Friday, 11 April 2014

Top 5: Ways To Deal With The Death Of A Beloved Pet

Before I start, this is not a depressing or miserable post. Even though I’m a bit of a Crying Christine at the moment, I’m not going to go all morose and start writing poetry about ravens and the misty eyes of death.

As you know by now, Lucky passed away on Saturday 5th April. I was out riding at the time and just missed the vet. You may also know that my family have 2 ex-racer greyhounds; these are not the first greyhounds we’ve had (I don’t like to say ‘owned’ as it isn’t accurate! They completely own us), but the 4th and 5th. Our first 3 sadly all died of bone cancer.

So, I feel I am qualified to offer advice on how to cope with the upsetting event of losing a beloved pet.

It’s perfectly acceptable to stand in Sainsbury’s vegetable aisle and weep over a carrot/dog bone/scratching post. Cry and feel angry and guilty and sad and lost, as long as you know these feelings are completely normal. Don’t suppress it. Let it all out – but maybe don’t shout at the same time, or people will think you’re a bit odd. Unless shouting helps you, in which case, crack on.

Talk about your pet
My Mum’s soulhound, Rio, died in 2011, and we still talk about him. All the time. We sign our Mother’s Day cards from him, he buys her her own birthday card, and we say the little Boofle dog hanging from Mum’s car mirror is him. I make special voices for all of our pets, and Rio obviously had a Brazilian accent, so when I talk with that voice we know it’s Rio speaking. It sounds mad (it is mad), and I spend more time talking in all my different pet voices than my own when I’m at home, but it makes us laugh and keeps all our deceased pets alive.

Don’t feel guilty over getting a new pet
You are not replacing him or her, and you will never will. But given how many pets are in need of a loving home, it seems silly to feel all lonely inside just because you think you need to wait a certain amount of time before getting a new pet. We hate having 1 hound – when my brother and I were born, my parents had 2 dogs, so only having 1 feels really empty. Greyhounds are always kept in pairs as well, so we adopted Claus (after Rio’s death) for Princess’s sake as well as ours.

Everything feels like utter bum after a bereavement (technical term – look it up). Just know that you can’t feel this bad forever – you’ll never feel happy that your pet died, but you’ll be able to look back on your memories together with fondness instead of sadness.

Spend time with (the right) people
At first, you’ll want to weep and wallow in private. You’ll probably have days where you wear the same pants twice and forget to wash your hair. But after a while, this isn’t healthy – and is kind of dirty. I seriously doubt your pet wants to look down from PetHeaven and watch you grieve all alone for days on end. Spend time with your closest friends and family – they’ll know how to cheer you up better than anybody, and may even remember some stories about your pet that you may have forgotten.


  1. This is a really well written post, Pip. Big love to you and the horsey lover that you are xxx

  2. Beautifully written as always and oh so true. You have captured how people feel when they lose a pet so well. xxx