The short answer to this is yes. This is a subject that is much more talked about in recent times and can attract some quite controversial views and opinions. This is usually due to the fact that not every person (believe it or not!) has had the experience of owning a dog, or any pet. So they can sometimes struggle to understand the bond that can be created, and in turn the impact of some pet grievances.

Grief is defined as intense sorrow, especially caused by someone’s death 

There are said to be the five stages of grief. It is widely acknowledged that it’s important that an individual who has suffered any loss, will typically experience these grieving stages in order to maintain a healthy emotional state. These stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression (but may occur in any order, or some may be missed out). Finally, we can reach a point of acceptance. 

The stage of denial psychologically helps us to minimise the pain of the loss. Whereas the stage of anger is often when the person is trying to adjust to their new reality; and whilst doing so, experiences extreme emotional discomfort. The bargaining stage is often where the person directs requests to something of bigger power that, in the person’s temporary emotional state, is thought to be able to influence a different outcome; this is often when we are feeling helpless and desperate. The depression stage is often when reality begins to set in and we are faced with what has happened; then finally the person is able to reach a place where they can accept what has happened. This is called the acceptance stage.

Everyone grieves in their own way and in their own time. 

In fact, it’s safe to say that no single person experiences the same loss, and that the pain of a loss is unique to that person. Even taking the example of two members of the same family, who have lost the same pet in the same set of circumstances. They can be impacted by their pet’s loss differently. This is why it is so important to be aware of how other people may be feeling. And to understand that even when another person is experiencing something that is ‘on paper’ the same as what you are experiencing, this can be completely different in a mental or emotional capacity for the other person.

Loss of a dog is a often a great shock

Even if it is somewhat expected (e.g. long term illness, old age etc.), the loss can still come as a real shock to a person. In the modern-day world, dogs and pets are becoming real members of the family. This often adds to the impact of the loss. Not only this, but having a dog as a pet is often a key part of our lifestyle. They become an integral part of our daily routines. This can quite often be a way of relieving stress. So, when this is taken away suddenly, it can be very difficult for individuals to deal with. This is due to the increased emotional stress, combined with their reduced outlet for stress.

Coping with loss

There are many different ways in which a person can cope with a loss. But sometimes a person may need a little extra help in doing so. If you are someone, or you know of someone who has recently suffered the loss of their dog, or any loss, and are struggling (or you would just like some help in how to cope) then it’s important to be aware of services that are able to help, such as pet bereavement services. These are usually free and confidential services. There are usually different ways of communication available, such as telephone, email, live chat, etc. 

If you do not have the means to research a pet bereavement service or you would prefer a more familiar alternative, then you can always contact your vets and they will also be able to help. The most important thing to remember is to never suffer in silence and to always reach out for help.

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