[Video] Grieving Death Of Pets

By Julie Hanks, LCSW

I had 2 pet ferrets. One died in January and the other died in June, both of cancer at the age of 5. I was overly attached to them and I was completely devastated when they died, particularly because they both got sick to the point where I had to euthanize them to prevent suffering. This really screwed me up for a while. They were my babies and I think I grieved as if I had lost my children. I thought I was ready for a new pet. It‚s been 6 months and I’ve really been craving some fuzzy company. I started looking into acquiring a cage and supplies with the intention of getting a gerbil in about 2 weeks. Just as I had talked myself into it, I talked myself out of it just as fast. If I get another pet, it’s going to die. It’s going to get sick or old and die and there will be nothing I can do to control it. I cried about the loss of an animal I haven’t even met yet. I can’t handle another pet dying. How can I get another pet if all I can think about is the pet dying? If this is how I’m thinking, does it mean I’m not ready for another pet? Maybe I‚ll resent the new pet because it will never be able to replace my ferrets. So now I’m stuck. I want a pet to cuddle and care for, but I feel like I’m still traumatized by the ferret’s death.

A: Really great question. It’s normal to grieve the loss of a pet and sometimes the intensity of the grief catches people off-guard. It sounds like you were really attached to your ferrets. Watch the video for the complete answer.

Take good care of yourself,

Julie Hanks, LCSW

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 13 Jan 2013

APA Reference
Hanks, J. (2013). [Video] Grieving Death Of Pets. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 21, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/01/13/video-grieving-death-of-pets/