The loss of a pet can be devastating. Animals love us wholeheartedly – something that we cannot find often in human relationships. The connection between a human and an animal is profound. We feel connected and loved. Losing that relationship can be an agonizing experience and often the loss is not validated by others who simply have never had a pet or who just don’t understand the significance of the loss. The grieving process is the same as if one has lost a significant other – a spouse, a family member, a close friend. Losing a pet can result in one feeling alone and isolated – misunderstood.
EMDR can be helpful when one has lost a pet – particularly if the loss is experienced intensely as is often the case. The combination of supportive counseling and EMDR is ideal in helping the individual manage the intense grief. Another option is participating in a group specifically focused for people who have lost their beloved pets.
In addition, individuals who are dealing with illness of a pet or an aging pet often struggle with anticipatory grief. A group that consists of others in the same situation can be very helpful to lessen the anxiety that accompanies the dread of losing one’s animal.
Death is a part of life – we all know that intellectually. However, when we lose someone significant – a person or an animal who we have loved and who has loved us, we mourn. Grief is normal but we don’t have to do it alone.