5 Stages of Grief When Losing a Dog

5 Stages of Grief When Losing a Dog

Grief when losing a dog is normal, dogs are innocent creatures who love us and accept us the way we are. Their unconditional love and loyalty make our heart beats for them and we start perceiving them as close family members. Then out of a sudden, death comes. It takes the one who gives our lives meaning. Who creates a smile on our face and teach us how to share love and affection.

Because of the strong bond and honest relationship that relates us to our dogs, feeling depressed after losing them is normal. We need to be aware of all the stages that we need to go through after losing our furry family member.

This article will make you conscious of the five stages anyone is likely to experience after their dog is passed away:

1- Stage 1 of Grief When Losing a Dog: Denial

Because every single thing related to your relationship with your dog has instantly changed, you start to deny the news of their death. It is normal at this stage to be in a state of shock. Looking at your dog’s bed, their toys, and food. Everything is in its place, the house is empty, and the world has stopped. Even with these feelings, you just cannot believe that your dog is not going to greet you or play with you anymore.

It is normal at this stage to feel this way in order to survive the loss. This happens to protect you from going through some serious situation. At this level, you start to unconsciously manage your painful feelings.

Once we start to remember our last moments with our dogs, we feel that their loss is real. This enables us to move to the next stage.

2- Stage 2: Anger

The second stage is anger. Once you start to realize that your dog will never be around again. You start to be angry at yourself and spread anger to others. You begin to feel angry because you could not stop death from taking your dog.

– Asking Questions

Asking questions is all that you may do because you find the situation incomprehensible. You start asking “why me?”, “why other dogs are still here but not my dog?”, “Is this fair?”, “why the vet could not help my dog?”.

– Anger Is Caused by Pain

Anger is a sign of pain. It is a natural response or even a necessary one. You may feel that life is unfair. You are totally lonely, and there is nothing except a scary silence. It is important to express anger and never suppress your feelings of anger. This step is an important one toward healing.

– Guilt

You start blaming yourself for the death of your dog. If your dog died because of a given illness, you may blame yourself because you did not take your dog to the vet earlier, or because you did not insist on a specific test. At this stage, you may ask a lot of questions that start with “what if”. You must know that this mental torture will cause you nothing but more grief and sadness. It is unproductive to ask such questions.

– Reflection

We need to focus our attention on all the good memories and happy times that we spent with our beloved dogs. And have to understand that we cannot change the unchangeable. No one can stop the unstoppable.

3- Stage 3 of Grief When Losing a Dog: Bargaining

Bargaining is the stage of false hope. You are trying to avoid grief through a type of negotiation.

Once our dogs passed away, we start persuading ourselves that we are going to see them again, they are now in a very beautiful place where they can see and feel us.

4- Stage 4 of Grief When Losing a Dog: Depression

Now, the grief enters a deeper level. At this level, you are likely to feel emptiness as you finally realize that your dog has gone for good. In this stage, you might feel exhausted all the time. Have a deep desire to stay indoors as you have no power to face the world. You hope that you had a magical power so that you could be invisible to others. You stop talking, eating, or satisfying any of your basic needs.

Although this stage may be tough, it is healthy. It takes you toward the healing path. It is better to accept and welcome your sadness. Live it to the full and never fake a laugh. Once you are strong enough to face the world again, depression will disappear.

5- Stage 5 of Grief When Losing a Dog: Acceptance

The last stage is acceptance. In this stage, you will realize that your dog died, but you will be okay. It is not a good reality, but you need to cope with it and live with it. Now, you learn that as they are sad days, there are happy days.

In this stage, your emotion starts to be gradually stable. You begin to engage with your friends, establishing new relationships. But at the same time, inside the deepest of your heart, the love of your dog is still alive and shall never die.

Last Words

Growing, developing, and learning needs to pass through hardships, difficulties, and sadness. Our dogs are our loyal friends with whom we shared love, affection, and happy moments. But once we recognize that death is a natural process in this life, we start understanding the meaning of life. It is not the end as those beautiful moments will live with us whenever and wherever we are.

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