Saying Goodbye

Accepting the death of a pet is never easy. Here are suggestions for working through this difficult time as a pet owner.

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Accepting the death of a pet is never easy. Here are suggestions for working through this difficult time as a pet owner.

by Martha Stewart

Many people have trouble admitting that they’re grieving a pet. They’re often embarrassed or ashamed, especially when outsiders comment that it’s only a pet or that they can get another dog or cat. “There’s a stigma in society about losing a companion animal. It’s more accepted to mourn the loss of a person than a pet,” says Diane Pomerance, author and grief-recovery specialist. She asks people to remind themselves that they are in fact “mourning the loss of a family member.”

Getting through this difficult period starts by giving yourself permission to grieve. “Designate time every day to do this,” says Claire Chew Gillenson, a life-transition coach and petloss educator. Keep a journal. Talk to a counselor or friend who understands your loss.

If you had to put your animal to sleep, try not to fixate on your pet’s last moments. “If guilt surfaces, forgive yourself and remember that you did everything you could,” Gillenson says. Try to remember the good times: long games of fetch or evenings cozied up on the sofa.

If you have kids, especially if this is their first experience with death, talk openly with them. “Children are generally curious and want to know what’s happening,” says Mac Hafen, a clinical marriage and family therapist at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State, adding that it’s best to use terms such as death and dying rather than going to sleep, which could make children scared of going to bed at night. If they’re not asking questions, find out how they’re feeling. Try engaging them in play or artwork.

Taking time to honor your pet will also bring comfort and peace to you and your family. After Katie died, I sent a note to friends and family announcing her death and sharing stories from her therapy work. One of the hospitals where we volunteered held a memorial service for her, and I spent weeks creating a scrapbook of Katie’s life. All of these activities helped me say goodbye, but there are many ways — such as planting a tree, donating money, or holding a remembrance party — to memorialize your pet. The key is doing what feels right for you.

Images of your pet around your house allows for the grieving process to feel natural, you will feel less separation and can always look into your dogs eyes.

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10 Signs You Have a Dog Crush

Everyone one knows how much their dog loves them. It’s easy to see in their wag, smile and loving eyes.

So if your looking for the very best Valentine’s day, why not show your dog how much you love them and take them out for a beautiful walk and treat them to a lovey meal! It could be the best Valentine’s day ever!

You Might Have a Dog Crush if:

  1. You Gush: You gush about how your dog is cute, smart, cheeky and does all these things to make you smile. Congratulations, you have a dog crush!
  2. Photos: Your mobile, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are full of photos of your dog.
  3. You Get Excited: Just as much as your dog does when you greet each other at the door
  4. When you are away from your dog: You find yourself thinking about what your dog might be doing right now, and got a monitor and app to see how they are doing…you have a dog crush.
  5. Shopping!: When you find yourself shopping for clothes and thinking, “I wonder if I should pick up something nice for my pup,” you have a dog crush
  6. Favorite Night In: Great movie, sofa and a dog snuggled up next to you is the best night of the week.
  7. Bedtime:  You subconsciously move to the edge of the bed so that dog has enough room.
  8. Vacation Time: You start checking local trails, dog friendly beaches and hotels before booking your holiday.
  9. Gazing: You catch your self gazing at your dog while it snoozes in a cute and adorable position. ummm…..dog crush!
  10. Kisses!  :There is nothing better in your day that a snuggle and a kiss with your dog. It actually makes your day all that more rewarding.