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How To Cope With The Death Of A Pet

How To Cope With The Death Of A Pet

Months have passed, but I’m still grieving the passing of Chelsea. She was a German Shepherd who was not just a pet to me, but family. As I continue to mourn the loss of our beloved family pet, I have realized that there were steps that helped me get through her passing. Now, I want to remind you that every person grieves differently. Some of my methods may work for you, while others will fall flat. The important thing to remember is that the ones that can help you will help you.

1. I acknowledged that I was grieving. 

Psychology has established that once you accept you are grieving, you have minimized the problem by 50%. On the contrary, denying that you’re grieving doesn’t help at all. It has the opposite effect on the situation. Just because other people find it weird that you’re crying over the death of a pet doesn’t mean it’s not good for you.

Denial of the truth always warps your feelings and your balance. Refusing to admit that you lost in a competition is not healthy, either – not accepting that you did not win the hand of your lady love is detrimental to your sanity. And denial of the fact that your pet is dead is not good for you, as well.

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So go ahead, grieve. This has a cleansing effect on your overall makeup and it’s part of the process you have to go through.

2. I Got busy.

Go through number one, but go back to the same routines you did before the sad event happened. Busyness will allow you to focus on other things while grieving. This will lessen the impact of your loss, in some ways. In relation to this, I’m aware that there are many materials on psychology sites and books that teach the contradicting point that busyness, or any form of distraction, will help for a time, but won’t help you truly heal in the long run. However, my experience tells a different story. By being busy, I have put myself in a better position to cope with Chelsea’s passing.

So my suggestion is to get back to the groove as soon as you can manage it. If, like me, you write for a living, go back to writing once you gain the strength to do so. Dive into the daily activities you used to do. In case you remember your pet while working, acknowledge it. Don’t deny it, and give yourself a break for a few moments. Take note – your breaks should not be too long, but not too short, either. After the first few days of the incident, give yourself longer breaks, but as you go along the process, take shorter breaks. It worked for me. I hope it will for you, too.

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Chelsea and me_resized
    Me and Chelsea during her prime

    3. I Talked it out.

    Talk to people who can relate to your grieving. Friends who have experienced grieving the death of a pet will help a lot. In case you know someone who is going through the same situation like yours, at the same time, that would be great. Seek out that person, and spent time together even just for one hour every week. Talking it out with someone going through the same experience is beneficial for your condition. Support from people who understand during this time is an effective pain buffer.

    Another idea that you can do, if you’re up to it, is to organize a small group of pet owners. Meet with them every week and bond with them. I’m pretty sure some of them have experienced losing a dear dog companion. Or, if not, then simply talking with them will help to ease the pain. It would be wise because, like you, they are pet parents. You can chat with them about your sad experience. Experts say that speaking to others who understand losing a pet can provide support to people like you who are mourning.

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    4. I memorialized Chelsea.

    Dr. Amir Shanan, DVM, and owner of Compassionate Veterinary Hospice, recommends gathering family and friends to reminisce the good times you’ve had with your pet. Based on this idea, here’s a personal recommendation – write a letter to your pet. I know, that sounds a little strange and hard if you’re not used to expressing your emotions in writing, but this may help clarify your grief and sadness of losing your beloved pet. A well produced video, a framed photo, or an album of the pet’s photos can help remind a pet parent of their dog companion.

    A different way to memorialize that some people do is to keep their pet’s ashes and bury them in their pet’s favorite spot. What my wife and I did was different. We made a photo album of Chelsea. When we miss her, we bring out the album and talk about her incessantly. If we feel like crying, we just let go, and we cry together.

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    chelsea and tony_lifehack
      A three month old Chelsea, posing with me

      5. I spend significant time with another pet (Do this when you are ready). 

      I have a big advantage over other people who have lost a pet. My Chelsea has a daughter named Reigne and she lives with us. When Chelsea passed away, I made sure Reigne was getting the best of care. Since I got so busy with my freelance writing business during Chesea’s last months with us, I’m partly blaming myself for her death. But this is an entirely normal reaction of people who are grieving. The thing is – the presence of a pet who is a direct descendant of the one who passed away made things easier for me. The thought that Reigne has Chelsea’s blood somehow comforts me.

      I made a point to give the utmost care Reigne needed. I made sure her meals were given on time, consistently. I religiously go to the vet for her regular check up. Her vet check her for ticks, unusual developments, and anything else I can keep on top of to make her even healthier.

      6. I talk to her even today.

      I know this is a bit weird, but it’s one of my coping mechanisms. Every time I pass by her house and favorite spot – yes, her doghouse is still there – I say “Hello, Chelsea!” Call me crazy, but I still do this even now. It’s been 10 months, but this little gesture helps me cope with her absence. In fact, I just talked with my wife minutes ago, and I told her, when I will finally get another dog companion, I will take home another German Shepherd.

