Wednesday, April 29, 2009

6 Ways To Cope With Death Of A Pet

Any pet owner knows that one of the saddest things in life is the loss of a pet. I've been through this experience with birds, dogs and cats. We get attached to our pets and love them so much that they do become a very real member of our family. Even though they are not human, they do have personality and routines that we become accustomed to and miss when they are gone. Here are some things that I thought I'd share that have helped me when I faced this situation and maybe it will help someone else too. I certainly hope so.

1) Take pictures of them while they are alive. I enjoy seeing pictures of my pets. It stirs up happy memories for me and I like remembering them. It's important to put these pictures where you will see them. In fact, I chose a couple of the better pictures and had them blown up to poster size, framed them and hung them in my home. I did this while my pets were still alive (to show them how much I love them).

2) Take some video of them in action. Video is especially nice because it includes sound as well and when I watch a video of the first day we brought my first cat, Moe, home it's like reliving that fun day all over again.

3) Write about them. For me, the first thing I did after my cat died was to write a blog post about him. It helped me memorialize him and it was helpful to share my pain with others. There are actually websites dedicated to pet memorials. One I used that is free is: Memories of Our Pets. Here's a post I wrote about Moe: We Still Miss You Moe.

4) Get Another Pet. Give yourself a little time, but then get another pet. It won't be exactly the same as the one you lost, but there are many homeless animals in shelters waiting for a good home and now you have the opportunity to help another one. We waited 4 1/2 months before getting Manny after Moe died and I'm so happy we did. Manny is a great cat too and although we had a rough start, he is affectionate and has a great time playing with our other cat, Spunky Doodle. Spunky came in as a kitten and Moe was very angry about that at first, but they became friends after some time and Spunky missed him when he died. Spunky was happy when we brought in Manny and they quickly bonded.

5) Bury the pet close by. When our Dickie Bird and Moe died, we buried them in our backyard and every spring we plant flowers where we buried them, referring to the spots as Dickie Bird's garden" and "Moe's garden.." We also bought a grave marker for Moe from PetSmart for his garden. Sometimes this is not possible, but if it is, I suggest you do it.

6) Maybe you couldn't save your pet, but you can make donations to shelters or sanctuaries that will save others. I was devastated when three of my dad's cats, Sweet Thing, Sylvester and Softie, outlived my dad and I couldn't take them in for various reasons and had to have them euthanized. They were so important to him and I knew this was a huge concern for him that his cats would be taken care of if he died before they did. I felt like I let him down but two had feline aids so couldn't be with other cats and the other all black one was sickly and had claws so I couldn't bring it into my home with my declawed cats. I couldn't save these cats but by making a monthly donation to Caroline's Kids Pet Rescue, I am able to help save others. This is a cat sanctuary that takes in all types of cats including feral, those with feline aids, and elderly cats, in a home without confining them to cages. It's too bad I didn't know about this place before putting down my cats because they would have taken them.

What things have helped you cope with the loss of a pet?

Inspiration for this post came from reading the post about Mufasa at Cat Tales.

8 comments:

Skitto and Peanut said...

We both thank you fur such a wonderfur post!

Daisy said...

Those are some great ideas. When Pixie had to go to the Rainbow Bridge, we bought a real pretty urn for her ashes. And getting Harley from the shelter helped us feel better, too.

Mountain Woman said...

It's one of the most heartbreaking experiences to lose a beloved pet. Thanks Karen for all the great advice.

Mary said...

Those are really good ideas. I made a scrapbook page for them too.

Sandee said...

Excellent advice Karen. Thanks for sharing such a hard thing to have to deal with. I'm not looking forward to it at all.

Have a terrific day. :)

Karen & Gerard Zemek said...

Skitto & peanut--I'm glad you liked these suggestions.

Daisy--We are glad you got Harley too! Hope the medication helps you get back to normal quickly!

Mountain Woman--I know you have lots of pictures of your horses and dogs--great photo blog!

Mary--Thanks. A scrapbook page wouldn't be big enough for me, each pet would need its own book!

Sandee--No, it's certainly not something anyone looks forward to. It's just a part of life that we deal with when we have to the best we can.

Gina DeLorenzi said...

Hi Karen and Gerrard, I found your blog through the 31dayBBB forum for Asking Questions, day 16. I wanted to commend you for combing so many of the 31day tasks into one very effective blog post. If you are OK with it, I want to link to your site as part of a future post I am planning with my blog. In addition, I see you have a right sidebar item called Find More Blogs and Promote yours. This is the first time I have seen strategy and it is very effective. I'm going to check that out too.

Karen, author of "My Funny Dad, Harry" said...

Gina: Welcome to our blog and thanks for commenting! I am fine with you linking to my site--feel free anytime. I consider it a high compliment. I really should go to BlogShowOff more often but just isn't enough time to do everything I'd like, especially since we just got a dog!

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