Pet Farewells

Caring Support for Coping with Pet Loss in New Zealand

Grieving for your pet

Grieving the loss of a pet is a natural response to losing someone who has shared part of our life.

It can be a heartbreaking experience that causes overwhelming sadness, physical pain, anger, depression, and stress.

Everyone handles grief differently, and there is no right or wrong way to respond to the emotions you’re experiencing.

Grieving for your pet

Common signs of grief:
  • Shock and disbelief
  • Sadness
  • Guilt
  • Anger
  • Fear
  • Physical symptoms like difficulty sleeping, physical pains like headaches and muscular pain, crying or a reluctance to cry, weight gain or loss.
Grief is not a temporary state of mind and may take weeks, months, or years to work through all of the emotions, but at some point, you’ll begin to feel better. Surround yourself with family and friends that understand the special bond you shared with your pet, reach out to others who have lost a pet and share stories, hold a memorial for your pet to say farewell and get closure, and look after yourself by facing your grief and actively dealing with it.

Grieving for a pet as a senior

The death of a beloved pet can be very traumatic for retired seniors. If you’re an older adult living alone, your pet was probably your sole companion and gave purpose and joy to your life. Try to find something to fill the time you would have typically spent with your pet, stay connected with your friends, and keep up your activity levels. If you regularly exercise to look after your pet, you should continue this activity or find another exercise regime you could enjoy.

Children grieving for pets

For many children, the loss of a pet may be their first death experience. It’s important to talk about their feelings and help them through their grief process. Some children feel angry or scared, while others may blame you for your pet’s death. It’s crucial to address these emotions and not shield children from the sadness of losing a pet by not talking about it, as this can leave them feeling more confused, frightened, and betrayed once they learn the truth.

Next steps for loved pets