For most people, pets are a major part of the family. They are there for every big life event and also the small, day to day activities. They’re around to comfort you when you’re sad or chase their tail when you need a laugh. Sometimes, we spend more of our time with our animals than with family, friends, and co-workers, so it’s understandable that losing a pet is like losing a member of the family.

Jody Thompson’s article from The Huffington Post says it best: “It’s the deal you make having pets—youHo know they don’t live for very long and you will be devastated when you lose them. But the fun, love, companionship and joy they bring is worth the pain at the end and the massive hole they invariably leave.”

Here are a few tips to help you cope with the difficulty of losing a pet:

It’s okay to grieve. Friends might say, “It was only a pet. It isn’t like you lost an actual person.” Some people assume that pet loss shouldn’t or doesn’t hurt as much as the loss of a human, or that it is inappropriate to grieve for an animal. They may not understand because they don’t have a pet of their own, or because they don’t know the companionship and love that a pet can provide.

Find others who know your pain. Seek out others who have lost pets. They will understand the pain you are feeling and can suggest different ways of getting through the grieving process. If your family or friends love animals, they’ll understand what you’re going through. Working through your feelings with another person is one of the best ways to put them in perspective and find ways to handle them. Find someone you can talk to about how much the pet meant to you and how much you miss it.

If you don’t have family or friends who understand or if you need more help, ask your veterinarian to recommend a pet loss counselor or support group.

Create a memorial for your pet. When you feel up to it, gather some of your favorite things that remind you of your pet: a favorite toy, your favorite picture of the two of you, their collar. You can create a shadow box of all of the items. You could also frame a few pictures and place them around your house so that you are reminded of your pet and those special memories.

Losing a dear friend, whether animal or human, is a terrible loss. It’s normal to grieve and honor their memory, but take comfort knowing that the pain will ease with time.

If you’d like to set up a time to meet up with Reka, you can contact her by phone at 402-881-8125, by email at, or via Twitter or Facebook.

photo credit: Sewer and Tree via photopin (license)