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Pet Loss


Saying Goodbye to a Pet

What a wonderful responsibility we take on when we bring a pet into our home. There they will be cherished and loved. We trust them with our hearts and they listen to all we have to say. We share our secrets, dreams and fears. Our pets see us through marriages, birth of children, divorces, loss of loved ones. They are the best friends we have for accepting us as we are.

But as we know our treasured pets have a much shorter life span than we do. Saying good-bye is never easy, but knowing what to expect and realizing that you are not alone can make the grieving process a lot easier.

There are typically five stages of mourning that most people pass through, although everyone experiences them at different intensity levels, for varying lengths of time, and not always in the same order. Generally, the stages are:

  1. Shock/ Disbelief/ Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance/resolution/recovery

No one is able to able to tell you your time for grieving. In a busy and demanding world like ours, it is okay to take time to understand your feelings and to sort through them. Remember that you are normal.

It is also important to realize that if your have other pets in the household they too may go through a period of grieving. This process may have begun with your dog when his canine companion became ill and perhaps was hospitalized. Signs may include sadness, depression, searching the house, reduced appetite, or other unusual behaviors. Like yourself, be patient and understanding with your pets.

There are many sources that are available to assist in the loss of a pet. Listed below are some examples. However, if anytime the grieving process becomes to overwhelming you may want to seek professional help.



  • “Coping with the Loss of Your Pet”
  • “Final Act of Caring: Ending the Life of an Animal Friend”
  • “Goodbye My Friend”

These books are part of the American Animal Hospital Association’s Bookstore. If you are interested in obtaining one of these books please speak to your veterinarian.


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