Our pets are our best friends and a member of our family. For some of us, we even like them better than humans.

They bring us companionship, fun, love, and loyalty without asking anything in return. They are there to cheer you up when you are down or not to feel well. They are there to protect you when they think there is a danger. And they love you with all their heart. You are their human.

Pets can help you overcome challenges in your life as well. They can keep you active and social. But what happens when they are gone?

Everyone has their way of grieving. There is no right or wrong. The degrees of emotions vary depending on the circumstances of death, your dog’s age, the role they played in your life, and your age and personality.

Sometimes losing your dog can be more traumatic than losing a family member even though the grieving process is the same. The most important thing is to acknowledge the loss and accept all the emotions that come and go. There is no set time frame. There are no set emotions. Just go with it. We cannot force it nor is there a shortcut.

Never be ashamed of mourning your beloved dog. They held a part of your heart, and some think they always will. It’s okay to feel sad, to cry but most importantly find someone to talk to. Someone who will let you vent all these emotions. You do not want to keep them bottled up inside. It will make you feel much better.

I’ve gone through the process of grieving for both pets and family members. Each process was different, and I believe that depends on how involved they were with your life. A dog is like having another child, so they are there every day, all day. You are involved in their health and well-being, their exercise and socialization and their meal times. You are there for when they get hurt and for play time.

Losing these daily activities can leave a huge hole in your life. Get with people who have or have had pets so that you surround yourself with humans who understand the love and companionship of a dog. You may also join a support group or meet up with people who know what you are feeling. Also, do not be afraid or ashamed to seek professional help, if needed.

Above all… take your time, be gentle with yourself and just feel what you feel. In no time at all, you will be able to open your heart again to a new best friend. Together you can start writing the next chapter of your life.

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