When your pet dies, it is a natural inclination to believe you had a part in it or you didn’t do enough on your own to help prolong their life. However, just like humans, pets get sick, catch diseases or get into accidents that are often uncontrollable by their owners. No matter the circumstances, the owner of a deceased pet cannot help but feel emotional pain and guilt.
Don’t Run Through All The Scenarios
Perhaps you weren’t quick enough with the door and your dog ran outside or your cat was lying in the driveway and was unseen by your family members. Either way, the guilty conscious always follows, even if it was a careless mistake that obviously was meant to cause no harm.
We feel this way because of cause and effect. When something goes wrong, we make excuses. We want answers, and we demand closure. Could this have been prevented? What if I shut the door 5 seconds quicker? What if that food had something too sharp in it for my dog to handle? All of these questions are demanding an answer, an answer we put on ourselves as if we are the antagonist, the villain in our pet’s life.
Remember the Good Times
Though guilt can be a very strong emotion, train yourself to ease this feeling and accept what cannot be changed. Choosing balance and forgiveness for ourselves is what will get us on a path of closure and back to good memories of our beloved pets. After all, they are not just our best friends. We were once their best friend too. That idea of remembering the good times you had with a pet will definitely help you move on from the grief of not having them there anymore.
You might see a toy, their favorite spot to nap or just another dog, and instead of feeling a wave of guilt, just remember why they loved that toy, that spot or what the other pet owner is feeling in the present moment. When you overcome the negativity and replace it with positivity or optimism, you’ll move beyond and feelings of doubt or guilt.