We have all seen some heartwrenching photos and videos of pets in grief and disbelief after the death of their owner. They may wait patiently at the door hour after hour, waiting for the owner to return. They may sit attentively “on guard” at the foot of a casket or gravestone, protecting an owner who can no longer protect themselves. We’ve seen them with profound sadness in their eyes, and moaning under the weight of the loss.
Pets have a special place in the hearts of their owners, and it is apparent the reversal is true. Some pets seem to be emotionally devastated by the loss of an owner. Like grieving humans, they may become listless, stop eating and display uncharacteristic behavior.
Is there something we can do for them? How can and should we react? Here are three things we can do for a grieving pet upon the passing of an owner.
1. They Should Be Rehomed to a Familiar Face
Of course, if possible, the pet should stay in the home with the surviving family members. If that isn’t an option, hopefully, a friend or family member who is familiar with the pet will step in. A friendly face, some caring hugs, and a caring new owner can go a long way in helping the pet heal. A familiar blanket, bed, and toys can also help.
3. Try to Maintain Consistency
We all nee
d some consistency in our lives. So do pets. Try to ensure the pet has consistent feedings, is walked at the same time, and can enjoy their alone time. Try to keep food and treats the same and maintain human-pet interactions.
3. Make Sure They are Eating Well
It can be easy to feel sorry for a grieving pet and fill them with treats or unhealthy foods. Try to maintain a healthy diet and make sure they are eating. Help them work up an appetite with active play and walks.
Don’t be afraid to try things, experiment, or improvise when you don’t know. If the pet slept with its previous owner and that is unacceptable for the new owner, see if a pillow is available from the previous owner and place it in the pet’s bed.
Transitions can be particularly challenging for older pets, who are most likely set in their ways. Have patience, try to create some new bonds, and do the best you can. If the pet’s health seems to be suffering, take it to the vet for a checkup.
At Fares J. Radel Funeral Homes and Crematory, we understand the special bond between pets and people, especially in times of sadness. That is why we added emotional support animals. But we also need to be there for them in a time of loss.
Have questions? Need support in a time of need or pre-planning? We are here to help. We are here for you.
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