No matter where in the world humans go, they bring their pets along with them. Whether it’s a dog, cat, bird, fish or lizard, many people crave pet companionship.
Australians, in particular, love their pets. We have one of the highest pet ownership rates in the world, with over 61% of households having at least one pet.
In this article, we will talk about when is the right time to get a new pet after a losing one.
There are over 29 million pets in Australia, and most of them live in households where they are loved and cared for like a member of the family. And when they pass away, we grieve them just like any other member of the family.
It’s a sad fact of pet ownership that we owners are likely to outlive our pets. Cats and dogs will generally only live one to two decades in comparison to 80 years for Australian life expectancy.
If you have recently grieved the loss of a pet, we grieve along with you. Most pet owners will feel this loss greatly. You may want to know when is the right time to look at pets for sale, as the companionship they provide is invaluable for many people.
Grieving the Loss of a Pet
Sadness and grief are normal and expected responses to the death of a loved one. Just like grief for friends and family, grief for a pet is only truly dealt with over time. However, there are some healthy ways to help cope with the pain that will help you accept the fact that your pet has passed.
1. Feel How You Feel
There is no right or wrong way to feel after someone you love passes away. Everyone grieves in their own way and no-one can tell you to ‘move on’ or ‘get over it’. It’s important to allow yourself to feel how you feel without guilt or embarrassment.
It’s perfectly fine to feel angry, to cry or even to laugh and find moments of joy when you remember your pet. All of these emotions will eventually help you get ready to truly let go and say goodbye to your pet.
2. Look After Yourself
When we experience grief, we frequently put our lives on hold, including self-care routines that are vital for our mental wellness. Try not to succumb to this impulse, as looking after your own physical and emotional needs is crucial to getting through this difficult time.
3. Say Goodbye When You’re Ready
Pets will often be cremated once they pass away, but there is typically very little fanfare or ritual involved. Don’t underestimate the importance of the process of formally saying goodbye – there is a reason why we do this for people we care about. So why shouldn’t pets be treated the same way?
A funeral or memorial service for your pet can help you and your family members come to terms with what has happened and give you the chance to say goodbye one last time, giving you some closure.
Ignore those who say that it’s inappropriate or excessive – only you know how much your pet meant to you, so do what feels right. It doesn’t need to be a big production, and even just simply saying some words or sharing memories in your pet’s favourite park or walking spot can make a big difference.
4. Ask for Help if You Need It
There is nothing wrong with getting help in dealing with your feelings of grief. Whether it’s from a friend who will lend a sympathetic ear or a professional grief counsellor, simply having someone listen can be a great help.
Getting counselling from a professional can also teach you better coping skills and techniques that you can use throughout the rest of your life, so it also has benefits that go beyond the loss of a pet.
The Right Time to Get a New Pet
It can be difficult to move past the death of a beloved pet and family member, but it is definitely possible. Then whenever you are ready, there is surely another pet out there just waiting for you to bring them home.
Ultimately, you can only truly commit to a new pet once you’ve properly grieved the loss and have had a chance to say goodbye. Don’t think of it as leaving your old pet behind, as you will always carry them with you.
Whenever your heart starts to hurt when you remember them, that’s simply them letting you know that they’re happy and grateful that you were their owner. They want you to know that all the love and care you still have to give shouldn’t go to waste.
We’ll leave you now with a poem by Robinson Jeffers:
The House Dog's Grave (Haig, an English bulldog)
I've changed my ways a little; I cannot now
Run with you in the evenings along the shore,
Except in a kind of dream; and you, if you dream a moment,
You see me there.
So leave awhile the paw-marks on the front door
Where I used to scratch to go out or in,
And you'd soon open; leave on the kitchen floor
The marks of my drinking-pan.
I cannot lie by your fire as I used to do
On the warm stone,
Nor at the foot of your bed; no, all the night through
I lie alone.
But your kind thought has laid me less than six feet
Outside your window where firelight so often plays,
And where you sit to read--and I fear often grieving for me--
Every night your lamplight lies on my place.
You, man and woman, live so long, it is hard
To think of you ever dying
A little dog would get tired, living so long.
I hope that when you are lying
Under the ground like me your lives will appear
As good and joyful as mine.
No, dear, that's too much hope: you are not so well cared for
As I have been.
And never have known the passionate undivided
Fidelities that I knew.
Your minds are perhaps too active, too many-sided…
But to me you were true.
You were never masters, but friends. I was your friend.
I loved you well, and was loved. Deep love endures
To the end and far past the end. If this is my end,
I am not lonely. I am not afraid. I am still yours.
You Will Know When is Right Time to Get a New Pet
Losing a pet can be as difficult for some as losing a family member or beloved friend. There are several healthy ways you can cope with the loss of a pet to ease the pain though, such as allowing yourself to grieve, taking care of yourself during this difficult time, saying goodbye when you're ready, and getting the right help when needed.
All these can help you mourn your pet properly, continue living on, and know when is the right time to get a new pet.