When the human companion-animal bond is severed, the sense of loss can be overwhelming
Society doesn’t always offer a grieving pet owner a great deal of sympathy. If you’ve experienced the loss of a beloved pet, you need the support of friends and relatives. Unfortunately, immediate family and intimate friends may not fully appreciate what you’re going through. Remember that grief is a normal response to any important loss in life and no one needs to feel alone when dealing with it.
The WHS has volunteers trained in loss and grief counseling who can help you. If you need someone to reach out to in your grief, call our Pet Loss & Grief Support Line at 204-988-8804. Please leave your name, telephone number and best time to reach you. Messages are checked throughout the day and returned as soon as possible.
How we can help you
- Understanding the feelings you’re going through.
- Provide suggestions on how to say goodbye.
- Help surviving pets cope with the loss of a missing companion.
- Come to terms with the guilt we so often feel when a pet dies.
- Handle the agonizing decision of euthanasia.
- Discuss the best and most comforting “final resting place” for your pet.
- Help determine when to bring a new companion into your home.
A meaningful good-bye
At some point, you are going to have to make final arrangements for your pet. Most veterinarians can either handle matters themselves or explain the choices available. There are several options:
- Cemetery burial: People have been burying their pets in ritual fashion since Egyptian time. Today there are pet cemeteries in virtually every populated area.
- Home burial: It is not uncommon for pet owners to bury their pets somewhere on their own property, but you should check with your municipality before making such arrangements. Typically, home burial is permitted in rural and suburban settings. A tight-fitting wooden box would be appropriate for your pet’s remains.
- Cremation: Your veterinarian probably can arrange for cremation and advise you on environmental concerns regarding the disposal of ashes.
You may also want to memorialize your pet in a personally meaningful way. Some people create photo albums, others plant a tree or shrub in memory of their pet, and still others make a “memory box” in which all the pets belongings are kept.
For many people, it’s comforting to commemorate their pet’s life by helping other animals. Some choose to make a donation in memory of their pet to animal welfare organizations such as The Winnipeg Humane Society.