The loss of a beloved pet is a very real bereavement that requires closure. Over the time that your pet has been in your home, their presence has become an integral part of your life. You equip a pet with all the things it needs…its own collar, comfy bed, special bowl, possibly a little winter coat. In many ways your pet has joined the human race while in your care.
You will miss the unconditional love and loyalty given so unstintingly by your cat, dog…even little creatures like your child’s rabbit or guinea pig. You should never underestimate the grief and loss experienced.
When a human member of your family dies, the first thing you would do is arrange a dignified funeral, be it a burial or a cremation. So why should it be any different for your pet? The backyard burial is always a possibility, but today there are services available that will allow you to give your pet a proper funeral and help your family move on.
It is also important to have the opportunity of public mourning, that is, in the company of family and friends. You will be surprised at how friends rally round when given an opportunity to support you in your grief. Giving support is one of the most important aspects of a funeral and one which is acknowledged by society. Why then not for a cherished pet? Your friends will also miss your pet and will appreciate this opportunity to demonstrate their care and sympathy. This is indeed what friends are for.
How the loss of a pet affects children
The death of a pet is often a child’s first exposure to the concept of death. It is an opportunity for parents to introduce the child to what the permanent loss of a loved one means and sad as it is, it can be a valuable preparation for the inevitable loss of family members, especially grandparents.
By going through the process of the funeral, children grow to understand the meaning of life and death and how, by honouring the one who has died by giving them an appropriate end of life ceremony, we express our love. A grave with a headstone or a beautiful urn with a plaque remains a tangible symbol of a cherished relationship and many happy memories.