When we lose the pet we love, we find ourselves facing some of the most difficult emotions we will ever have to face in life. These emotions are part of a healthy response to death, unless remain ‘stuck’ in negativity.
People have said to me that even years after the death of their pet, they still can’t move on, and they are afraid because they don’t know if they’ll ever be able to be free from their pain and find some kind of happiness again.
‘It has been nearly three years since my beautiful dog Nicky died, and I’m still having trouble moving on. I feel like no-one really understands and there’s no-one I can talk to about this. Sometimes I think I’d like to get another puppy, but then I feel disloyal to Nicky, and I grieve all over again. I want to move on, but don’t know how.’
Three main emotions you will experience as a result of pet loss are: grief, anger, and the resistance to forgiveness.
Grief can appear in different ways at different times. You may feel depressed, be constantly teary, be unable to work or socialize, have trouble sleeping, lose your appetite, and more. There is no ‘time limit’ on grief, and everyone’s experience of grief is their own—there’s no ‘standard’. Of course, if our grief takes over our life for too long, we can become chronically depressed. The ‘healthy’ option is to gradually move through grief and into a more peaceful place of acceptance that allows us to live a good life while still being able to remember our pets with love.
Anger often occurs in a highly emotional situation. Maybe you’re angry at the vet who didn’t do enough; maybe you’re angry with God for taking your baby; maybe you’re angry at the human or the animal that killed your baby; maybe you’re angry at your partner/family/friends who just don’t understand what you are going through; maybe you’re angry at yourself for what you did or didn’t do, real or imagined.
The antidote to anger is forgiveness. Forgiveness does not mean that you condone the behavior of others. Forgiveness means releasing Forgive the vet, forgive God, forgive the killer, forgive your family, forgive yourself. Feel the anger and the pain drain away through forgiveness. Easy to say, harder to do. But there is a way.
Often people think that if they stop grieving, if they find happiness, that this means they’ve forgotten their furbaby, or that they don’t love their furbaby. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. Healing does not mean you’ve stopped loving. Healing does not mean forgetting. At Pet Loss Journey, we can help you heal AND love, heal AND remember. Through practical guidance and emotional support, we’ll get you there.
About the Author: BJ Burman
BJ Burman is a writer, researcher, healer, advisor and teacher. All through her childhood and adult life, she has shared her life with animals, every one of them dearly loved. She is also a passionate supporter of animal rights and animal conservation.
In addition, BJ has always been interested in spirituality and religion, both academically and personally. When she became personally involved in Eastern philosophy and religion, she became specifically interested in death & dying (and what really happens to us).
Over the years, she has studied and researched the subject of death & dying, and the associated grief, particularly from a spiritual perspective, under the guidance of respected Buddhist, Hindu and Christian teachers from the USA, Britain and Australia. These great traditions, have so much to teach on the reality of life and death.
BJ has worked in the education sector for nearly 20 years, as a teacher (particularly in a pastoral care role) of adolescents and adults, helping them to not only navigate their path in education, but also navigate their way through personal life obstacles for the happiest outcomes.
Bj holds a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities, a Graduate Diploma of Teaching, Graduate qualifications in Linguistics/TESOL, Masters in Comparative World Religions and is a published author for national and international magazine print publications in the field of health and well-being.
It seems only natural to her to combine her love of animals with her interest in death & dying to create a genuinely compassionate and supportive forum for humans who must say good-bye to the animals they love so much.
It is BJ's deep desire to provide guidance and comfort for humans to help their beloved animals live and die in peace.