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How can I Cope with Grief for a Dog?

The death of a pet can be devastating. If you are trying to deal with grief for a dog, one of the most important things you can do is accept your feelings as they come and avoid telling yourself how you should feel. You may also deal with grief for a dog by talking with others who love animals or have even experienced the death of a well-loved pet. In time, your grief may give way to happy memories of life with your pet. Eventually, you may even feel ready to take in a new pet, not to replace your dog, but to start making new memories.

One of the most troubling parts of dealing with grief for a dog is the fact that others may not always seem understanding of your feelings. They may expect you to get over the death very quickly. If you viewed your dog as a member of your family, which many people do, you may feel intense grief after his death. The most important thing you can do is remember that it is okay and normal to feel sad, regretful, guilty or even angry over the death of your dog. Avoiding these natural feelings may only serve to prolong your grief.

Finding ways to express your grief may help you cope with the death of your dog. Some people cry a good deal, while others may need to deal with the stress by screaming or even finding an inanimate object on which to pound. You may also consider writing poetry about your dog or the feelings you are experiencing after his death. You might even find it healing to create a scrapbook using pictures of your dog and describing the times the two of you spent together.

You may also find it easier to cope with grief for a dog if you have someone to talk to about your feelings. Ideally, you may share your feelings with a person who has also lost a much-loved pet. Others may also be good listeners as you express your grief, however. Anyone who understands that a pet can be a member of one's family may be able to offer support.

Some people may suggest that you immediately take in a new dog as a way of dealing with your grief. In most cases, however, it is probably best to wait until you have dealt with your feelings. Once you can take in a new dog without feeling grief stricken, being resentful of the new dog, or attempting to make him behave exactly as your late dog did, you may be ready for a new pet.

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