like this over a Cocker Spaniel" or "I can't believe losing a cat would wreck my entire life!" And the loss of a pet often brings up memories of other losses in a person's life and a vicious cycle of sadness, helplessness and even clinical depression can result.
Our pets are THAT important to us and we don't have to apologize for feeling that way!
Those pet owners who feel they need to talk to someone who understands their sadness have hope! There are a number of grief support groups and counselors who specialize in pet loss counseling. Never feel ashamed or belittle yourself for having strong feelings of loss and sadness over a deceased pet. You are NOT alone in your sadness. There are numerous websites that may prove helpful and informative while you progress along the road to accepting the loss of your pet.
Never feel ashamed for being lost and lonely after losing your little friend. And remember, it always takes longer than you would expect to start functioning "normally" again. As well, your state's Veterinary Medical Association (ask your veterinarian for the phone number) will direct you to a nearby pet loss specialist.
Do you know someone who is having serious self-doubt about having a pet euthanized? Tell them to read A Letter From Annie. It will make a difference.
Do pets grieve when they lose a human companion? The answer is simple after you read this.
Image: Jeff Kramer / via Flickr