Animals are a huge part of life for many of us. They are friends, companions and even members of the family. They give unconditional love, loyalty and acceptance. The only downside to having them in your life is that they don’t live as long as we do. Dealing with the loss of a pet is something all animal lovers must face. So what do you do when your pet dies?
1. Let yourself grieve.
Many people have trouble letting themselves grieve for a pet. They might be uncomfortable expressing such a strong feeling, or maybe others have made them feel that grieving for a pet is silly. Maybe they think they should be feeling better by now. After all, it’s “just a cat” or “only a dog.” But animals are pure spirits; our connection with them is often highly spiritual and very powerful. By repressing grief, we are blocking the spirit’s natural way of coping and letting things out. This can lead to all sort of physical, emotional and spiritual problems later, so let yourself grieve and take as long as you need to. It hurts and it’s sad but it’s natural. It helps to remember that all life is eternal – and this includes animals – so your beloved animal friend is not really gone. They have just moved on. Through meditation and spiritual journeying you can still feel their presence very easily, as they never leave you. They were brought in to your life for a reason, to nurture and protect you, and they will never abandon you even after they are gone from the earth.
2. Let yourself laugh.
Sometimes when a loved one dies, we feel bad if we don’t feel bad all the time. But life was not bad with your animal friend, so why should remembering them be? They made us laugh and warmed our hearts. They comforted us. They kept us company. It’s OK to laugh remembering and looking at pictures. They can brighten our lives still, even after they have moved on. It is their gift to us and they keep giving it even years after we’ve parted.
3. Let yourself heal.
There is no need for guilt or holding yourself back from healing. When you feel better, you feel better. When you are ready for a new animal friend, you’re ready. Animals have such healing energy and they are so sensitive to who and what we are. You can be sure your animal loved one would not begrudge you one bit for feeling better. The only thing they have more than loyalty is heart.
4. Let yourself love again.
Sometimes when we are hurt very badly, we put up walls to protect ourselves. But life is love. The whole point of life is to love. Loss is a part of love – and therefore life – but the good thing about love is that there is always more. Don’t hold yourself back from your new friend in fear. Don’t compare them to your other animal friend. Just experience, appreciate and love them for who they are. They deserve it and so do you.
One last thought: our physical bodies are not us. They are sort of like the envelope that holds our spirit, which is who we really are. All living things are this way, including non-human animals. We are all eternal and we all go on. So while you might mourn for the time you had together on earth, don’t mourn for them. They are not gone. They are not over. The spirit is never over. They’ve just moved on.
This post is dedicated to Chino. Wait for me, big dog. You were my real-life guardian angel. You are missed.