“I miss my dead dog so much! I cannot help but cry….” Hassan, a close buddy of mine, bursts into tears, recalling the moments he spent with Zorawar, a Bandogge Mastiff whom he kept as a guard dog for his farmland. Hassan was crying neither for the imminent insecurity of his land nor for losing an expensive dog breed – he only mourned the death of a dear friend.
I have also had a chance to meet Zorawar multiple times. He was very friendly and worth having as a companion, an accurate impersonation of his name – ‘the powerful’ in the Persian language.
I could completely understand the emptiness Hassan felt, as I too am a dog parent myself—in 2021, I lost a dog and a cat. The cat was my sister’s, with which I had developed quite a bond.
To help grieving pet parents, I have decided to pen some tips on how to cope with the situation effectively.
I Miss My Dead Dog So Much: Is It Normal?
Yes, it is perfectly normal to miss your dead dog. According to research, the loss of a pet dog can be as severe as the loss of a relative in human beings.
As per psychologists, the loss of a dog can be excruciating because of the loyalty and unconditional love exclusive to this particular animal. Having the pain in mind, people can have a severe disruption in their daily lives and schedules. A survey reveals that owners of dead dogs can even interpret different sounds reaching their ears as their late dog’s pants and whimpers.
How Do I Get Over the Grief of Losing a Dog?
Unfortunately, you may continue to suffer symptoms of pet loss grief for about six months. At a minimum, they can subside within just three months, but in some cases, they may prolong for more than a year. However, remember that there is no exact schedule for how long one might take to feel normal after sudden shocks.
Under such circumstances, it is natural for you to seek help getting over the pain. Luckily, there exist some ways to ease the situation.
Come by the New Normal
Losses are part of life – the sooner we accept them, the better for us. Yes, you will be engulfed by sadness and anxiety due to your lovely pooch’s demise, and we completely understand that, but in the end, you have to move on. Also, experts agree that the healing process can be accelerated if we become okay with what has happened.
Remember Good Times
It is said that the mind wants to forget, but the heart will always remember. True – some memories do not hurt; they are heartwarming and can lead you into a state of ‘ecstasy’ where you only feel happy.
Get the photo of your deceased dog on your phone as wallpaper. Besides, cherish the good, fun moments you spent together.
Quash the Blame
Being human beings, it is natural for us to hold ourselves accountable for any loss, even if there is no blame on us.
Get over it as early as you can, or it will hinder your healing process unintentionally. Instead, remember the events when you did your utmost to care for your furry pal.
Sharing Is Caring
Sharing is caring. By talking to other people about your loss, you can save yourself from excessive grief. On the other hand, if you only suppress your negative feelings, it may result in serious psychological issues.
Most of us do not talk about our losses because we think people will have no impact. At worst, in societies where dogs are not much valued, people do not vent their grief, fearing the negative responses of callous people. But you should not let anything stop you: start with your closest friends, and you will be good to go. To go the extra mile, try writing your ordeal and getting it published, or you can also hold a memorial ceremony where only your closest friends and family members are invited.
Get Professional Help
If you are almost alone to vent your feelings, never settle down: consider talking to a professional psychologist and let him or her know your situation to get the best advice. You can also take the help of the Humane Society of the United States. Call the local support group and share what you have got.
Get a New Dog
It is an excellent idea to get a new pup after losing the old one to compensate for your loss.
Raise the new dog like you had raised the previous one – treat him the same. But here is a piece of advice: try going for large dogs instead of teacup breeds because the former have fewer behavioral and health problems, and, thus, there will be no extra burden on you, easing your recovery from loss grief.
Can I Meet My Dead Dog When I Die?
It is a matter of faith. In some religions, it is believed that the people and belonging – even a dog – we have in this worldly life will be with us in the afterlife too. Conversely, some faith says that the same will be there but in a different form, perhaps better. Likewise, some religions are silent on what we can have in the afterlife and what we cannot.
Vice Versa: Do Dogs Remember Their Dead Owner Too?
Affirmative. Dogs do remember their dead owners. Unlike the common perception, dogs have emotional feelings towards someone they endear to or even a person whom they consider a pack leader if she or he happens to be no longer around. Even if dogs do not ‘understand’ that their owner is dead, they can certainly feel the absence.
Furthermore, dogs even mourn the death of their owners. The period usually ranges up to two months, but it can go for even longer in some cases. However, if mourning persists even after a long time, dogs might need psychological attention.
I Miss My Dead Dog So Much: Final Words
Surely, dogs leave paw prints on our lives; that is why missing a dead pooch is normal, and it may take even a year to get over it. However, it is very important to realize that you must not get stuck in the past, or you may jeopardize your well-being, both mental and physical. There are, fortunately, several ways to help you out with this.
It is a general thought that a person who has never owned a dog has missed a wonderful part of life. So cheer up, you have lost a dog, but you have not missed a glorious phase of your existence!