The bond between animals and humans is so strong that when our pet dies or is lost, we feel very intense emotions of grief. This is a natural reaction to losing something dear to you, but sometimes other people don't understand how significant the loss of a pet is to the owner. It can be hard to find support when you are grieving for a pet, and this book has been written to provide you with both the emotional and practical support that you need at such a difficult time.
Losing a pet can lead to feelings of despair, loneliness, even guilt, especially if you have had to take the very difficult decision of having your pet put to sleep (euthanasia). The emotions associated with grief can be very difficult to come to terms with and, if you also have children, you will be helping them through a time that can be sad and confusing, as well as working through your own grief.
Life can seem very empty without your pet. Some people spend lots of time in the company of their pets, stroking them, talking to them, exercising and feeding them and simply being in their company. The loss of such a close and familiar companion means that your day-to-day life suddenly changes, and this readjustment naturally takes time. Lots of us love our pets so much they are real family members, not "just an animal", so when we lose them, we grieve strongly.
People who have never owned a pet, or who have owned one but never formed a bond with them, can find it hard to understand the sadness and emptiness that you feel. "It was only a dog/cat/rabbit - get over it" they might think or say, as if the fact that your pet was not human means that you are not allowed to feel so dreadfully unhappy about their passing. You should never be embarrassed about grieving properly for your lost pet - your feelings are real and you need to experience them.
It may not feel like it right now, but you will one day be able to think of your pet without feeling this loss so deeply and painfully as with the loss of a close relative. It may not feel it at the time, but as time passes, although you will never forget them and what they meant to you, you will be able to remember the things they did and the memories you shared with a smile again.
"Your place I'll hold, you will be missed,
The fur I stroked, the nose I kissed.
And as you journey to your final rest,
Take with you this...I loved you best." Jim Willis