How Counselling can help with Pet Bereavement
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Amanda Smith DIP COUNS MCS DIP HYP LHS
26th September, 20140 Comments
Bereavement is a very difficult part of life that we all experience at some point. Losing a loved one is an extremely difficult process. To lose a pet, can be just as traumatic but also just as normal.
Our furry friends become part of our family, no matter how big or small they are. From the moment we bring them home, we care for them just like we do all our loved ones, and we have so many enjoyable delightful moments with them. They give us so much, and only ask that we feed them and offer a little affection to them.
They become our pal, our buddy, sometimes even our confidante. When they are ill, we take them to the vets, hoping they will soon return to being healthy as quickly as possible. But sometimes they become too ill and are unable to recover.
It can be difficult to absorb the information that our pet will not live forever. Especially when it is suggested, we may have to make the very unpleasant decision, to help them along their way. This can be a very distressing time. Having to make this decision can be incredibly hard to do, bringing feelings of tremendous guilt. The guilt being, you are the one who is saying if they continue to live or not.
When we have finally made the decision to help them along their way, the days up to the appointment can seem to be the longest yet shortest days all at the same time.
We try not to show them our own emotional turmoil that we are going through, we try to act normal, giving them as much love and affection as they could ever need.
When it comes to the actual day of saying goodbye. The sadness is overwhelming. We feel a great emptiness in our hearts, the same normal emptiness felt, as when we have to say goodbye to a human loved one.
The days after our loss, are filled with the grief we as humans feel.
Our home is empty as the joy from our pet, is no longer there to welcome us home. Our life is changed so much, as the everyday duty of taking our special friend on a walk is no longer required.
The old feeding times, are very hard to pass, as there is no one looking up at us with those adorable eyes, asking us where is their dinner.
We can find ourselves, automatically going to the cupboard for their feeding bowl, or making sure there's the fresh water. This can be devastating, when we realise there is no food bowl or fresh water any longer needed.
Losing a pet, can be a very difficult process to go through. We can find ourselves feeling just the same, as when we experience the loss of a human, that we will never recover.
In order to help us reach the recovery, we have to allow ourselves time to grieve and time to adjust.
Sometimes it is not expressed to others that we are grieving the loss of our pet, as this can seem a little odd to some.
As with all unexpressed grief, this can be very unhealthy for the individual, as it may bring other issues.
*Counselling* offers you a confidential comfortable place to express all your feelings for your loss. It offers you the same support as in all grief experiences. Helping you get through those days where you feel very empty and your emotions are shattering.
It will support you and allow you the time you need to make those steps forward, to feel the strength to again live your life.
Your sessions will give you the space you require to talk about the feelings and emotions you are experiencing, especially emptiness, guilt and sadness.
You will start to be able to understand these feelings and emotions without feeling silly for having them. As with all counselling issues, there is no judgement, but empathy, understanding and support. counselling will help you every step of the way through your grief.
Related articles from our experts
- Grief - our own personal experience
Step1Counselling. Isabel Fulcher Registered MBACP18th June, 2018
- Coping with bereavement
Cate Campbell MA, MBACP (Accred), MCOSRT (Accred), MAFT3rd June, 2018
- The grieving practitioner
Dr. Sidrah Muntaha, Chartered Clinical Psychologist, DClinPych, CPsychol, AFBPsS19th May, 2018
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