Thursday, July 10, 2014

Pet Grief

Occasionally, I find letters in my inbox from someone who has read one of my articles. Today was such a day.
Hello Tracy,
We just lost our dog today in an untimely death/accident. I blame myself, and I feel sick, sad, weak, and I’ve been crying most all of today! It hurts so much when you lose a pet. The pain of loss is so unbearable and never-ending. It will always be with me forever and ever. Do you have any grief briefs concerning pet loss that I could read? I will check your blog, thanks for your help.
Kelly from Alaska
Dear Kelly,
I am so sorry to hear of your pet's death. I have pets myself, and just can't bear to think of the day that they will die. Although I do not know the circumstances of your pet's passing, I wanted to let you know that it is natural to blame yourself when accidents occur. As your pet's custodian, you naturally feel responsible when tragedy occurs. Accidents, however, are called accidents for a very specific reason...they are accidental. Even when accidents are caused through carelessness, they are still accidental. Although one may feel a measure of responsibility in the circumstances; unless one purposefully causes the death of a beloved pet, an accident remains an accident.
I know this does not take the pain away. I have pets that have passed away, and at times, I will think of things I might have done better, that may have prolonged their lives. Unfortunately, there are no do-overs. I have to realize that I have learned to do better, and in my stewardship over my current pets, I will be more alert and proactive.
I am sorry for your loss and know that you will suffer and mull over in your mind the things you wish you had done differently. When this happens, remember the good things you did and the joy you shared with your pet. Eventually, fond memories will override the pain, and you will realize that you are a better person because of the love you shared with your pet, and the lessons you have learned through them.
I do not have pet specific articles because I specialize in human loss. Loss, however, stretches over all life. Grief is the same whether you have lost a pet or person. The depth of grief is based on the depth of love. I know your heart is full of love and very sad right now. I hope you will mend without complications.
Take care and feel free to write me again if you would like.
My name is Tracy Renee Lee. I am a funeral director, author and freelance writer. I write books, weekly articles and brief tips on understanding and coping with grief. It is my life's work to comfort the bereaved and help them live on.
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