Coping with your grief
According to Annie Kilmartin, of Solace Pet Loss Ireland, there are a number of things you can do to help you cope with the loss of your pet. She has produced a booklet in conjunction with The Irish Hospice Foundation, entitled Grieving the Loss of a Pet, which can be downloaded from Solacepetlossireland.com.
1 Accept the pain of this grief is normal, and allow yourself time to feel sadness, anger, guilt or whatever it is you need to feel.
2 Try to share your emotions with someone who will understand - a friend, family member, other pet owners or veterinary staff.
3 You may wish to bury your pet or scatter their cremated remains in a special place. Having a ritual or ceremony can help.
4 Keep a memory box full of favourite toys and keepsakes. Record special memories - put photographs in a scrapbook, paint a picture, write a story or poem. You can put a photo and story on a memorial website for animals.
5 Try to take regular exercise and eat well-balanced meals. Rest is important and if your sleep is disturbed, try winding down with a milky drink. Set up new routines to replace those you had with your pet, eg change the time and location of walks. Avoid making any big decisions and seek the company of supportive family and friends.
6 It is up to each person or family to decide whether or not to get another pet. Some choose to do this immediately, while others need time.
7 Sometimes grief can seriously affect your sleep, eating habits and ability to cope. If this is the case, you might benefit from professional counselling with someone who'll understand and value the loving bond you had.