A Beloved Friend: Pets give us companionship and unconditional love, and our relationships with them are very special.

For many of us, our companion animal is a member of the family, and when the bond between us is broken, the resulting sense of loss and grief is as real, and sometimes as overwhelming, as when we lose a human friend or relative.

Whether an animal dies, is lost or stolen, or must be placed in a new home, the experience can cause great anguish.

Sorrow is a normal and natural reaction to the loss of a beloved friend. Yet, our culture does not provide us with the rituals to help us mourn the loss of a companion animal, as it does with the loss of a human. Even your best friends and relatives may not acknowledge or understand the depth of feeling you have for a lost pet.

The First Step: The first step in coping with your grief is to acknowledge your feelings. Grieving the loss of a friend or companion is a sign of the love that existed between you, and the only way out of grief is to go through it.

The Stages of Grief: Understanding the grieving process may help you cope with your feelings and assist others who are grieving.

Typically, the grieving process consists of the following stages:

Grief is very personal and we move through these stages in our own way and time. The longevity of your grief depends on many things, including the length of the relationship, the role the pet played in your life, whether the loss was preventable, other stresses you are facing, and the amount of support you receive from the people around you.

The Four Tasks of Mourning:

Children And Pet Loss: Children should be told the truth about the death or loss of a pet in language appropriate to their age. Even though it may be hard for you, children need to know it is okay to talk about their lost pet or ask questions so that they, too, may progress through their own period of grieving.

Ways to Ease Your Pain:

Support For Your Loss: The Animal Humane Society of Hennepin County offers a Pet Loss Support Group for people who have lost a companion animal or who are anticipating such a loss.

The group is led by a trained facilitator and meets on Wednesday nights from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Come once or as often as you need to. Call (612)522-6009 if you have questions or want further information.

Are You....

If so, you are encouraged to discuss and begin to resolve these problems in the supportive environment of the Animal Humane Society's Pet Loss Support Group.


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