Losing a loved one is always hard—and that’s true whether your loved one is a human being or a four-legged friend. Saying goodbye to a cherished pet means going through a period of bereavement, and it’s only natural to feel overcome with grief for days, weeks, or even months.
Just like mourning the loss of a human being, there’s no wrong way to grieve the loss of your pet. With that said, it’s always important to find someone you can talk with, openly and honestly, about what you’re going through. Think about friends who have pets of their own, and who you can count on to understand something of what you’re going through.
Though it’s certainly not required that you have a memorial service for your pet, doing so can sometimes provide a sense of closure. Even if it’s just you and your family members gathering to say a few words in remembrance, it can be useful to you as you cope with grief.
You might also consider ways to honor and remember your pet, whether that means framing a photo or preserving some of your pet’s favorite toys in a "memory box.”
It’s okay if your grief keeps you away from some of your typical activities, at least temporarily-- but do make sure you’re staying healthy. Continue to eat three nutritious meals a day, get some exercise, and allow yourself some sleep each night.
More than anything else, remember that there’s no one method and no correct timeline for mourning. Be gracious with yourself and allow ample time to process your feelings of grief.