      With my wonderful experiences with Chelsea, I have developed a biased preference for the sweet loyalty of German Shepherds. Chelsea was extra loyal, friendly to the highest degree, and astonishingly intelligent. Call me sentimental if you must, but when I will finally bring home that new dog friend, I think I will name her Chelsea again.

      Featured photo credit: Nikkors n Chips/Photo Credit: Nikkors n Chips via Compfight cc via compfight.com

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      Anthony Dejolde

      Freelance Writer/Blogger/Copywriter

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      Last Updated on October 18, 2018

      50+ Best Motivational Quotes To Prepare You For Any Challenges In Life

      50+ Best Motivational Quotes To Prepare You For Any Challenges In Life

      Life is filled with highs and lows —happiness and struggles that will test your resilience and integrity, push you to overcome challenges and leave you with lessons that will make you even stronger on your way up.

      It’s the way you feel and think about yourself, including your expectations and beliefs about what is possible to you, greatly determines everything that happens to you.

      It all starts with your thoughts. When you change your thoughts, you transform the quality of your life. (Right, Nancy’s story is a typical example!)

      Below is a list of the best motivational quotes to inspire you to start your day with a blast:

      Quotes for self-assurance

      1. Don’t downgrade your dream just to fit your reality, upgrade your conviction to match your destiny.

        2. You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.

          3. You are confined only by the walls you build yourself.

            4. The man who has confidence in himself gains the confidence of others

              5. You attract what you are, not what you want. If you want great, then be great.

                6. It’s not who you are that holds you behind, it’s who you think your are not.

                  Quotes about positivity

                  7. Stop being afraid of what could go wrong and think of what could go right.

                    8. You should never regret anything in life. If it’s good, it’s wonderful. If it’s bad, it is experience.

                      9. Falling down is an accident, staying down is a choice.

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                        10. If you have the power to make someone happy, do it. The world needs more of that.

                          11. Always believe that something wonderful is about to happen.

                            12. Don’t be afraid to give up the good and go for great.

                              13. Remember that life’s greatest lessons are usually learned from worst times and from the worst mistakes.

                                Quotes for work and success

                                14. Don’t talk, just act. Don’t say, just show. Don’t promise, just prove.

                                  15. Never stop doing great just because someone doesn’t give you credit.

                                    16. Discipline is doing what needs to be done, even if you don’t want to.

                                      17. Work while they sleep. Learn while they party. Save while they spend. Live like they dream.

                                        18. The key to success is to focus our conscious mind on things we desire, not things we fear.

                                          19. Never apologize for having high standards, people who really want to be in your life will rise to meet them.

                                            20. If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.

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                                              21. Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it, time will pass anyway.

                                                22. Don’t fear failure. Fear being in the exact same place next year as you are today.

                                                  23. A hill is just another opportunity to leave your competition behind.

                                                    24. Don’t quit. You’re already in pain. You’re already hurt. Get a reward from it.

                                                      25. Hustle until you no longer need to introduce yourself.

                                                        26. You didn’t come this far only to come this far.

                                                          27. Be selective in your battles for sometimes peace is better than being right.

                                                            28 If we keep doing what we are doing, we’re going to keep getting what we’re getting.

                                                              29. You will never know your limits until you push yourself to them.

                                                                30. Do what you have to do until you can do what you want to do.

                                                                  31. The man on top of the mountain didn’t fall there.

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                                                                    32. If your dreams don’t scare you, they are not big enough.

                                                                      33. If you can’t handle stress, you won’t manage success.

                                                                        34. Don’t be pushed by your problems, be led by your dreams.

                                                                          35. Don’t mistake silence for weakness. Smart people don’t plan big moves out loud.

                                                                            36. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

                                                                              37. Obsessed is the word the lazy use to describe dedicated.

                                                                                38. You become who you spend your time with.

                                                                                  39. Be stubborn about your goals and flexible about your methods.

                                                                                    40. Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.

                                                                                      41. If you don’t build your dreams, someone else will hire you to build theirs.

                                                                                        42. Between stimulus and response is our greatest power –the freedom to choose.

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                                                                                          43. What comes easy won’t last, what lasts won’t come easy.

                                                                                            44. Don’t limit your challenges, challenge your limits.

                                                                                              45. Work until your idols become your rivals.

                                                                                                Quotes about money

                                                                                                46. Formal education will make you a living. Self-education will make you a fortune.

                                                                                                  47. I create new enemies every day, it’s called business.

                                                                                                    48. When you have a Million Dollar vision, don’t surround yourself with 1 cent minds.

                                                                                                      49. You can’t get rich thinking poor.

                                                                                                        50. Doing what is comfortable is rarely profitable.

                                                                                                          51. If you can count your money, work harder.

                                                                                                            If you find yourself feeling lost and frustrated, it’s never too late to change things up. Check out this guide:

                                                                                                            How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

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