How could the death of her dog hurt as much as the death of her father?
Intensity and longevity of grief and the mourning of a companion animal may rise to the emotional level of the loss of a family member or friend.
Grief varies widely for each person in symptom and process. Some cry and sob, or feel numb. Some feel depressed and guilty about choosing euthanasia, while others feel a profound sadness. There are those who withdraw while others have an urge to talk about their pets, or yearn and search for them for months.
The other factor that can complicate grief is a personal history of past losses which when triggered by the death of a pet, may bring back old intrusive memories.
Often people grieve in silence because they are afraid that others will trivialize their pain. It is important to be able to express grief in an emotionally healthy way free of embarrassment or shame.
Whenever a person becomes ready to face the loss, if needed, they can greatly benefit from the empathy of others who will listen. One of the best modalities is a support group led by a professional.
Vera Muller Paisner LCSW/Psychoanalyst
Pet Bereavement Groups @ WFC Westport CT. Call for information