ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Grief of Pet Loss

Updated on November 22, 2010

An Often Overlooked Form of Grief

          It is fairly common for us to talk about the loss of a person and the grief associated with the end of human relationships. Whether the loss is through death, divorce, breakup, or simply an end to a friendship, there is an endless supply of information offering advice on how to cope. However, one area that is often overlooked, or brushed aside, is the feelings of losing a pet.


The Loss of a Special Friend

          Pets allow us, I often say, to experience one of the purest forms of unconditional love. And whether that pet is lost or stolen, placed in a new home, or dies, the ending of that relationship can be devastating and one of the most difficult times in a person’s life. According to psychologists, the grief suffered by the pet’s owners following a loss can be the same as that experienced after the loss of a person.

          In our busy lives these days, whenever we hear of someone losing an animal friend, our good intentions often lead us to words that try and minimize the loss. “It’s just an animal,” or “why not just go and find another one.” However, it is important to remember that animals offer love and acceptance that is unique and often not easily replaced.  


Tips for Coping with the Loss of a Pet

Allow Yourself Time To Grieve
Grieving is a natural process for your mind and body to help you heal from your loss. Allowing yourself to cry to express your loss will make you feel better faster. Talking with others or writing your thoughts and feelings on paper also helps people to express their losses and to heal.  Grieving is natural and very healthy.

Be Willing To Ask and Accept Help from Others
Help and support from others will decrease the pain that you are feeling.  People and animals have an amazing capacity to heal each other. So, accept their help, it will make you and them feel better.  Sometimes it is normal for other people in your household to feel numb after the loss of a pet, so they may not know to offer you help; nevertheless, ask them for their help because it will help them to reconnect with people. It will make you and them feel better.  Help other people when you have the strength to do so, it will make you feel better.

Set Up a Memorial to Honor Your Lost Pet
Memorials honor your pets and help you to remember them in a healthy way.  Many people use photographs or even dedicate a special tree in honor of their pet. Memorials can really help, so choose one that feels right for you and your pet.

Set Up a Special, personal Place for You to Heal
Create your own personal sanctuary for yourself while you heal. Choose a location that is quiet and comfortable so that you can reflect and grieve in a place where you feel safe. Use calming and healing items there such as candles, heirlooms and other items that will give peace and strength. Some people keep religious items close at hand. As you heal, you will eventually know when the time is right to return this space back to its regular purpose.

Trust Yourself that You Will Heal
Hope should never be lost.  Every single person has the capacity to heal. You will discover strengths in yourself that you never knew you had. The key is to take it one day at a time. Healing will take time and effort, but it always happens.

Assess Your Personal Grief Level
Think of an imaginary stress meter as a scale from 1 to 10.  Think of a score of 1 equaling no stress at all and a 10 equaling the greatest amount of stress that you could imagine.  Be honest about rating your stress level.  If your score is 1, 2, or 3, than you can probably handle the stress in your own way.  A score of 4, 5, or 6 means you would probably benefit from talking with a friend or family member who really cares about you.  If your score is 7, 8, 9, or 10 you are facing a crisis and should seek help from a counselor immediately. The sooner you ask for help, the sooner your stress level can begin to decrease with help from another.



    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • prairieprincess profile image

      Sharilee Swaity 

      7 years ago from Canada

      JC, I love that you took the time to write this hub, because I have known so many people who have experienced this. I knew an older lady who had already lost so many people, including a husband. When she lost her little puppy, she grieved for months. Finally, after about a year, she allowed her heart to open up, and love again .. another little dog.

      For an older person, especially, it may be harder, because they may be retired, and have had more time to spend with the pet. And you are right ... it is like losing an important person in your life.

      This is a great hub. Very well-written. Take care!

    • Lucky Cats profile image


      7 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California

      This is a wonderful, loving and honestly written article about the real trauma of losing a companion animal to death, disappearance, or other means. You have described this loss perfectly and I love the suggestions you have shared about ways in which to handle the grieving process. It is apparent that you love your animal family very much. Otherwise, you would not have the depth of understanding you so kindly have displayed here. Thank you so much for caring this deeply, and for helping others who will, eventually, experience the loss of a beloved pet. I am going to "share you" with pintoandi; a fellow hubber who has lost her little dog; to this day, she is still very very sad and mourning this loss. Your friend, Kathy aka Lucky Cats. Definitely voted up, beautiful, awesome and useful; like on FB and shared!!!


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)