Hi, my name is Emilee, head of customer service. For the last 8 years I had been employed as a veterinarian technician and customer service representative. I love my job and helping pets, but sometimes I also play the role of “counselor” when a pet parent has to deal with the death of a pet. I have been a hand to hold, a shoulder to cry on, and have held many paws for comfort when pet owners are unable to be present during difficult times. Based on this experience here are some of my tips for helping the loss of a pet parent along with helping dogs that are within the household that are also grieving.
Dogs are a huge part of the family who are loved tremendously. Most of us view our dogs as one of our children, just with four legs. Some people express their deepest emotions to their dogs, feeling the unconditional love and non judgement dogs provide. They tend to be our best friend and companion during our happiest and hardest times.
It can be scary, stressful and painful to lose our four-legged family members. As a pet parent it can be heart wrenching losing such a compassionate companion. The emotions attached to grieving the loss is normal, but society's treatment of the grieving process is not normal; losing your dog is often treated as a discounted loss or as disenfranchised grief. Here are some simple steps to help the grieving process.
1. Set aside time to grieve in your own way. Consider taking time off work, relax and reflect on all the good memories
2. Memorialize your pet. A thoughtful way to give a living tribute is to plant a tree or flowers.
3. Allow yourself to seek fresh air. Getting outdoors can help calm the body, help blood pressure, heart rate, immune system and digestion. A healthy you helps mend your body.
Dogs can grieve when losing a housemate
Dogs who are in the household experience a grieving process as well. Our four-legged companions not only develop a relationship with us, but also their housemates most of the time. We must keep this in mind when also grieving. Just like people, a dog's grieving process is different for every dog. The following can be signs your dog is grieving.
- Lethargy, lack of appetite
- Withdrawn from people or other animals
- Searching for their companion
- Unusual behavior or destructive behavior
- Inappropriate elimination within the home
- More vocal or clingy to the pet parent
Dogs thrive on routines. Create a routine for them to give comfort as they grieve too. For instance take your other dogs that are still in the household for routine walks, have meals served at a certain time every day, and set aside time for some extra snuggles.
I hope this is helpful – please reach out if you are needing more support, my team and I are here to help. Call 24/7 866-696-1397, live chat on our website 7 days a week, email firstname.lastname@example.org to reach us.