Coping with the loss of a pet

Champaign, Ill (WCIA) - Gail Wallis Hague specializes in grief counseling for individuals and families that have recently lost a pet. 
 
People who are grieving the loss of a pet do not always get the support they need from family and friends. The best thing that friends and family can do is to be supportive, be compassionate, and to just be there for their loved one.
 
However, the loss is real. There is an empty space in your home. You may feel angry or depressed and your grief may impact your health, relationships, and work.
 
People may grieve the loss not only of dogs and cats but also horses, fish, turtles, hamsters, birds, and many other species.
 
Don’t let anyone tell you what to feel, how much to feel, or how long to feel. It is over when you say it’s over.
 
Memorializing the pet may provide comfort: 
·       Burying the pet in the yard and planting a tree or shrub nearby. 
·       Pet cremation and keeping the ashes or scattering them in a meaningful location.
·       Making a donation in the pet’s memory 
·       Displaying photos of the pet around the home 
·       Doing something that helps the community, such as volunteering in a shelter or collecting food for a food bank.
 
Bringing a new pet into one’s home is a very personal decision. Only the grieving person knows when the time is right.
 
Counseling is also helpful for many people.
 

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