I’m so sorry! Grieving for an animal can be overwhelming, especially for people who consider animals part of their family.
Touch is such a big part of our relationship with most pets. It sustains us, calms us, reminds us that we’re not alone. And when it’s gone, we miss the cold noses, the snuggles, the hairballs, and even the stinky farts.
We grieve over the loss of our companion. Not just “a dog,” “a cat,” “a horse,” “a guinea pig,” or “a lizard” – but the loss of Frisky, Ralphie, Pee Wee, Eddie, Missy, Mitsubishi. We miss their personalities, their love – even the behaviors that drove us a bit crazy.
We miss our conversations – we talked to them, about them, about our day, about the other animals in the family. About Aunt Mildred. I think they enjoyed our chats, too (except when they were being chastised). Sometimes they even understood us.
Shoot, I haven’t lost an animal since 2012, but I’m tearing up just writing this. At this point, you should imagine my son Pat saying, “Mom! Toughen up!” But I can’t, at least not about this.
Because grief means you loved them, you cared about them, and you miss them. Grief honors them. We don’t grieve those we don’t love or care about. We may feel sad – or sad for the person who is experiencing the loss. But that’s not the same as grief. To me, grief is a sacred emotion.
The truth is your animal lives. My experience is that animals’ souls and personalities survive death. Two of my animals have come to me after they died. And I’ve collected a BUNCH of stories about animals checking in on their people after their animals “left the planet.”
Please allow the grief to lift slowly as you remember them fondly and know they haven’t forgotten you.
I’ve met a lot of people who feel guilty about euthanizing their pet. So far, the animals I’ve met haven’t held grudges. If you made this most-difficult decision with love, they understand.
If you still can’t shake your guilt, talk to your animal. Yes, I know they’re “dead,” but they’re still available for a conversation! Explain what led to your decision and ask their forgiveness. It helps.
You’ve got a better chance to feel their presence when you release guilt. Instead of the guilt, focus on how much you love them.
Be forewarned, you probably won’t get a text! But there are a lot of other ways they can let you know they’re visiting.
You could feel them sleeping on the bed next to you or sitting at or on your feet. Maybe you’ll hear their bark, meow, or neigh.
They might visit your dreams.
Your other animal might do something that only the animal who passed used to do. (In this case, I think they agreed to help the animal come through).
And you could ask me to help you contact them.
Hugs all round!