Losing a pet can be extremely difficult. They’re a part of our family and are often gone too soon. Pet loss doesn’t receive the same support as other depressing life events, either. Not everyone in your life will understand what it means to lose a pet that is very close to you.
That’s where pet loss support groups come in. They can help support those who have lost a close pet, especially if there isn’t anyone close to you who knows what you’re going through. These groups connect you with others who have lost pets so everyone can support each other.
There are many benefits of going to a pet loss support group that we will cover in this article.
The 7 Benefits of Going to a Pet Loss Support Group
1. Emotional Support
Pet loss support groups provide a safe, non-judgmental environment. Not everyone understands what losing a pet is all about. Sometimes, you may feel embarrassed to share your feelings with some of your friends or family members. You may feel dismissed or misunderstood.
By joining a group where others know what you’re going through, you can feel understood and comforted. They can provide encouragement that you may not be able to get from anyone else. This support can make you feel less isolated and gives you someone to talk to.
2. Sharing Your Story
Sometimes, pets are taken in a traumatic manner. Your pet may have been injured in an accident, for instance. Even if your pet didn’t pass away traumatically, it can still be emotionally distressing. Often, sharing your story helps you cope with the grief, as it helps you craft a story. Humans understand the world through stories.
You can also listen to members with similar stories and learn from their coping strategies, insights, and lessons. This can help you process your grief and find meaning and purpose in your loss. It can also help you realize that you are not alone in your journey and that there is hope for recovery.
Sometimes, others can also help you celebrate your pet.
3. Understanding From Other Members
In a pet support group, you can connect with others who have gone through the same situation, helping you understand how pet grieving works. You’ll meet people in the same position as you, as well as people who lost their pets months ago. Seeing people at all stages of grief can help you understand the process a bit better.
Plus, the other members may help you understand your feelings. They likely have similar feelings, which helps them offer some insight.
4. Learn Coping Skills
Those who have come before you have developed coping skills, and you can learn from these coping skills to help deal with your own grief. You can get tips and suggestions to help you learn how to take care of yourself during this hard time. You’ll be able to manage your stress and emotions a bit better, which is always a positive.
You may find healthy outlets for your pain through one of these groups. Many pet loss support groups volunteer at pet-related causes, for instance. Some groups have programs specifically designed to teach these coping skills. These programs may be particularly good at helping you cope with grief.
5. New Perspective
By seeing where others are after their loss, you can get a new perspective on pet loss. You’ll hear stories and experiences of others who have gone through the different stages of grief and may see how they have changed into a new person. You may find extra meaning and purpose in your life, which can help cope with the loss of your pet.
Talking with others can broaden your horizons and outlook. A good place to find other people who know what you’re going through is with a support group.
The world often doesn’t view pets as pet lovers do. Therefore, it’s easy to feel judged or dismissed when grieving a pet. This may make you feel like your feelings are wrong in some way, preventing you from working through them. Obviously, this isn’t good for the grieving process.
With that said pet support groups are a great place where these feelings are validated instead of minimized. These groups involve many different members who have the same feelings as you, which can be very validating. Being validated can help you work through your feelings.
7. Finding New Friends
Other people in the support group likely care about pets as deeply as you do. This similar interest can help bond you with others in the group and make new friends. You’ll meet others with interests and values similar to yours, offering you companionship.
The extra companionship can be very helpful when you’re going through grief. Plus, it’s always a positive to have more friends.
Pet loss support groups are rarer than they should be. However, you can now find many different options online. In larger cities, you can also find pet loss support groups, though they are uncommon in less populated areas.
Joining one of these groups has many benefits, especially if you aren’t getting very understanding responses about your grief from others. Friends and family don’t always understand how much our pets mean to us.
Featured Image Credit: Andrea Piacquadio, Pexels