Losing a much-loved pet can be a very traumatic experience. Although you may find some people really don’t understand how you’re feeling, and may suggest unhelpful solutions such as ‘Why don’t you go and get another dog/cat/rabbit, etc?’, many people do understand. This undoubtedly includes your vet and vet nurses, and so don’t be afraid to show your emotions in front of them. You will need time to grieve and you may go through a mixture of emotions – sadness, loneliness and even anger. This is all quite normal and part of the process of coming to terms with your loss.
You should not feel guilty or blame yourself for your pet’s death – the decision for euthanasia (which translates from Greek as ‘good death’) is only ever reached as an act of kindness to avoid suffering. Treasure your memories – remember the good times and the joy that your companion brought you.
Losing a pet is often the first time that a child becomes aware of death. It is usually better to be honest with a child and explain the truth as clearly as you can. Be careful when you use the term ‘put to sleep’ as a child may expect their pet to wake up again later. Children may want time to say good-bye to their pet and seeing the body may help them understand what has happened.
It can be helpful to talk to someone who understands your feelings. The Isle of Man Samaritans take pet bereavement very seriously and they are there to help if you need them on 116123.