- Step 1: Allow yourself to grieve Don't be embarrassed that you're so upset. Your pet was a big part of your life. Don't let anyone make you feel guilty or silly for grieving.
- Step 2: Memorialize your pet Have a memorial that celebrates your pet's life, whether it's gathering loved ones to reminisce, or planting something in your yard that will serve as a tribute.
- TIP: Making an annual donation to a pet charity or local shelter on the anniversary of your pet's death both honors your pet and helps other animals.
- Step 3: Pick up the pieces As you are grieving, give away, throw away, or put away your pet's bowl, toys, brushes, bedding, and other items they used daily. Keeping a few keepsakes is OK, but you don't want to flood yourself with daily reminders.
- Step 4: Don't replace them right away Resist the temptation to get another pet right away. You don't want to bring an animal into your home when you're feeling despondent. When you're ready, you'll know, but a good rule of thumb is to wait at least six months.
- Step 5: Be patient Be patient. Know that it's going to take time before you feel good again.
- FACT: Six months after the death of a pet, 35 percent of pet owners are still grieving, and 22 percent are still struggling with the loss a year later.
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