So how does a man say good-bye to a beloved pet, companion and best friend who has given him its full
attention, unconditional love and loyalty and even aid in daily living (i.e. blind people with their guide dogs
and policemen with their canine friends, among others)? And once good-byes have been said, how does man cope
with the grief and loss after?
However, mental conditioning can only do so much when no emotional bonds have been created yet: once man begins to establish an emotional bond with his pet, no amount of conditioning can ever fully guarantee an easy way in dealing with a possible separation or loss.
Man deals with loss in his own unique way. There is no definite formula for dealing with the grief over the loss of a pet. Otherwise, if there is, indeed, a formula, it would come out something as absurd as asking a doctor to compose a music for his dead pet, or asking a painter to write a book dedicated to his pet. In a word, what works for some may not necessarily work for others. What is constant with any variable, however, is the importance of facing the pain. Running away from the reality and pain of loss never helps. Though running away may momentarily desensitize the first few pangs of pain, the next few ones that will eventually turn up at times when it is least expected will only become twice or thrice as painful than the first. Acknowledging the pain, however, helps develop an eventual acceptance over the loss of your pet, and in the long run, even peace knowing that your beloved pet may be in a place far happier than the one you can ever offer it. By acknowledging your pain, you are allowing yourself to grieve over lost times with your pet. In grieving there is remembrance. What better way to give tribute to your beloved pet and what better way to keep your pet alive in your heart forever than remembering all the times spent together? Eventually, you will find that healthy remembrance and acceptance of the pain is not only therapeutic but offers a way that will lead you to acceptance over the loss itself as well.
The next step of dealing with grief over the loss of a pet is through creative expression. A healthy way of dealing with the death of a pet, or any other loss for that matter, is to discover your own potential for self-release and catharsis. Try to experiment, through hobbies, sports and interest, on activities that will keep your mind focused on being productive and creative. In all activities, always be conscious that you are channeling your grief and loss positively through the activities you are engaged in. Eventually, you will only realize that your pain has lessened and diminished. The perils of not consciously keeping to mind the motivation for the activity (which is the pain of loss) may only be equivalent to not accepting and acknowledging your pain and once you find yourself unguardedly remembering your dead friend, your pet, the pain may only become twice as hurtful. However, if you keep in mind the purpose for your constructive activity, you are actually, creatively and productively living with your pain and loss. For artists, it would even help you include, as your creations’ theme, your departed pet. Talk about your pet. Share photos of your pet. Remember your pet. Walk to where you often have your walks. The possibilities of calling to mind the joy that your pet has given you is endless.
Indeed, there is no easy way to forgetting the pain of losing a beloved pet. But perhaps, the paradox there is not to forget the pain, but instead, to live with the pain. Once this pain is channeled creatively and productively, you will find out that your beloved and precious pet has done more for you than you ever thought of in its life and even in its death.
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