All Things Dog Blog
How to cope when your pet dies

I know you don’t even want to think about it. I surely don’t. But when a customer of ours mentioned that she was a grief counsellor for people who have lost their beloved pets, I thought we might be able to benefit from her experience. Here’s Vicky Nonas from By My Side.

The impact of losing a pet can be profound and the intensity of our thoughts and feelings can often take us by surprise.  Every person is unique, and so too is their experience of grief.  For example, you may feel:

  • – Teary
  • – Sick
  • – Unmotivated
  • – Numb
  • – Confused
  • – Empty
  • – Angry
  • – Overwhelmed
  • – Afraid
  • – Guilty

This is by no means an exhaustive list. 
As a grief counsellor who supports people through the loss of their beloved pets – whether that loss is yet to happen (anticipatory grief) or has already happened (a while ago or just recently), I am often asked questions such as “Am I going crazy?”.

It may very well feel like it, as every system in our body responds to the loss. However, the answer to that question is “No, you’re not going crazy”. It is normal to grieve. It helps us adjust to what has happened and find a “new normal” (maybe not just now, but in the future).

So, what can we do to look after ourselves during this tough time? 
Some things that can help you cope as you adjust to your “new normal” include:

  • – Exercise, even a gentle daily walk can help
  • – Eat well
  • – Sleep well
  • – Don’t expect too much of yourself – you are only human
  • – Take time out – to take a bath, draw, colour-in, spend time with loved ones, sing, dance, paint, write a journal
  • – Ask for help and support from trusted friends, colleagues, your GP or a counsellor
  • – Let your thoughts and feelings out if you can

By My Side Grief Counselling helps children and adults who need support to cope after the loss of a pet or following the diagnosis of a terminal illness.

We enable you to talk about your feelings in a safe space, whether it is face-to-face or via online support and help you to cope with your loss and honour the beloved memory of your pet. For more information visit

“Our pets are members of the family and even though their life span can be short, they faithfully accompany us on our journey, always by our side providing us with loving comfort, support, fun and opportunities to always learn.  They are quite literally an extension of ourselves; I know that is what I have found to be true. So when we experience the expected or unexpected loss of a pet it can have a significant impact upon different areas in our lives.”

Vicky Nonas, Prof. Counsellor, M.A.C.A, M.P.C.A.

Hoping your pet is in the best of health.  : )

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