Mourning the Loss of a Pet

Singer and actress Jessica Simpson recently made headlines after a coyote snatched her beloved dog, Daisy.  Launching a massive search that enlisted the help of a pet detective, the 29-year-old star simply could not give up hope until the malti-poo was found alive.  Despite criticism from the public, Simpson hung posters and Tweeted updates about her missing pet.  Noting that her feelings were maternal and that she was ?Daisy?s mommy,? the young woman called off the search after a weekend of no leads.

Like thousands of other pet owners whose four legged friends met an untimely demise, Simpson would benefit from some time alone and the following advice:

  • Surround yourself with positive people who know how much your pet meant to you.  Avoid being around people who cruelly state, ?It was just a dog or cat!?
  • Spend time quietly mourning your loss.  Take a long walk, keep a journal based on the feelings that you are having, or write a letter to a friend.  Understand that grief is a complex process with multiple stages.  In order to make progress, you must conquer feelings of disbelief, anger, and guilt.
  • Refrain from making life-changing decisions until you are in the right frame of mind.  Grief can cause a person to act irrationally.  Give yourself time to reflect upon a situation before making a decision that you might regret.
  • Seek professional advice if you have difficulty performing daily scheduled activities.  Be honest about your feelings and heed the advice of the therapist.
  • When the time is right, consider fostering a pet from an animal shelter.  Fostering animals gives a person a chance to be a part of an animal?s life without making a full-time commitment to its care. 

The death of a pet is devastating.  By taking the time to mourn their loss, men and women significantly decrease their level of stress by becoming resilient, increasing their chances of feeling comfortable caring for animals again.


This is wonderful advice. I think what most people don't realize is that the loss of a pet can be every bit as devastating, and sometimes more so, as the loss of a child. For most pet owners, especially those who may not have children of their own, pets are children. It's rare that we receive the kind of unconditional love we receive from our pets from humans, and once we've experienced that kind of love, not having it on our lives is unbearable.