Coping With Pet Loss

It’s just over a week since the death of my dog, Peggy, a funny, adorable, cheeky, Cavalier King Charles. 

I’d had her from a puppy when my late husband and I chose her together.  

We both felt that she was more than a pet to us, as we’d not had children together.   My relationship with her had become even more special when my husband died, 5 years ago.

My husband’s death was a suicide and I was traumatised and distressed for a very long time.    I spent a lot of time alone with my misery and Peggy was amazing at knowing what I needed, every time I broke down with those hysterical, racking sobs of grief.   I recall the first time I realised that Peggy was aware of my suffering,  when I was sobbing over my husband’s ashes in a far part of the house, when suddenly she was there, jumped up onto me, putting her paws around my neck, like a cuddle.  On other occasions I would be crying and she would come to me and frantically lick my hand.    This was unusual as Peggy never, ever licked anyone and it only ever happened when I was distressed.   This scenario occurred several times during my grief journey and she always knew when I was suffering – even if she’d been asleep.   Her concern and comfort always helped me.  I would often laugh at her through my tears and it would enable me to get up and get on with the process of living.    

My relationship with Peggy was like one with a human.   We had a routine together; I fed her; we sat together; we walked together; I talked to her.  She rode in my car with me and had progressed from the back seat to the front seat!   I considered her in everything that I did.   I worked part time so I could spend time with her; rented a house with a garden for her; stopped having holidays when she was sick.   I could not be out of the house for more than 4 hours, as the diuretics she was on meant her having regular access to the garden.    In other words, my world revolved around her.

 Since her death I have experienced all kinds of emotions ranging from relief (she had been quite poorly for some time) to sadness about never seeing her again.  I’ve also cried in public when people have expressed their condolences.  For a couple of days I felt indifferent and wondered how this could be.  I now realise that it was the numbness of grief - as when I collected her ashes, the sorrow began.   Whilst this is a roller coaster of emotions, I know that all of this is normal, natural and healthy.

Pet Loss Support

5 years ago when my husband died, the thought that I would also lose my dog at some point in the future, terrified me.  I thought that I would surely fall apart – that it would somehow be the last straw.   However, having undertaken the Grief Recovery Method® 2 years after the death of my husband, I now have a set of tools to deal with all loss in life, including pet loss.   This incredible programme allowed me to let go of all the pain, guilt and torment I felt over my husband’s death.  Such was the transformation to my life, I also trained as a Grief Recovery Specialist and now teach others the actions to recover from the pain of any type of loss.   

When the Grief Recovery Handbook for Pet Loss came out last year, it enabled me to prepare for the impending death of my dog.   I took as many actions as I could beforehand, including choosing the ending for my beloved dog.   This meant that I was able to arrange for the vet to come out to my home to euthanize my dog when the time was right.   The Pet Loss Handbook also encouraged me to think about what I wanted to do with her body afterwards.   I was certain that I wanted her cremated to put her ashes with my late husband’s.   I therefore located a pet cremation service that carries out single cremations

When the time came, I had the peaceful ending for Peggy that I had planned, which was very comforting to me.    I am now in the process of completing the final actions of the Grief Recovery Method on Peggy and I know this will allow me to let go of any remaining pain or guilt there may be, so that I can access the many fond memories I have of my special four legged friend.

So, Is It Possible To Cope With Pet Loss?  

I have found that with the correct actions I have taken, I can mourn the death of my dog, naturally and healthily.

You were a faithful companion Peggy.  I love you, I miss you, Goodbye.