Is the Process More Difficult if I'm a Senior?
Coping with the loss of a pet can be particularly hard for seniors. Those who live alone may feel a loss of purpose and an immense emptiness. The pet's death may also trigger painful memories of other losses and remind owners of their own mortality. What's more, the decision to get another pet is complicated by the possibility that the pet may outlive the owner, and hinges on the person's physical and financial ability to care for a new pet.
For all these reasons, it's critical that senior pet owners take immediate steps to cope with their loss and regain a sense of purpose. If you are a senior, try interacting with friends and family, calling a pet loss support hotline, even volunteering at a local humane society. If you know seniors in this situation, help direct them and guide them through the difficult grieving process.
Will My Other Pets Grieve?
Surviving pets may whimper, refuse to eat or drink, and suffer lethargy, especially if they had a close bond with the deceased pet. Even if they were not the best of friends, the changing circumstances and your emotional state may distress them. Give surviving pets lots of TLC ("tender loving care") and try to maintain a normal routine. It's good for them and for you.
Should I Get Another Pet?
Rushing into this decision isn't fair to you or your new pet. Each animal has his own unique personality and a new animal cannot replace the one you lost. You'll know when the time is right to adopt a new pet after giving yourself time to grieve, carefully considering the responsibilities of pet ownership, and paying close attention to your feelings. When you are ready, remember that your local animal shelter is a great place to find your next special friend.
If you are intersted in adopting from the local SPCA, please visit their website at www.caspca.org .
* Charlottesville Pet Loss Support Group meets the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of each month and by appointment. For more information on times, location or to participate, please contact Marguerite David, LCSW at 434-760-1330.
~Sometimes, we all need a shoulder to cry on.~