For some people, their dog or cat represents unconditional love, a reassuring presence, a ball of energy that makes the house warmer, a companion who never judges you, a being who anchors you in the present… in short, a member of the family. Leaving a pet is never easy. It is said that over time, pain changes, but never goes away. Here are some tips to prepare you or help you deal with animal grief. 


What are the stages of grief?

The order and duration of the stages may vary from one person to another and depending on the circumstances of the animal’s departure. Typically, grief will begin with a period of denial. It will be difficult to imagine a daily life without your pet. Some people will wait before putting away accessories, toys and other possessions related to the animal, while others prefer to put everything away in order to avoid continually feeling the flood of emotion. Then, a feeling of anger may arise and be directed towards oneself, a person who caused the accident, the medical team, etc. Then comes one of the longest stages of mourning: sadness. There will be a first time for everything in your new reality without your pet. Your first awakening without him, a walk without his presence, no longer preparing his meals, not being greeted with joy when you return home, the date of his birthday, etc. You may feel depressed for a long time and at different levels. If the pain persist and time does not seem to ease your sadness, do not hesitate to seek help. This will help you move through the final stage of grieving, which is acceptance. It’s when you can fully accept your pet’s departure and nostalgia transforms into sweet memories.

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Some ideas to pay tribute to your pet

There are many ways to pay tribute to the deceased. Among the most common for dogs and cats, there is the urn with the animal’s ashes. It can be designed to feature a photo or print of your pet. Some people will prefer to have a ceremony and bury the body of the animal on the family land.

If you want to collect your good times spent together, have your most beautiful photos printed to make an album. Did you know that several animal photographers offer photo packages to capture the different life stages of the animal? You can also opt for a souvenir created by a painter who specializes in animal portraits. Some will prefer to have this work on their body and will choose to go see a tattoo artist. There are also artisans who make jewelry using the hair or ashes of your dog or cat. This technique allows you to be accompanied by your pet at all times in a discreet and aesthetic manner.

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Literary references

The book Going Home: Finding Peace When Pets Die, written by Jon Katz, a New York Times bestselling author;

The book Losing My Best Friend: Thoughtful support for those affected by dog bereavement or pet loss, written by Jeannie Wycherley;

The book The Amazing Afterlife or Animals: Messages and Sings From Our Pets On The Other Side, written by Karen A Anderson, #1 Bestseller & Winner of 16 National and International Literary Award;

The website offers a wide range of information, tools and references on euthanasia and animal bereavement.