Pet Bereavement - Vet Advice from Vet Dr Scott Miller
Grieving For a Pet
We understand that losing a pet can bring to the surface many different emotions and feelings. For us, a pet is not “just a dog” or “just a cat,” but rather a beloved member of our family, bringing companionship, fun, and joy to our lives. Losing your dog or cat can be a very difficult time, we never truly forget our loved ones and the hole in our heart is never completely healed.
Our Vet, Dr Scott Miller shares his own story about his beloved Betty and shares advice on how to manage grief after losing your pet.
Dr Scott Miller lost his beloved Border Terrier, Betty, 18 months ago who he had for 15 years and loved very deeply. He says: "The decision to let her go was a very difficult one and its made me feel guilty ever since and it was a very hard decision to make."
The Emotions of losing a pet
As Dr Scott Miller continues to help patients as a vet, he's come to realise that guilt is a standard part of losing an animal and you will always wonder if you should've done more but its important to remember why we made the decision in the first place; it was to uphold their welfare and to make them comfortable. We should also make sure that our animals, wherever they are, hopefully waiting for us over the rainbow bridge, would not want us to feel bad or guilty.
Dr Scott Miller says that one other reason for guilt is that some people think that their pet wouldn't want them to move on and then rehome another animal, and sometimes that's a personal feeling as well. Moving on and finding love with another canine or feline companion is absolutely fair enough and you are giving a home to an animal who really needs it so you do have to think of the positives in those instances.
An important reminder from Dr Scott Miller "I couldn't have loved my dog more and I still think about her everyday but the happiness and the joy of her ownership does come in time."
Its important to feel and not disregard your feelings, it is completely normal after the loss of a pet to find certain feelings comes in stages. You may experience different feelings such as denial, anger, guilt, depression, and eventually acceptance and resolution.
Coping with the grief of losing your pet
- Speak with support services or your Vet
- Reach out to others who have lost their pet
- Let yourself feel without embarrassment or judgement and take as long as you need to heal
- Hold a funeral for your pet
- Create a memoir - have their ashes put into a special urn, create a picture book, include a printed paw print or lock of hair.
Pet Bereavement Support Services
The Blue Cross offers a pet bereavement service, providing free, confidential support to anyone affected by losing a pet.
Cats Protection have a service called Paws to Listen, a service for any cat owner suffering grief or bereavement for a beloved pet.
"All the very best and lots of love to anyone that's suffering with pet bereavement and there are some amazing support services out there, so please reach out to them or your vet if you do need some help."
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