The grief we feel after a loved one dies or is separated from us can be overwhelming. The greater the attachment, the greater the loss. This is also true for the animals in our lives.
Many people that have pets would agree that the animal becomes part of the family. For some, the animal may even be the one and only companion to share the home, or possibly the substitute for the child that never was or has since left home. And yet, we may feel as though the loss of an animal is only deserving of a certain amount, type and duration of grief - you know, what society has deemed as appropriate.
This can be troubling for the person that may feel a great loss when their pet dies or runs away. The shame and feeling of having to hide our grief instead of being permitted and encouraged to acknowledge the pain of our loss is an extra layer upon the grief itself.
If you or someone you care about is grieving the loss of a pet, take the time and space to allow for grieving. This may include some type of formal or informal ceremony, creating a photo album of your pet, sending a sympathy card to the person that is grieving and simply allowing whatever comes up to be there without judgment. We all grieve in different ways and amounts and while grief cannot be compared, it can be given respect and a loving space to transform from pain to a tender memory of a very special relationship.