My beloved pet friend, CHINOOK the FERRET. It has been 5 months and 1 day since his passing and the sting of his death is fresh in my heart and soul. Gut wretching grief that consumes me on a daily basis but I put on a happy face for all to see as this is what is expected from me.
Given the intensive bond most of us share with our animals, it’s natural to feel devastated by feelings of grief and sadness when a pet dies; God only knows I have and I am still feeling the pain of Chinook and his friend Nikomi 3 years prior. While some people may not understand the depth of feelings you had for your pet, you should never feel guilty or ashamed about grieving for an animal friend. This is something I struggle with my family and circle of friends and sometimes you have to get your own support system even if it is just you and yourself.
For many people a pet is not “just a dog” or “just a cat or a ferret.” He or she is a beloved member of the family and, when they die, you feel a significant, even traumatic loss. The level of grief depends on factors such as your age and personality, the age of your pet, and the circumstances of their death. Generally, the more significant the loss, the more intense the grief you’ll feel. For myself, Chinook was one of my furkids, an expression my mother cannot stand but it is true. Every waking moment when not working or cleaning the house or running errands, my time was with Chinook. I would get up at 4am just to give him play time in the morning before I went to work at 8am. I built my life around this beloved creature and now he is gone and that void is overwhelming.
Everyone grieves differently
Grieving is a personal and highly individual experience. Some people find grief comes in stages, where they experience different feelings such as denial, anger, guilt, depression, and eventually acceptance and resolution. Others find that grief is more cyclical, coming in waves, or a series of highs and lows. The lows are likely to be deeper and longer at the beginning and then gradually become shorter and less intense as time goes by. Still, even years after a loss, a sight, a sound, or a special anniversary can spark memories that trigger a strong sense of grief case.
Feeling sad, frightened, or lonely is a normal reaction to the loss of a beloved pet. Exhibiting these feelings doesn’t mean you are weak, so you shouldn’t feel ashamed.
Trying to ignore your pain or keep it from surfacing will only make it worse in the long run. For real healing, it is necessary to face your grief and actively deal with it. By expressing your grief, you’ll likely need less time to heal than if you withhold or “bottle up” your feelings. Write about your feelings and talk with others about them. This is one of the reasons why I am writing this article. Logically. I know what I am going through but emotionally I am unable to forget Chinook and this is one of the reasons I am writing about grief and about a wonderful animal that had a brief existence on this planet and he made a difference in my life. His life was vaulable and I am validating his memory in this blog.
Dealing with the loss of a pet when others devalue your loss is hard. I find it does not pay to agrue your point but toi avoid the discussion all together.
One aspect that can make grieving for the loss of a pet so difficult is that pet loss is not appreciated by everyone. Friends and family may ask “What’s the big deal? It’s just a pet!” Some people assume that pet loss shouldn’t hurt as much as human loss, or that it is somehow inappropriate to grieve for an animal. They may not understand because they don’t have a pet of their own, or because they are unable to appreciate the companionship and love that a pet can provide.
I must repeat, please don’t argue with others about whether your grief is appropriate or not.
Accept the fact that the best support for your grief may come from outside your usual circle of friends and family members and sometimes like I was saying earlier, you may be your own support system. Personally, I recommend contacting the local Hospice Center in your city to see if there is an Pet Loss Support Group. You will find yourself pleasantly surprise there may be a support group near you.
Try to find new meaning and joy in life. I am trying to rediscover myself before Chinook and to be frank, this is a challenge, a challenge for all who has endure the loss of an animal companion or human companion. My advice, God Speed and best wishes to you, myself, and others are faced with the same circle of life changes. This article is dedicated to my best friend on 4 legs..
CHINOOK THE FERRET.