Man Smiling whilst Stroking Dog

24 Aug 2020

How Pet Bereavement can affect us

Our pets are often seen as part of the family, when it comes to the death of a pet it can be an extremely tough and emotional time. Many people struggle with the fact that others don’t understand how much you’re grieving the loss of your beloved pet.

One of our counsellors at The Eaves, Emma-Jane La Roche, has a number of years’ experience working with pet bereavement. She says “Society is not always accepting of our personal grief and pet bereavement/pet loss is one of those areas. Family and friends may find it hard to understand why someone should grieve so much for the loss of a pet however grieving over the loss of your much-loved companion is perfectly normal!” (*)


What are the different stages of grieving? (**)
  • Denial – It may be hard to accept that your pet is no longer with you – and your home may feel very empty.
  • Anger – You may feel intense pain and outbursts of anger that your pet is no longer with you.
  • Bargaining – You may find yourself asking questions, ‘Did I do the right thing?’, ‘Could I have done something differently?’
  • Depression – You may feel immense sadness and will cry often, your sleep can be disrupted and might notice a change in appetite, you may want to withdraw from normal activities and may stop speaking to family and friends. It is important to seek counselling or medical support if these feelings don’t pass or if they begin to feel overwhelming.
  • Acceptance – You will still feel sadness but will be able to look back on your pet’s life, remembering the good times you shared.


How Can I Honour My Pet?

Rainbow Bridge Memorial Day is held on 28th August every year, it was a day first started by Deborah Barnes on August 28, 2015 after the death of her cat. As part of Deborah’s grieving process, she wrote a book about her experience of pet bereavement. Once the book was released, she received an amazing reaction from those who had read the book and were experiencing their own pain of their pet passing away. (***)

After the book was released Deborah received an overwhelming reaction from those who had read it. People reached out to Deborah to share their own stories of a pet passing, now each year on 28th August people take the time to fondly remember their pets that have passed away.

The Eaves has a number of qualified practitioners who specialise in a variety of areas. We can offer remote sessions for those comfortable using technology, but also have face-to-face sessions available. Please contact us on 01483 917000 where our referrals team will be happy to source a suitable practitioner for your needs.