From day one, the bond you create with your dog is extraordinary. They truly are man’s best friend. Only a true dog lover would understand. They are your confidant. When someone sees you, they see the dog as well. I can’t imagine anything being close to the love between animal and owner.
It’s hard to imagine the powerful bond and love affair can be tainted. Perhaps flawed is a better word. The relationship between pet and pet owner is flawed? What?
It is an undeniable truth. We outlive our pets. The death of a pet is very comparable to the death of a loved one. A beloved dog or cat is just as much a part of the family as anyone else, right?
There is nothing worse than grieving over the loss of a loved one. And the family dog was definitely a loved one.
No one can blame you for wanting your dog’s memory to live on. It’s what people do when they are so very close to pets who have recently passed. They will remember them forever. And so their beloved dog will live forever in their heart.
As shaken as their world is by the loss, they can’t help but wonder…Is my dog in heaven and how can I be certain of it?
The death of a pet
As hard as it is, losing a dog to anything, even natural causes are not one of the pleasures of pet ownership. Short answer, It Sucks! I have known people who have dealt with the loss of a parent better than the loss of their dog. It’s just the way dog lovers are. And pet lovers in general.
Depending on how severe the loss is to you, the owner, you may need counseling to deal with it. Yes, there are counselors who specialize in pet loss. And it may be just the ticket to help you in the grieving process.
Don’t think you have to weather the loss all by yourself when help is available.
Your faith in ‘a better place’
Perhaps the best way to look at the death and wondering about heaven for the pet is in your own beliefs. Most of us have always heard when someone dies, they have gone to a better place. When you adapt your thinking to these principles it may take the edge off of the hurt. Not entirely, mind you, just as a comfort.
Children, in particular, have often questioned when losing a pet, “are they in heaven?” The short answer is always, yes. But how would an adult know it for sure?
If you are like me, you simply apply the faith you have. All of those Sunday School lessons I learned early on were designed to help me in matters of faith as I grew older. The loss of a pet is one in particular.
Ask a minister
People can offer up ideas and advice until you-know-where freezes over. And it’s okay. People mean well. Sometimes their intentions are taken the wrong way. It’s probably because they don’t know how to convey the message.
Your local minister or priest knows how. In fact, they were trained in answering these questions. The ones regarding the loss of loved ones, and the afterlife.
They will at the very least be able to comfort you in your time of loss.
A pet memorial
The pet owners who memorialize their pets are not crazy. They are finding a way to honor their pet and let the world know how great they were. I find nothing crazy about pet memorials.
Extravagant and pricey? Yes. Crazy? Never. A designated grave, a marble headstone, even the purchase of space in a pet mausoleum are all meant to honor the loss of a beloved family pet.
I for one would never call it crazy.
Explaining a pet’s death to a child
Perhaps one of the more daunting tasks concerning a pet’s death is explaining it to a child. Children handle death differently from the way adults do. Death to them is more likely to cause grief after the loss than at the beginning. At the beginning of an adult, not a pet. The loss of a pet is different.
The loss of a pet is the loss of a dear friend to them. The ever-present family dog is suddenly not there. And you have to explain to them what has happened.
You may find when comforting a child through the loss of a pet it consoles you as well. It might be all you need to heal your heart is to hear yourself say, “the beloved dog is in a better place, and yes, you will see him again one day.”
As you say the words to a child, they are meant for you just as much.
Pictures, pictures, pictures!
Hopefully, you were able to enjoy the presence of the dog for many, many years. And in those years, hopefully, you have taken lots of pictures of the dog.
Now would be a great time to immortalize the family pet by perhaps framing a few of those photos. It could be very beneficial to the whole family. Turn your hallway into a memorial of pictures of your dog.
You can also use it as a way to explain better to a child about what happened and where the dog is now. Just another great tool for setting your mind at ease as well.
There is no easy or magical way to make the hurt of the loss any better to withstand. The way you approach it and choose to deal with it will make all the difference. So choose to approach in the way you will benefit the most. After all, it was and still is your best friend.
Death is an undeniable, hurtful, unfair, and most understood fact of life. There is nothing good that can be associated with the loss of a loved one. And yes, I am referring to the family pet.
I also fully expect just as the movie title implies…’ All Dogs Go To Heaven!”