Complicated Grief - lost or missing pets
People going through the unresolved loss of a much loved pet, often tell us that that it is much harder to cope with the “not knowing” than it would be with knowing that their pet had died, or even if their pet was living happily somewhere else with another family… It’s the “not knowing” that hurts so much. They don’t know if, or when to grieve. Or when (or how) to stop looking. Or how to even contemplate, let alone begin to accept, that a much loved family member may not be coming home again.
An excellent resource to help with your search is www.helpinglostpets.com Helping Lost Pets is built specifically to help get pets home. There are so many other features the site has such as posters, tracking, sightings, adoptable pets and the ability to find shelters, vets, rescues and any pet related business or service.
For those who have searched for a long time and when you start to feel the time is right, it can help to think of a “closure date” when you will give yourself permission to “close off” your search. That date could be months away from now but it gives you (and your family) an “end point”.
As you approach your pre decided “closure date”, think about how you may want to use the time that will now be freed once you are no longer doing flier drops, door knocks, internet searches and even the time you spend worrying. What will you replace that time with, that is good for YOU, that is positive and moves you forward?
Some people choose to volunteer to work with pets as a tribute to their own pet. Our volunteer who enters the SPCA ads, volunteers in memory of her own lost cat as it helps her heal and “give back” in his memory and to help others in her situation.
When your pre determined end date comes you could have a special remembrance ceremony, write a letter to your pet, visit their favourite place, plant a tree, post an online tribute for them or any special thing that feels right to you to commemorate and acknowledge their life and your love for them. Then give yourself time to grieve their loss. Always surround yourself with positive supporting people and take care of yourself.