Phases of Grief
There a several commonly accepted phases of grief, although not everyone will experience them all or in any particular order.
Often, the more sudden the death, the more difficult the loss may be to accept. This stage may last anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours or maybe a few days.
- Anger and Guilt
Anger may be directed at people you normally love and respect, and may include family, veterinarians and staff. You may want to blame others for not recognizing the illness sooner, for not preventing the situation, or for not being able to afford treatment. You may blame others for their role (or perceived role) in the situation, such as allowing your pet to be injured.
Symptoms of depression after the loss of the pet can be very severe – many pet owners report a greater sense of loss after losing a pet than after losing a human family member. During this period, it is important to know that other people have experienced similar feelings, understand your grief, and are supportive.
- Acceptance and Resolution
Healing truly begins at this stage. Thoughts and memories of your pet begin to be filled with more love and less pain. Memorializing your pet or honoring their memory may help in your acceptance and resolution.
- Pet Loss & Grief Support Sessions - Stillwaters Veterinary Care
- Pet Loss Support Group – a local support group in the Fayetteville area
- Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement
- College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University
- University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine Pet Loss and Bereavement Information Site
Books for Children About Pet Loss and Grief
- The Tenth Good Thing About Barney - Judith Viorst
- Dog Heaven - Cynthia Rylant
- Cat Heaven - Cynthia Rylant
- Badger's Parting Gifts - Susan Varley
Books and Articles
- The Loss of a Pet - Wallace Sife
- Goodbye, Friend: Healing Wisdom for Anyone Who Has Ever Lost a Pet - Gary Kowalski
- Joy In a Woolly Coat: Living With, Loving, and Letting Go of Treasured Animal Friends - Julie Adams Church
- Coping with Sorrow on the Loss of Your Pet - Moira Anderson Allen
- Angel Whiskers
- Angel Pawprints