How to Get Over the Death of the Family Dog in 8 Easy Steps
Many of my readers know that my family and I lost our little dog Angel last month. (“I Once Had a Dog Named Nasty“).
Knowing Angel’s death was imminent, I struggled to find the answers to what was going to be a difficult journey for all of us: how to cope with the death of the family dog.
In the six weeks since he died, my husband Wayne and I believe we have found the answers that may help your family cope with the loss of a loved one, the family pet.
These are all coping mechanisms we have actually tried.
Here is a tongue-in-cheek approach to two very different coping strategies. I ask my reader’s indulgence as I refer to myself in the third person.
Wayne: Cremate the dog. Display the urn in a prominent place. Put his 8×10 photo at the site of the urn. It’s important to keep Angel in the land of the living after all, since he will always be in our minds and our hearts.
Janice: Cremate the dog so that he gets to be with us in death. Hide the ashes, so there are no reminders that the dog died, and we can try to put it behind us.
Wayne: Throw a party for the vet’s office that cared for the dog. We need to show just how great our appreciation for their efforts is. Their compassion for our dog was so great, they performed many services for free!
Janice: Avoid the vet’s office at all costs so there are no painful reminders that we used to take him there.
Wayne: Put a picture of the dog on the screen of the smartphone. This ensures pet owners will be able to look at their dogs every time calls comes in or out, or they send or receive texts.
Janice: Put photos of the dog in your Dropbox; then, immediately delete them from your phone. I wouldn’t want to accidentally see them and be sad.
Wayne: Continue activities unchanged during the mourning period which could take years.
Janice: Change location of activities as needed to avoid going anywhere the dog went. Keep activities light during the mourning period which could take weeks.
Wayne: Spend lots of time watching mindless television. It will give one time to really reflect on the dog’s life and ultimate passing in order to expedite the mourning process.
Janice: Spend lots of time throwing yourself into writing blogs, reading other people’s blogs, and reading blogging books. There’s no chance to think about the dog this way. Preoccupation is the answer!
Wayne: Spend lots of time perusing ten years’ worth of the dog’s photos on the laptop.
Janice: Spend lots of time Playing Farmville 2 on the laptop.
Wayne: Talk about getting a new dog for Janice. She really needs to fill the void!
Janice: Talk about getting a new dog for Wayne. He really needs to fill the void!
Wayne: Don’t tell anyone the dog died. The truth is too awful to say.
Janice: Tell everyone the dog died. Moral support is really needed right now!
I hope readers can see from our experience that there is no right way to mourn. Although we disagree on how to mourn, we do agree on one very important theme. The experience of mourning is different for each person. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to grief.
Readers, if you find any coping mechanisms have worked for you, please share.