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Losing a pet can be traumatic for children and adults. The loss of a beloved pet can affect you the same as the loss of a close friend or family member.

Because your pet was a part of your home life and daily routine, your feeling of loss can be very pronounced. You may go through a grieving and mourning process much the same as if a beloved person had died. Grief is the normal response to any important loss in life.

Anyone who considers a pet a beloved friend, companion, or family member knows the intense pain that accompanies the loss of that friend. Intense grief over the loss of a pet is normal and natural. The most important step you can take is to be honest about your feelings. Don't deny your pain, or your feelings of anger and guilt. If your family or friends love pets, they'll understand what you're going through.

The death of a pet means the loss of a non-judgmental love source. There is no longer anything for the pet owner to nurture and care for. Furthermore, the owner looses his or her contact with "the natural world." These feelings can be particularly intense for the elderly, single people and childless couples.

For many elderly people, their pet is their sole companion, and some will say, their only reason to live. Many elderly do not have a strong support system and live alone, away from family. They are at a time in their lives when they are experiencing the deaths of friends their same age. Their pet may become the sole focus of their attention and affection. Their entire daily routine may revolve around their pet. Their pet may also have been a source of security, barking at strangers or accompanying them on walks.

Having A Pet Funeral

When a pet dies, you must choose how to handle its remains. Sometimes, in the midst of grief, it may seem easiest to leave the pet at the clinic for disposal. Check with your clinic to find out whether there is a fee for such disposal. Some shelters also accept such remains, though many charge a fee for disposal.

To many, a pet cemetery provides a sense of dignity, security, and permanence. Owners appreciate the serene surroundings and care of the gravesite. Cemetery costs vary depending on the services you select, as well as upon the type of pet you have. Cremation is a less expensive option that allows you to handle your pet's remains in a variety of ways

To the owners, provide comfort. Let them know it is right and good to mourn the loss of a family pet. Don't laugh at or ridicule them or they may learn to hide their emotions and avoid dealing with sensitive issues the rest of their lives. Handle the remains carefully and with respect. Depending on how the animal died, avoid contamination with bacteria by placing the body in a box, with a blanket if desired and arrange for the disposal.

Children who are confronted by death for the first time may have uncertainties about bodily decay or in facing future deaths of themselves or loved ones. This is a good time to share spiritual insight and religious values. Losing a pet can be a difficult experience for young children. Turn it into a positive handling of death and grief by taking a few moments to help them effectively handle negative emotions.

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