Dealing with the loss of a pet through the holidays

Pets are family, and dealing with the loss of a family member is incredibly heartbreaking.

For many, the holidays are a time for family, friends and celebration. And losing a beloved pet through such a festive season can be intensely painful.

People grieve and cope with loss in their own individual way. Our friends at Lifeline recommend the following:

 Allow yourself to grieve

Create time and space to experience the range of emotions that come following the loss of a loved one. It is important to be able to identify and acknowledge the emotions you are experiencing. You may find it helpful to write down what you are thinking and feeling or talk to someone you trust about your experience. There is no right or wrong, simply your own experience. You may find it helpful to talk with a close friend or family member about your experience. Someone you can trust and rely on to listen to you.

Take care of yourself

Eat well, hydrate, exercise and get plenty of sleep. Try to maintain normal routines wherever possible. Initially you may consider taking time out from work and study commitments to lessen the stress on you at this time. Do not place unrealistic expectations on yourself and avoid making big decisions.

Accept help from others

Let family and friends know what they can do to help Consider talking to a health professional or joining a support group to share your experience and from listening to the experience of others in a similar situation.

Avoid negative coping strategies and avoidance techniques

You may find in the short-term that it is easier to abuse substances such as alcohol and drugs as the experience of intense pain and sadness is reduced temporarily. However, these avoidance strategies only delay the grieving process and have a negative impact on our emotional and physical well-being. Identify other healthy coping strategies such as exercise or meditation to bring some relief.

Prepare for stressful events

Birthdays and other special occasions or certain places may elicit a strong emotional response. Be aware of this and identify what you can do to cope. Plan an activity or engage in a ritual at this time to remember and acknowledge the loss. Allow yourself to celebrate the happy memories you have of the deceased.

If you need help, or are struggling call:

  • Contact Lifeline: 13 11 14 (available 24/7) or online via our Crisis Support Chat (available nightly at www. lifeline.org.au)
  • Mensline Australia: 1300 78 99 78 (24hrs)
  • Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800
  • Beyondblue: 1300 22 46 36

We're here to help you say goodbye and give your pet the final farewell that they deserve.

We can help you honour your pet with a dignified farewell and beautiful memorial. Click here to see memorial options or call us on 8348 1300.