Why Mourning The Loss Of Your Pet Is Important.

Some Ideas On How And Why To Grieve. Allowing Yourself And Your Kids To Grieve.

By Claire Preston, Certified in Pet Loss and Grief Companioning, with Pet Honor Society June 17, 2018


If you suffered the loss of a close family member, what might those you know do for you?  You may receive a sympathy or mass card, receive bereavement time off from work, have a charitable donation made in your family member’s name, receive flowers or a fruit basket, have friends drop off a meal so your family doesn’t have to cook, hold a funeral or memorial service, get phone calls to see how you’re doing, or a variety of other things that show care and concern for your loss.  

So now I need to ask - What would those same people do if you suffered the loss of your pet?  Think about that for a minute.  I bet your list is pretty short.  The important question is – Why do people treat this loss any differently?  You’ve still lost someone you love.  You still need to grieve and mourn that loss.  Your pain is just as real as if you’d lost a human if not worse, yet this kind of loss is often minimized or even ignored.  Why???

In a recent End of Life Care/Pet Loss Study by Sandra Grossman, Ph.D. and Ellie Freedman, LMFT, their results showed that 83% of participants received no type of support whatsoever after the loss of their pets, yet 87% of those same participants felt that receiving some type of support was either very or somewhat important. My goal with Pet Honor Society is to change this!  We love our pets as members of our family and we hurt deeply when we lose them.  Where are the cards, flowers, memorial services, paid time off and meal deliveries to help us through our pet loss?  The days of a pet being just an animal are long gone.  More and more of us are working from home, allowing us more time to bond with our pets.  Many people are waiting until later in life to have children, so our pets become our children.  The luckiest pets get to sleep in our beds with us.  Pets have become our little toddlers who are completely dependent on us for all their needs, and they provide us with unconditional love in exchange.  Our bonds with them are stronger than they’ve ever been, and we hurt deeply when their short lives come to an end.  We desperately need support when we lose them.

Pet Honor Society understands the strength of the human-animal bond and the huge hole left in your heart when your beloved pet crosses the Rainbow Bridge.  We offer grief support to help you work through your loss.  If you’re not receiving the support you need from your friends and family, know that a compassionate ear is available to you by appointment in person or by phone.  If you’d like to honor your pet with a memorial service to celebrate the love you shared, we can help you plan a service ranging from something private and simple to something public and grand!  We also offer a wide variety of memorial items to help honor your cherished pet’s life such as beautiful urns, glass cremation art, 3D laser crystals, custom engraved jewelry, grave markers and more.  With private appointments available in our Fort Collins office, you can view our various product samples that allow you to see, touch and feel our displays so you can find the item that best represents the memory of your pet.  In addition, our catalogs are on our website so you can sit in the comfort of your own home to browse through our selections and make your choice.  We encourage you to mourn your loss in any way you need to, and we’re here to assist you with turning your pain into beautiful memories of your precious little ones.  

There are many things you can do in the privacy of your own home to help deal with your loss.  A quick search of “pet loss” on Facebook will bring up a wide variety of online pet loss support groups.  There are many books available on pet loss as well.  My favorite book for adults is “When Your Pet Dies: A Guide to Mourning, Remembering, and Healing” by Dr. Alan Wolfelt. For children, a book like “A Special Place for Charlee: A Child’s Companion Through Pet Loss” by Debbie Morehead can be very helpful.  Setting up a memorial area in your home with your pet’s food bowls, leash, collar, ID tags, favorite toys, and photos is a wonderful way to honor your pet’s life. Making a scrapbook of your favorite memories with your pet is a great way to remember them.  Creating a memorial garden in your backyard is yet another way to express your love.  The important thing to remember is not to keep your feelings inside.  This is a time to release your emotions through tears, talking about your pet, memorializing them in a special way, and acknowledging your loss.  In time, your pain will lessen and the beautiful memories you shared with your special pet will remain in your heart forever.  

Our pets lives are ever so short, but absolutely worth every minute.  As Garth Brooks so eloquently put it, “I could’ve missed the pain, but I’d have had to miss the dance.”  Our pets lead us from patience to love and then to loss . . . but it is always a journey worth taking.  If I can be of assistance to you on your journey through loss, please contact Claire Preston, Certified in Pet Loss and Grief Companioning, with Pet Honor Society by phone at (970) 631-7320, e-mail at or visit our website at