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Dealing with Pet Loss

The loss of a four legged friend or feathered friend or even slithering friend often invokes a multitude of feelings. Guilt and sorrow seem to be the most common and often go hand in hand. But pet loss can invoke other feelings as well; feelings of loss, anger, and/or helplessness. Losing a pet usually leaves one with feelings of extreme sadness for long periods of time. So when a pet’s death occurs we often find ourselves wondering, “Did I do enough? Might I have done more? Did I put him/her down too soon? If only I had noticed my pet’s illness sooner. Why don’t I make more money because perhaps then I could have gone to the vet sooner or afforded the treatment he/she needed? If only….”

All of these feelings are a normal part of the grieving process. But too often when it is a pet we grieve for, it feels like no one understands. We might even think we should “get over it sooner”… Others may say, “It was just a dog… just a cat... (or horse, or bird, or rabbit, or snake) Why are you so sad?” Perhaps we ask ourselves the same thing. But our feelings are real; our loss is real and so too is our need to work through the grieving process. Remember, our furry and feathered friends are our family too. And it is normal if we occasionally worry about what we did or didn’t do. Losing a pet can in many ways be similar to losing a family member. We should remember that to some their pet may have been the only family they had. Perhaps you had to face the decision of euthanasia. Perhaps your pet simply passed of old age. Perhaps your pet passed after an extended illness. Losing a pet is never easy, regardless of the circumstance. Never.

But death happens and we cannot turn back the clock and change the outcome. When our pet passes we must begin the healing process by accepting that we did what we thought was right at the time, and made choices based on facts and feelings present to that moment. We acted with good intentions. We acted and chose treatments, or no treatments out of love. ­­We may have chosen to end our pet’s suffering; again, a choice made out of love.

At Cherished Ones our staff recognizes that your pets are your family. We understand your sorrow over their loss. We even understand the guilt. We’ve been there. We know. We care.

Our mission is to help people move from mourning the loss of a loved one to celebrating their life. And Pet Perennials grew from this desire to help folks deal with the loss of their pets. We recognize that regardless of religious beliefs, or lack of beliefs, we all share similar wishes: for one more walk in the park… one more ride through a pasture… one more sound of purring in our ear.

Pet Perennials was born from a simple concept: Love, seeds, life. Let us help you move through your grieving process by infusing the ashes of your beloved pet with a customized soil matrix and wildflower seeds in order to birth a living memorial garden. 

And at Cherished Ones we recognize that talking with folks is also part of your grieving process; part of your healing process too. Remember to take time to talk about your feelings with a trusted friend or family member. Or join our online community; we offer a place for you to share your feelings with others experiencing similar loss. Remember the good times. Share them. Visit our tribute page. Share why you felt your pet was so special. Post a picture. Come back as often as you like, but remember to share again when your Pet Perennials blossom by posting pictures of the wildflowers along the path you walked with your pet, in the garden you seeded in his/her memory.

Know there are places to turn to and if your grief becomes too much, reach out to a professional such as your veterinarian, or to a counselor. They are there to help you.      

The bottom line is that we all have loved our pets deeply, and that we share a capacity for love that many are not lucky enough to ever experience. We shared an incredible bond with our beloved pet, and loved and cared for them each and every day. We petted, talked to them, played catch and walked with them, rain or shine. And we fed them, often times sharing our own dinners. And (as I know firsthand) unpleasant or not, we changed litter boxes. We also played with them during the day then snuggled with them at night; and in contrast probably put in sleepless and difficult nights when they were little or sick or when they were dying. We cared.  We did everything we knew to do at the time. So believe what you saw in their eyes; they knew that we loved them, and without a doubt know that they loved us.

Remember… love them still… they are forever in your heart…

And as Shigenori Kameoka said, “Find the seed at the bottom of your heart and bring forth a flower.”

Pet Perennials.

Love, seeds, life.

~Lori