Monday, February 26, 2007

Dealing with Pet Loss

It's been a sad day. Today, the cat that I was fostering and had recently adopted was diagnosed with Feline Leukemia and had to be euthanized. Facing illness when it comes to the animals we love is a difficult thing and many of us feel as if we are alone. While I feel an extreme sense of loss and pain, I know it's important to reach out to others and express this loss. When dealing with the loss of a companion animal, please remember the following:

  1. You did the best you could! Guilt is a huge issue and while we all feel this when grieving, know that you did everything you possibly could!

  2. Allow yourself to grieve. It's o.k. to feel sadness and loss. Reach out to friends and families and have a small memorial for your companion animal as you would any cherished friend.

  3. Make a donation in the name of your companion animal to your local shelter or no-kill facility. Honoring your animal in this way is a wonderful way to express love.

  4. Don't force yourself to get another pet right away. Everyone has different time frames when they feel comfortable with this. Give yourself time to heal and trust your instincts when it comes time to adopting again.

  5. Start a support group. Start a phone chain or set up a blog...anything where you can vent and discuss your feelings. Writing in a journal is also helpful.
To all the animals lost to illness, may they all rest in peace and know that they were loved.

Written by: Shanon Chalmers