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There are five stages of grief that are common with adults and children that have suffered a loss. The Kubler-Ross model, commonly known as the Five Stages of Grief, was first introduced by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in her 1969 book, On Death and Dying. It is important to remember we are all individuals and may not go through all the stages, nor may we go through them in the sequential order. These stages are listed to help provide you with a little knowledge of what you may expect.
Stage One: Denial
"This can't believe this is happening!" Pet owners whom have suffered a loss may at first feel nothing-a complete numbness. It is common for the pet owner to wonder why there is a lack of feeling behind the loss.
Stage Two: Anger
"How dare this happen to me!" After a time of experiencing numbness it is common to feel very angry. Anger is a common manifestation of loss.
Stage Three: Bargaining
"I would do anything just to have my pet back." A pet owner who has lost a pet often vacillates during this stage. They may ruminate and go over and over in their minds of what they may have done differently that could have prolonged the life of their pet.
Stage Four: Depression
"I am hurting so much; I don't feel like doing anything." Depression comes in many forms and symptoms presented vary widely. Some symptoms include changes in sleeping, changes in eating, or general malaise.
Stage Five: Acceptance
"I know my pet is in a better place." Usually, over time, pet owners come to realize that their pet may be in a better place as the pet is no longer suffering. There is no time frame on grief. It is important to be kind to yourself and to allow yourself to go through these stages at your own pace.
If you or a family member is suffering over the loss of your pet it is important to seek help with a counselor. To assist you with finding a counselor call:
- A mental health therapist
- Look for support groups through the Pet Loss and Bereavement Association
- Your Church
- Talk with your family and friends
Finally, Pawsitive Expression Care package includes a book written by a licensed Psychologist that helps individuals and families with issues on pet loss and coping skills.