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  • Alaina Reichwald, MA LMFT

Losing our Loyal Companion

Pet Loss is one of the most painful and tragic experiences for pet parents. The animals in our lives touch us deeply as they have often helped us navigate many different life experiences with tenderness and unconditional acceptance.


Many people struggle when their pet dies, as the culture doesn't necessarily support a long mourning period in the same manner in which it does when a human loved one dies. This can create significant challenges, as many pet parents feel the depth of pain and loss akin to the death of a cherished friend.


There are many ways for us to support our friends and loved ones in their grief:

  1. Approach this death in the same manner you would if it was a beloved family member. Allow for the same depth of grief to be expressed for a similar amount of time.

  2. Talk about your memories of their pet. Many times people will avoid talking about the pet for fear of making their friend think about their sadness. Let me assure you, they are already thinking about their beloved pet and will welcome the opportunity to share the memories and love.

  3. Do not expect this sadness to pass in a week. I have heard people say, "I should be over this already. It's been a week/ month/ 2 months already". Just like when a family member dies, the amount of time each person grieves is unique. I like to say the amount of grief equals the amount of love. Grief takes time.

  4. Finally, check in over and over again. It is not your job to find all the perfect words or resolve the pain your loved one is feeling. Instead, you can provide a safe space for expression of the pain, and there is nothing more valuable than this service. .

Holding loving space for someone grieving the loss of their beloved pet is one of the most kind and sacred ways we can show up for people in our lives. Those who receive this honoring and love will never forget it.


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