A loss of a pet is still a loss.

05/04/2017 9:22 PM AEST |

LINDSAY HOLMES
The author’s dog, Sapp, who loved going for rides and running on golf courses.

“U want to cancel bc ur dog back home died? Haha.”

A few months after I moved to New York in 2013, I learned that my beloved childhood yorkie, Sapp, passed away. I was supposed to go on a date that night ― my first one ever since moving to the city ― and I felt like I just couldn’t handle it. That was the text I got in response to suggesting we reschedule.

I went on the date because I felt bad inconveniencing him. (Ah, young Lindsay. Still had so much to learn.) Part of me hoped that it would be a good distraction. When I got there, I was met with more condescension about my emotions.

Unsurprisingly, the dude didn’t last. But the impact of his dismissive attitude ― which made me feel like I was ridiculous for being sad over my pet ― did. And it wasn’t until a few months later that I actually processed (and cried) over Sapp being gone.

A simple Google search for “pet grief” yields millions of results, proof that many people mourn the loss of a pet. The theme even permeates pop culture: Books and movies have long explored what happens when our beloved dogs predecease us, from classics like “Old Yeller” and “Lassie” to newer tales like Marley and Me and A Dog’s Purpose.

But people can still report feeling embarrassed for grieving a furry friend, especially when others make insensitive comments.

Let’s make one thing clear: There’s nothing frivolous about being in mourning. It’s a lesson I wish I’d understood then. Pets can be just as important as human family members and losing them can be devastating.

Research suggests that human beings feel connected to their furry friends and they feel bonded to us, too. So it makes sense that we feel the magnitude of their passing when they’re gone.

“We need to be more sensitive to pet loss and the grief surrounding it,” grief expert Dan Reidenberg, executive director of Suicide Awareness Voices of Education and chair of the American Psychotherapy Association, told me. “Pets can be in our lives for years. When that constant companion is all of a sudden gone, the grief is not only real but it can be profound.”

Reidenberg stresses the first step to moving forward from the loss is just acknowledging that you’re grieving. Below are a few other tips he says might also help:

Don’t set a time limit on how long you mourn.

Just let the process happen. “If you push it too fast it may come back down the road,” Reidenberg said. “If you delay it, you may find it coming out in different ways, such as irritability, lack of concentration, poor quality of work or trouble in relationships.”

Don’t compare your grief to someone else’s

“If a friend lost their pet and seemed to get over it in a few days but two weeks into your loss and you are still crying, that’s okay,” Reidenberg said. “We are all different in how we process our feelings so be okay being with your grief process.”

Decide what to do with your pet’s things

Some people want to leave their pet’s water dish out, others want to box it up immediately. There’s no one right way to do it. “What is important is to do what makes you comfortable when you are hurting,” Reidenberg explained.

Keep a photo of your pet around

“Just because our pets are gone does not mean you have to totally remove them from your life,” he said. That could mean putting up photos of your furry friend on your desk or keeping an image of them as your phone background.

Seek support if necessary

There are pet loss groups that can help if you’re having difficulties coping. If the loss begins to interfere with your everyday life, Reidenberg recommends reaching out to a mental health professional.

The bottom line, Reidenberg says, is to remember that your emotions may be unexpected but they’re still valid. They certainly were for me.

When I went through a painful breakup, had a bad cold, was dealing with anxiety or just needed a companion, my dog was there. I never spent time imagining a world where he wouldn’t be. The reality of that was difficult to process at first.

A loss of a pet is still a loss. And you’re allowed to grieve over it.

Bios-Urn has finally reached Australian shores, landing in Queensland late September 2016 and then introduced to Western Australia early November 2016 by Bryce Roberts called ‘Tree of Memories; Life after Life’.

 

By using Bios-Urn you are now able to grow a tree from your loved ones ashes, creating a living memorial. This allows you to return your loved ones energies into something more natural and complete the circle of life.

After Bryce’s beloved Rottweiler Sabre was diagnosed with cancer earlier this year and sadly passed away a short time later, he wanted something more meaningful for Sabre’s ashes rather than just a place on a shelf. Bryce set out to source an alternative option and after many hours of searching finally found a site called Bios-Urn.

‘Bios-Urn has really helped me through my grieving process and has given me a sense of relief, closure and comfort. I no longer focus on Sabre’s passing as being the final stage of his life, as I am spending quality time with him every afternoon. Now I am able to see Sabre flourish into a beautiful natural tree, leaf by leaf. I am very thankful to have found Bios-Urn, and to have the opportunity to bring such a fantastic product into Western Australia, giving people the same contentment Bios-Urn has given me.

Bios-Urn is constructed from 100% biodegradable material and has been carefully constructed and designed specifically for Australia’s varying climatic conditions. The simple yet effective design has been created in two sections. The top capsule contains a bag of organic potting mix which maximizes and assists your seedlings growth. The bottom capsule carries the ashes of your loved one or pet.

When purchasing your very own Bios-Urn you have the option to choose the seedling that best suits memories of your loved one, varying from Australian natives, rose bushes or even a fruit tree of your choice. If the intention of moving home is a concern, Bios-Urn can be placed into pots for relocation purposes to keep your loved one with you forever.

If you have a loved one whose wishes are to be cremated but they do not have prior funeral cover, cemeteries can be extremely costly due to overheads such as taxes and maintenance. The nature reserve plot chosen for your loved one is also only secured for a time frame not a lifetime. They are not economical and ecologically, can be toxic in nature as they can leak embalming fluids into the earth.

Bios-Urns are the up and coming ecological and cost effective alternate of the future. Naturally preserving your loved ones life in nature’s gardens ensures you can continually feel a sense of peace as you watch them grow.

Make the decision easier for your family and lead them towards the Eco way of the future that is Bios-Urns.’
Bryce Roberts, Western Australia’s only Bio-Urn distributor “Tree of Memories, Life after Life”

For further information on Bios-Urn, contact Bryce Roberts at: tree_of_memories@yahoo.com