How to cope with the loss of a pet

We understand that the loss of a pet can be a heart-wrenching experience. Pets aren't just our companions but are also valued members of our family who share our homes and our hearts. As they walk alongside us through life's journey, their loss can leave a void that is hard to fill. It can be a hard time to navigate, so we have put together some tips to help guide you through this challenging period, offering aroha and practical advice to help navigate your journey of grief. Whether your beloved pet was a playful kurī or a wise old ngeru, their memory deserves to be honoured.

Extending a helping paw: Emotional support options

Finding comfort in others: Support groups and counselling

Grief can be an isolating experience, but remember, you're not alone. Reach out to your community, be it family, friends, or online support groups, where others share similar experiences. Surrounding yourself with empathy can be comforting and healing. It’s okay to express your sadness and recount the memories of your pet; it helps in processing the loss.

Remembering their legacy: Suggestions for pet memorials

Remembering your pet's memory can also serve as a source of solace. Celebrate the joy, love, and companionship they brought into your life. This can be done in a myriad of ways; here are some ideas that you may want to consider:

  • Commission a custom portrait or artwork of your pet.
  • Create a scrapbook with pictures, toys, and other memorable items.
  • Dedicate a star in the sky to them through star-naming services.
  • Create a personalised piece of jewellery or keychain featuring their name or pawprint.
  • Host a memorial service with loved ones who also cherished your pet.
  • Donate to an animal shelter or charity in your pet's name.

Tributes are a great way to honour your pet. This could come in many forms such as planting a tree, creating a piece of art, or setting up a small memorial in your home. These gestures can provide a physical representation of your pet's impact on your life, serving as reminders of their love and friendship.

Leaving a lasting tribute: Planting a memorial garden or tree

Creating a memorial garden or tree for your beloved pet is a therapeutic act that allows you to express grief, remember your pet, and contribute positively to the environment. It is a living tribute, growing and changing just as your pet did. 

Gardening can provide a healthy outlet for grief. It involves nurturing and patience, mirroring the care you gave to your pet. Over time, thriving plants or trees symbolise healing and growth after loss.

From the experts: Advice from SPCA on coping with pet loss

Here at SPCA Pet Insurance, we understand the deep bond between humans and their furry companions. Whether it's coping with the overwhelming sense of loss or finding ways to honour and remember cherished memories, remember you’re not alone and that this healing process can take time. Here are some key things to keep in mind:

  • Allow yourself time to grieve. Don't feel like you have to be stoic; it's okay to express your emotions in whatever way feels most natural for you.
  • Grief isn’t linear. There is no “normal” timeframe to heal from the loss of a pet, be kind to yourself as you take this journey. Grief takes time.
  • Seek professional counselling if needed. Grief over the loss of a beloved pet can be overwhelming, and a qualified therapist can help you process your emotions.
  • Involve your tamariki. Grief can be especially confronting for our kids so guiding them through these emotions is important.

Grieving over the loss of a pet

Pet loss isn’t always through the death of an animal. You may be separated from your pet due to a relationship breakdown or relocation. This feeling of loss can be just as strong and just as justified.

While dealing with the loss of a pet is a tough journey, ensuring the health and well-being of your existing or future pets could be made easier with SPCA Pet Insurance. It could help cover unexpected vet costs and ensures that your pet receives the best care without financial stress.