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© By Martine Lavallée BAA, TSA

Like many people who have lost a pet, animal mourning is not always taken seriously, but for the person who lives this mourning, it is not easy. If you were lucky to have a pet to which you were bound, but, unfortunately, who has died, you know that this separation is not painless. Indeed, our pet is part of the family and we share many moments of his daily life with him for years. There is as much way of experiencing animal mourning as of people who live it. To correctly mourn, one must allow oneself to live it.


The loss of a pet can be sudden following a car accident for example or following a disease of varying length. In the latter case, calling a veterinarian is undoubtedly the best decision to make. Of course, this means that one must be ready to accept euthanasia. This should be considered to free our animal from suffering. Although the loss of our animal invariably creates a void, we must think first and foremost about the well-being of our animal.

Then comes the day of euthanasia. Ideally, family members are given the choice to attend euthanasia or not. The family members who will attend must psychologically prepare themselves. For example, it is necessary to tell the truth to young children in words they will understand as saying that the veterinarian has helped him die without pain. Some people will try to minimize or ridicule the pain or boredom that children feel especially in teenagers. We will then have to prepare them for this eventuality.

It is also necessary to provide the disposition of the remains of our beloved animal. The recommended method generally for disposing of remains is incineration. This service is offered in all veterinary clinics. Moreover, in order to preserve the memory of your companion, you can request an individual incineration so that you can recover the ashes in an urn of your choice or a footprint. However, some municipalities also allow the burial of dead bodies in private cemeteries for animals because we know that even if the burial of our animal is tolerated, it is not legal.



But the mourning does not stop there. It is imperative to give yourself the time you need to go through all the stages of grief. Sadly, many people deprive themselves of a simple salutary ritual and help them to "let go". Everyone should find the gesture or ritual that will help them feel at peace. For some, it may mean leaving the bowl and cushion of our deceased pet in their place, until you feel ready to remove them. For others, it is better to remove as quickly as possible the objects reminding us of the absence of our animal. It can also mean doing a special ceremony where we remember good times with our pet. As in any situation of mourning, the process of mourning an animal involves several stages. France Carlos, therapist and author of the book "Mourning animal" published in 2008 by Editions Broquet, lists four major steps that engage in this process.

  1. «Negation : Naturally, the human being protects himself from the pain by denying the situation.
  2. Emotion : The range of emotion is infinite. But most often, involves pain and anger.
  3. Acceptance : It is a step that is gradually taking place. Emotions are often felt very strongly, the first week. In some cases, people even have physical and psychological symptoms. Then, the intensity decreases during the second week. Generally, after three weeks, they work better and begin to accept the disappearance.
  4. Reinvestment in other relationships : Most importantly, you do not want to skip the first three steps and adopt another animal prematurely, as you will be tempted to find your previous companion through it, which will ultimately hinder the establishment of a healthy relationship with the new one."

To Love Again

In summary, surround yourself with caring people who understand what you are going through. Veterinary staff are trained for these sad events and can also have a sympathetic ear when needed. Allow yourself to cry and live well through all stages of grief. We will never be ready for such a trial, but taming each of the stages of mourning one by one and being accompanied will make the journey easier.

Even so, but only if your personal situation allows it, you could adopt a new pet that will fill your life with happiness. However, this one will not replace your deceased companion and it must not be introduced too quickly in your life. We leave time for mourning and time to love again.

-Dre Catherine Côté MV
livre Deuil animalier-Guide de survie de France Carlos

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