Handling Grief

Losing a much-loved family member can be extremely heartbreaking, and in some cases can leave us feeling stressed, anxious, sad, depressed and a sense of overwhelming grief, both physically and mentally.

The team at Pets at Rest understand and sympathise with your great loss and are here to help you though your journey.

Grief is a natural response to loss. It is the suffering one feels when something or someone that we love is taken away. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, but asking for help and support can be one of the first steps in the healing process.

We have put together a few tips and support networks to help you better understand and come to terms with some of the emotions you may experience with your grief.

Signs of grief can be difficulty sleeping, crying, feeling depressed, loss of motivation, a feeling of loneliness, guilt, disbelief and physical pains like headaches, muscular pains and stomach-aches.

Tips for dealing with grief

Surround yourself with family and friends that understand how you’re feeling or have shared in your special bond with your pet.

Understand that is it ok to grieve, and that everyone grieves differently. There is no right or wrong way to feel and the person next to you might grieve in a different way, and that is ok.

Reach out to others who have also lost a pet, exchange stories and share how your own experience has left you feeling. If you don’t know of anyone, the Pets at Rest team are ALWAYS available.

Make sure you look after yourself. The emotional stress can leave us feeling so depleted and it is important to take the time to look after yourself by trying to get plenty of sleep, eating balanced meals with plenty of water, and going for a walk, yoga class or a massage.

For those of us that might have  lived alone, your pet was probably your sole companion who brought you joy and purpose on a daily basis. The loss of your beloved friend can leave us feeling lost and lonely. It is important to help fill the gap left by your pet’s departure by keeping busy and active, taking up new pass times or reliving old hobbies, helping other friends and family with their pets or donating your time to a local animal shelter.

It is also important to understand that other pets in the household might be also grieving the loss of their best friend.

Signs to look out for that your pet is feeling distressed might be:

  • Disinterest in their food
  • Searching and pacing
  • Lethargic and uninterested behaviour
  • Waiting by their friend’s bedding or toys they might have shared
  • Acts of aggression and confusion

Like us, it is important for them to keep busy and healthy. Take them to new exciting places, have friends come over to give them extra attention, spoil them with their favourite treats and think about getting them a new toy to play with and keep them occupied.

 Reaching out

  • Pet Bereavement & Adjustment Counselling (TAS)
Dinah Stern-Spiteri
  • Lifeline
  • Pets and People
  • Beyond Blue