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How To Cope With The Loss Of A Pet

A girl resting on a dog

As anybody who has lost a pet knows, losing a pet is losing a member of the family. It’s a traumatic experience for those of all ages. Our pets enhance our lives and losing that is a shock to our daily routine.

Before our dog passed he was a major part of our family. We planned our trips with him in mind, laughed at the goofy things that he did, and we looked forward to our morning walks together.

It’s normal to feel grief after the loss of your pet. But it doesn’t have to be forever. Similar to how celebrations of life are becoming popular in the human world, a pet’s life can be celebrated. With the help of technology - and apps like Lalo - we can savor great moments forever. Pictures of trips to the lake and videos of the kids playing with them will never go away and can be looked back on with a smile. The time we took the perfectly timed picture of him smiling at the leash coming out for a walk can bring the same smile to our faces as the day we took it.

How to deal with the loss of a pet?

Everybody has their own grieving process. My wife is very quiet when she’s grieving. She likes her space and works through the process on her own. On the other hand, I like to talk about it. I want to get everything I’m feeling out on the table so I can deal with it. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. Everybody has their own process.

Coping with grief coming from losing a pet is an incredibly personal experience. But one thing is always true, you don’t need to go through it alone. Everybody needs help sometimes. Everybody.

There are a number of places to reach out to help with your mental health:

  • Family and friends
  • Professional counseling
  • Online support groups
  • In-person support groups

There are other ways to help with the loss of a pet as well. I know my wife and I found a number of things that helped with the loss of our dog a few years ago.

Having a journal to get your thoughts out really helped me. It helps anytime I’m going through a rough time in life actually. Whatever comes to mind, just put it down in your journal. It is a very soothing experience to get every happy, angry, and sad memory out so you can really flush out all the thoughts running through your mind. If that sounds like something that would help you - please see our in-depth post on journaling for grief .

Keeping a memory of our dog helped us a lot with the passing. We have a great Christmas ornament of a pomeranian holding a string of Christmas lights with his name on it. Preparing a memorial for your pet can help to bring closure as you try to cope with the loss of your pet.

Healing is a long-term process and everybody will go through their own process. Because losing a pet is losing a family member, I’d also suggest you read our post on ways to being the healing process from the loss of a loved one.

How to memorialize a pet?

Memorializing a pet with a pet memorial is a fantastic way to keep your pet in mind forever. Once the grief has passed, remembering all of the great times you and your family had with your pet are fantastic memories to have.

You can also have some of the items made as pet loss gifts for your family or others who were close to the pet. This can be a wonderful gesture and a way to all help each other with the loss of a family pet.

So let’s talk about some of the options you have for pet memorials:

Make a photo book

Thankfully, technology today makes creating a photo book from existing pictures on your computer or phone a breeze. There are a number of services out there, including big retailers like Costco and Walmart which have photo book creation services. We’ve used Costco for all of our photo books and the quality has always been great.

A personalized decoration featuring your pet

There are virtually endless options for decorations featuring your pet. Etsy in particular has a large number of options including:

  • Ornaments
  • Keychains
  • Watercolor pictures
  • Engraved pet memorial stones
  • Planters

There are some really fantastic personalized memorials out there. I quite like the idea of a small customized desktop planter but there are virtually endless options. If you don’t see anything you like on Etsy, then Amazon also has a number of options including picture frames with a space for the collar which is a unique piece to put up in your home.

You can integrate a pet loss quote with your memorial as well. I find something comforting about hearing a lovely quote to spark a favorite memory of my dog.

Write an obituary

The loss of a pet is difficult and having an obituary to pull out and read again can be a great comfort. Your obituary can include personal stories with unique things about your pet.

  • Their favorite place to go for a walk
  • Their favorite toy
  • Favorite place you went to together
  • Funny moments you remember
  • Their favorite people
  • Other furry friends

As you work through writing the obituary there you’ll remember many of your favorite things about your pet. Many of them will bring a smile to your face. Having all your favorite memories and unique things about your pet in one place makes for a great reminder to pull out from time to time.

You can also share the obituary with others your pet may have been close to or even collaborate with others in your family to make a piece that the whole family can read to remember fondly of your pet.

How to talk to children about pet loss?

The loss of a pet is extremely difficult for those of any age. But for children, the loss of a pet is often their first experience with grief and death. For a child, the loss of a pet is a confusing time as it can be difficult to comprehend what has happened and why.

Avoid metaphors when explaining the loss of your pet. Your kids will take many of these metaphors or euphemisms at face value. Saying your dog has gone to sleep or gone to the farm may lead to your child being afraid to go to sleep or that they will have to go to the farm too.

Using absolute terms and being direct is actually the better way to approach the loss of a pet with your child. Death is a scary word for parents to use. I know when I’ve had to use it with my kids it feels weird to say it out loud.

Keep in mind - as we talked about above - your child’s grief process will be different than yours. And that’s okay. Your older children may take more comfort in talking with their peers, they may be quiet, or they may have lots of questions. All of them are okay and you just need to be there for them to support their grieving process.

Including your children in preparing a pet memorial or giving them a gift for the pet loss can help them with the healing process. Just like adults, it may also help your kids to say goodbye so they can have closure as well.

How can I use Lalo to memorialize a pet?

Luckily we have created a great solution for memorializing your pet. And the best part, is you don’t have to just keep it to yourself.

Here at Lalo, we have created an app that enables you to memorialize your pet forever. Scrapbook photos fade and storage boxes get lost. But with Lalo, your memories are all held in a single place to be looked back on forever.

You can upload photos, videos, and voice notes that allow you to see and hear your beloved pet. And the best part, with an app none of these can be lost - and they’ll never fade.

Then you can share all of these things with your family and anybody else who was close to your pet. Lalo has been designed to be so easy to use that even my mom was able to access all the great memories of our dog with ease. Lalo is a private space as well so only the people you want to have access to it will see your memories which makes it a great way to memorialize your pet.

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