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Surviving Pet Loss at The Holidays

It’s supposed to be the happiest time of the year. The most beautiful season of all. You know, all the stuff that the carols say as they crank away everywhere. But, for some, it’s not the happiest season of all. This holiday season might be the first Christmas without a beloved pet, or it’s one of many years that have passed without a special love present. Regardless, this time of year for many is one that is far from joyful and full of glee.

Consider these thoughts during the holiday season:

1. Be kind to yourself. If you feel the tears coming, let them come. Be kind, gentle, and patient with yourself. Treat yourself like you’d treat a dear friend.

2. Give yourself permission to do what feels right to you. If you don’t feel like participating in the company holiday party, don’t do it. If you don’t feel like being a part of a family ritual, take a pass.

3. When the ornaments come out and you see his name, be kind to yourself when the tears present themselves. Continue to hang her stocking or put his ornament on the tree. Continue to make them a real and tangible part of your family’s holiday rituals, and again allowing yourself the reminder that this part of your life was very real.

4. Create a special spot in your holiday decorations that is all about these lost loves in your life.A special tree with ornaments that were just hers. A beautiful candle surrounded by memorable family photos. A gift under the tree, wrapped up for your special pet and holding items to donate in their memory to a local shelter or rescue group.

Honor them still as a part of your family rituals. For this time of year, when love, joy, cheer and presents are abound, take some time and remember all of the gifts that this beloved animal brought to you. Nothing in a box, tied neatly and beautifully with a holiday bow, but even more precious than that. Their presence alone was the best and only gift they had to offer to us, and they did that in only the way that an animal’s unconditional love can do.

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