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Pets 101

Loss Of A Pet 101

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The impending and actual loss of a pet triggers the same grief stages as the loss of friends and family members. 

Whether you are anticipating the loss of a pet, or it has already occurred, talk about it. Don't keep the emotions in. Talk with your family, friends and other pet lovers. You can find support online through at least the following sources:

  • A variety of sources listed at offsite link. Click on Pet Loss & Bereavement.
  • The Association For Pet Loss And Bereavement, offsite link. The association has pet bereavement counselors and support groups.
  • Your local ASPCA or other animal non-profit may be able to put you in touch with local people going through the same process or who can help.

If you are considering putting a pet down, the Association For Pet Loss And Bereavement has a discussion that is worth reading. See offsite link.

For a comprehensive list of pet cemeteries to find one near you, see offsite link.

NOTE: What to do with a pet's remains can be a difficult decision while grieving. It is better to think about what to do with his/her remains ahead of time. Alternatives to consider include:

What to do with the remains?  Since it can be difficult to choose upon death, best is to think about this ahead of time)

  • Compost your pet -- one company that provides this service (and will send send you back the compost with a seedlling to grow in your pet's memory) is offsite link
  • Cremation. One way to arrange cremation is through your veterinarian. 
  • Burial in nature - returns the animal to the wild, leaving your pet for nature. If you put your pet down, there must be a deep burial becauase sodium pentobarbital can hurt living animals.
  • Taxidermy - although many taxidermists won't do pets because of emotinal responses such as "the face doesn't look like him/her."
  • Artistic preservation - For example Bone Lust Studio offsite link offers several items made from pet remains

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