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Reply To: losing a pet

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Hello @suba and welcome to the Griefline forums. We are so glad you have reached out to express your grief, confusion and to seek answers. The loss of a pet can be devastating, particularly when they have been in your life for 13 years. Your care and devotion for Jimmy shines through in your post – it’s clear that you did everything you could to keep your boy healthy – ongoing vet care, medication, and incredible attentiveness to his state of health.

Your feelings of guilt and your search for answers are very normal reactions to such a significant loss. The Bowlby & Parkes grief model (1970) suggests that we come out of an initial state of numbness and denial and move into a state of ‘yearning and protest’…where we may have a sense of guilt that we did not do enough to keep them alive and/or blame others for the death. When we’re in this phase we often experience grief in waves of crying, anxiety, irritability and lack of concentration. Does this sound true for you?

Whilst this stage of grief is very distressing, it might help to know that it will not last forever. According to this model of grief, we might transition into a period of low mood and despair to eventually reach a stage of re-organisation where we are able to move on and start looking to the future again. There are lots of tools to help you through this process. You might like to take a look at this article on our resource hub…Losing a Pet which has tips on how to cope & check out Tools for Rest and Relaxation page with its mindfulness exercises. These can be very soothing when things feel overwhelming.
A call-out to those in our online community to share your experience and understanding of losing a beloved pet…our collective experience can bring comfort to @suba …and all of us as we navigate this tricky terrain of grief and loss.

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