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Grief and Pet Loss

Grief is the normal response to any important loss in life. We grieve over the loss of a pet. Our feelings toward pets are so special that experts have a term for the relationship - the human-animal bond.

The death of a pet means the loss of a non-judgmental love source. These feelings can be particularly strong for the elderly, single people and childless couples.

Stages of Grief - there are 5 stages that are a normal part of the grieving process. Some people will quickly progress through all the phases, while others appear to get stuck in a particular phase.

1. Shock and Denial - the reality of death has not yet been accepted by the bereaved. They feel stunned and bewildered

2. Anger - the grief-stricken person often lashes out at family, friends or the world in general. They will also experience feelings of guilt during this stage

3. Bargaining - in this stage the bereaved asks for a deal or reward from either God, the vet or the clergy - comments like "I'll go to church every day, if only my pet will come back to me

4. Depression - occurs as a reaction to the changed way of life created by the loss. The person feels sad, drained and helpless. The pet is missed and thought about constantly

5. Acceptance - acceptance comes when the changes brought upon by the person are stabilised into a new lifestyle

At Forrest Hill Vet Clinic we understand the anguish that can occur after the loss of a pet. We offer the following resource to help you through this most difficult time


Ten tips for dealing with pet loss


Support Available for Children, Young people and Adults After the Death of a Pet

Skylight is a not for profit agency supporting people through tough times – whatever the cause and whatever their age or circumstances.

A Resource and Information Service on issues of loss, trauma and grief – including pet loss, grief, bereavement and self care. For pet loss articles and links go to

Titles can be loaned on request and posted anywhere in NZ. To enquire about loans email [email protected]


Pets Garden of Remembrance "Eirever"

593 State Highway 17
- an outstanding privately owned park - a wonderful final resting place for your pet.
They offer a collection and burial service and your pet's grave will be marked with an engraved marker stone.   Visiting is welcome.   They also offer a cremation service and ashes may be buried or scattered.   Telephone Dave or Jackie Stephens, 4159949.


Let me Go

When I come to the end of the road
And the sun has set for me
I want no rites in a gloom-filled room
Why cry for a soul set free

Miss me a little - but not too long
And not with your head bowed low.
Remember the love that we once shared
Miss me - but let me go.

For this is a journey that we all must take
And each must go alone
It is all part of the master plan
A step to the road home.

When you are lonely and sick of heart
Go to the friends we know
And bury your sorrows in doing good deeds
Miss me - but let me go.