7 Tips for Coping with Animal Bereavement
Here are my 7 Tips for Coping with Animal Bereavement.
- Recognise how you feel and what you are dealing with. Be it anger, loss, denial, hope, heartbreak, anxiety, crying, not sleeping or eating; take note of how you feel or how you are behaving.
- Honor your feelings and your animal. You feel like this because you love your animal with all of your heart, they meant as much to you as any other living being you share your home with, perhaps even more!
- Find the right support, only converse with people whom you know will support you and how you feel. There is no point going to see your neighbour Mr Timms who hates cats when your furbaby has crossed the rainbow bridge, it is unlikely he will have anything nice to say. You are feeling sore and you need comforting people around you. If you can’t find a friend then pop online to one of your supportive groups. (If you don’t have one I suggest joining Animal Chat and Natural Wellness on Facebook). Make sure to ask for the support you need, “I need a hug” or “I need time, a couple of days” or whatever it is you need, just ask.
- Give yourself and your home time to recover from your loss. Your animal and you spent a lot of time together, especially if you had a dog or a horse or working animal. You may’ve spent more time with them than anyone or anything. Only you can set this time, and you won’t know how long you need until you are there. 6 to 12 months is an entirely normal length of time to mourn, give yourself time and be gentle with yourself.
- Do something to honor your beloved animal friend. Be it a small burial or cremation, a ceremony or having a keepsake made from a lock of their mane or fur, a photo book or write a letter or a poem, a drawing, sketch or create a special memorial area in the garden. Do something that works for you. Some people like to go through their own animal funeral and others like to be very practical and move on. Whatever you do, it has to be right for you.
- I can’t stress how important self-care is. You are unlikely to feel much like being kind to yourself when experiencing the pain of animal bereavement however your body needs it! Take a gentle walk, a warm bath, read a book, watch a funny film, go to bed early or paint your toenails. Whatever you do, do something for you. Emotional stuff and crying can really leave you feeling drained as well as heart broken a quiet afternoon on the sofa with a hot chocolate, quiet music and early night can really help you cope with such strong feelings.
- The only person who will know when it is the right time to move on, is you. Getting another cat, dog, horse or rabbit doesn’t replace the animal you’ve lost.
Need specialist support to help you through this difficult time?
If you find you are unable to manage your feelings before or after the loss of your animal, I can offer you a very helpful and supportive healing session where I will incorporate talking and reiki to create a very gentle and practical session. This will allow you to find some peace, which will facilitate moving on, at the right time for you. Find out more about this or book a session here.
Love, Ruthy Doolittle x