Using Spiritual Strength to Cope With Grief Over Pet Loss

Sometimes, finding spiritual strength is the only way to heal from the pain of saying good-bye to a beloved dog, cat, or other pet – because earthly strength just doesn’t compare. Here are several ways to “use” spirituality to cope with the grief of pet loss…

spiritual pet loss grief“If there is a heaven, it’s certain our animals are to be there,” says writer Pam Brown. “Their lives become so interwoven with our own, it would take more than an archangel to detangle them.”

If you’re sad because of a pet’s death, remember that your soul is forever intertwined with theirs…and you will meet them again one day. For help healing from pet loss, read Saying Goodbye to Your Angel Animals: Finding Comfort after Losing Your Pet. And, here are four ways to lean on your spirituality when you need it the most…

Spiritual Strength, Grief, and Pet Loss

Seek freedom from guilty feelings. Many pet owners are burdened with guilt after their dog or cat dies; they think they should have done something different when the animal was alive. They may struggle with thoughts of “what if” and “if only”…and this guilt impedes healthy grieving. If you feel guilty because your dog or cat died, you might use your spirituality to release those feelings. If you’re Christian, for example, you could pray for healing from guilt and read about how men and women in the Bible let go of guilt (such as King David, or Paul). How you use your spirituality to find release from guilt may depend on your spiritual beliefs and practices…but the more specific and deliberate you are about bringing your guilt and spirituality together, the more freedom you may feel.

Remember that different people grieve in different ways. On an article I wrote about letting go of guilt because of a pet’s death, a reader said her husband doesn’t want to talk about their lost dog because it’s just too sad. She, on the other hand, wants to talk and express her feelings. As a couple, they need to find the best way to grieve both together and separately. For instance, instead of talking about their dog’s death whenever she thinks of it (which is almost constantly), they might set a specific time to talk or even pray. And instead of “just” talking about the event itself, they can pray or meditate together about their pet’s soul, or angels, or heaven. Spouses can be a great source of spiritual strength and comfort – especially if couples are open to praying or meditating together.

Seek balance in your grief, with daily memorials or prayers. Healing from the death of a pet can involve finding the balance between crying and talking about how you feel, and accepting that your dog or cat is gone and it’s time to move on. Some pet owners want to talk about their pet almost constantly, but feel like they’re burdening their friends and family members. If you feel like you’re “grieving too much”, schedule a specific 15 minute time period every day to talk or write about how you feel (guilty because your dog or cat died, sad because the house seems so empty). Use the time to seek spirituality or God’s wisdom and healing. When your 15 minute “daily memorial” is over, focus on being mindful in your present life….until your next memorial. Soon you may find you don’t need your daily memorial because your heart and soul is healing from your pet loss.

Decide on the legacy of your pet’s life. How do you want to remember your beloved dog or cat – what feelings do you want to associate with her? And, how do you think your pet would want to be remembered? That’s your pet’s legacy. It’s up to you to decide if you want your pet to be remembered with sadness and guilt, or peace and happiness. Grief and pain, or love and joy. You may need to dig deep into your spiritual strength to find the courage to remember your pet in a way that honors her…but once you do, the rewards will be eternal.

Your dog or cat isn’t suffering now; rejoice in that! Picture her in heaven, or whatever oasis or paradise your spirituality gives you. Let her go, bless her soul, and focus on saying good-bye with love and freedom…

If you’re currently coping with a pet’s illness, you might find Gini’s Staying Positive While Caring for Your Ill Dog helpful.

And, if you have any questions or thoughts on using spiritual strength to cope with pet loss, please comment below…

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