Recently, I lost my dog of 12 years. It has been really difficult to recover from this, and I wonder what are some ways to heal. I know that this process takes time, but I wonder how other duders have handled this kind of loss. I want this to be a safe space to discuss positive strategies.
Coping with the loss of a pet
I feel you, I recently lost my pet of 5 years. It hurts more because of how young they were. Just over a week ago. I didn't cope very well during the first few days.
It definitely left a chasm in my life that I don't just want to fill in with another pet, it just wouldn't be right. It goes without saying that time is the best healer, but I just went and splurged on a new phone as a sorta treat to help me deal with the loss. So maybe something new to mess around with would help divert your thoughts.
When my cat died i genuinely was more upset than when some close family had died. I know it sounds absurd but i lived with this animal and spent hours every day interacting with and it was a massive part of my life. The first few days after it died, and it was only a few years old, i felt a sense of grief that actually blind sided me in how intense it was. All i would say is feel no shame in grieving. Its a testament to your compassion and humanity that you cared and these emotions honour that bond.
In terms of how to get over it i dont think theres anything you can do. Just don't turn away from those feelings and bury them. Its trite but time does soften the acute pain but it never dulls the loss. I personally benefitted from expressing these feelings and honestly talking to friends about my loss.
I hope you can find a way to live with the loss.
Find your favorite picture of them and frame it. Maybe place it on a shelf with some of their favorite toys and make a little shrine. Eventually you will find that it brings you happy memories instead of sad ones.
Sounds corny, but my roommate did that for his dog and it seems to bring him some comfort. I'll likely do the same when it's time for my cat to go. Getting all verklempt over here just thinking about it.
It’s different for each pet and it takes a long time. In almost 21 years of marriage we’ve lost three dogs. With one we grieved right away and felt a little better. When the next one died, we had acquired a young dog and her very joyous attitude sort of accidentally covered our grief about the older one until one day we had a moment and both broke down sobbing in the living room. That let us know we needed to talk about it more and deal with it.
Dan Ryckert got me onto meditation which has helped a ton with anxiety but it has also helped me to be able to sit in really bad emotions and live with them rather than try to suppress them. Overall I think it has helped me through some pretty sad stuff in a more productive way in terms of emotional health.
Weird to think a guy who thought egg shells were egg whites would produce such a positive change in my emotional health but here we are.
First off, sorry for your loss. I think there are many ways to grieve. Some people take solace in remembering teh good times with a pet, reminiscing with others. I know some people who find a pet in need and use the energy of caring for another pet to help them deal with the loss. Some people have to wait and process what they feel about one pet and could not imagine having a new pet.
It took me many month to not feel sad about my dog Baron Von Chestnut, a standard dachshund. He was my grandparents dog and when they passed I took him. Unlike many dachshund he was very calm, mellow, and self assured. He grew up with another dog, a bloodhound named Bullet who was an aggressive nervous dog. I think Baron learned that his friend liked quit and calm because he has post traumatic stress disorder from being shot -that was why he was called Bullet. So Baron being a good friend developed a very calm and supportive personality and kept ist his whole life. Baron was a happy, sensitive and wise dog - he is missed.
That is my dog and his story. Maybe, telling you dogs story form time to time to people will help you as it does me.
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