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Grief comes in many forms…

Zeus

We share the saddest news – our beloved Zeus passed away on Sunday, 6th October. He was such a loving soul & we miss him terribly!

After a short battle with an aggressive tumour, he passed away peacefully at home cradled in my arms.

It all happened so quickly! I am still in shock and burst into tears when something simple triggers a memory.

Why does the loss of a pet hit us so hard?

You could say “he was just a dog, so get over it”. But a pet is not an inanimate object nor a dispassionate animal. A pet is not even ‘just part of the family’. There is much more to mourning the loss of a pet…

In grieving for the loss of a pet we are actually mourning the following:

The loss of unconditional love
Our pets offer us affection without limitation, without any conditions, without any strings attached. They greet us on our return home with pure joy. How long can you stay angry or upset when an elated pet is always so excited to see you? They never judge us, never question us. They just always offer unquestionable loyalty. This is a rare quality in this age of our fear of being judged by family, friends or on social media by people we don’t even know! It is a gift they bestow on us.

The loss of nurturing
Being a pet owner can be likened to being a parent. We are responsible for their wellbeing, their safety. We support them physically and emotionally. We nurture them like a child. Calling our pet, our ‘fur baby’ is not a surprising phrase.

The loss of routine
We often don’t realise how much a part of our everyday life a pet involves – there’s feeding times, walking routines, play time. When these stop, we can feel lost and like there’s a big void in our life. This feeling of not knowing what else to do increases the sense of loss.

There’s another factor that may add to our grief:

Guilt – ‘did I do enough?’ is a common concern. ‘If only…’ is another guilt ridden thought we may have.

Whether it’s in relation to medical care, making that excruciating decision to end suffering or something more we could have done to prevent an accident, we can torment ourselves with guilt.

This can definitely hinder the grieving process.

There are many articles about how to grieve the loss of a pet, sharing helpful steps and key strategies (eg: Pyschologytoday.com, Psychcentral.com)

One of the steps is to reflect upon the life shared with your pet.

In this respect I’d like to thank all of you who shared your heartfelt feelings on Facebook & Instagram. You have hugely helped me to accept his passing by sharing your memories of how he touched your lives.

Zeus was an awesome dog and a wonderful companion.

Those of you who met him, know also that he was more than just a dog. He was a gentle giant, with a big heart. He offered solace to all who needed comfort. He loved everyone!

For those he supported, we know that you hold a special place in your heart for his memory.

Thank you, Zeus, for all your love ❤️ Go in peace…

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