No more barking joyfully when the front door is unlocked, nobody wagging their tails around their legs and no more wet dog’s muzzle on their knees. The eyes fill with tears at the sight of the empty food bowl. Nobody should be ashamed of this – the death of a loved one can be very painful, as studies show. But there are many ways to come to terms with the death of your beloved dog.
Talking about the loss of the dog can help. To do this, you can reach out to family, friends, or other like-minded people who can understand your grief.
Self-help groups also offer an opportunity for exchange. Some veterinarians specialize in grief management that you can turn to when your dog has passed away.
Forums on the Internet offer the opportunity to talk to other dog lovers about the death of a dog. These people will understand and maybe even empathize with your grief. You will also be heard at counseling centers. The animal pastoral care team of Tier & Mensch Franziskushilfe eV, for example, has set up a helpline that you can contact at different times.
Animal cemeteries have not only proven to be a memorial, but also a place to meet other affected people and to exchange ideas with them.
Talking about the pain is important. © stock.adobe.com/Paolese
Not everyone you know will understand your grief for your dog. If you feel that your pain is not being taken seriously, you should turn to other people. You can cope better with losing your dog if you feel understood and accepted with your grief. Sentences like “That was just an animal” are not very helpful and nobody who has just lost a dog has to listen to them. After all, the dog was a family member, constant companion and part of a phase of life.
Give yourself time to deal with the situation. Because the loss of a beloved four-legged friend is always difficult and has to be processed with a lot of patience. Even if it will always be sad that your dog can no longer be by your side, over time the good memories and the gratitude that you could have had such a good time with the dog will remain.
Everyone deals with the death of a dog differently. © Ulia Koltyrina-stock.adobe.com
How long should it take to get a new dog after a loved one dies? There is no unequivocal answer to this question, because everyone deals differently with grief. While some take months or years to get involved with a new dog, others get a new one after a few days.
Both are fine. Getting a new dog back quickly doesn’t mean you’ll grieve less. In any case, consciously allow the grief and do not suppress it.
Many people even have a new animal to help them cope with grief. That’s perfectly fine too. It is only important that you regard the new dog as an individual animal and not as a replacement for the deceased. Because every dog is different and so the new dog will likely be very different from your old one. With your own preferences, traits and peculiarities – and that’s a good thing.
Typically, your gut feeling will tell you whether or not you are ready for a new dog. However, if you are not sure, here are some questions you can ask yourself:
Of course, it is also okay not to buy a new dog at all. But if you would still like animal companionship, you can consider whether another pet might suit you.