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How to Overcome the Emotional Pain of Losing a Pet

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  • How to Overcome the Emotional Pain of Losing a Pet

    The United States is a pet-loving country. In all, two-thirds of U.S. households own at least own pet (39 percent own at least one dog, and another 36 percent own at least one cat), according to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association (APPMA) 2007-2008 National Pet Owners Survey. Pets are also increasingly looked at as members of the family.

    Americans are not only spending more time and money on their pets (close to $41 billion in 2007), they’re regarding them as an integral part of the household. For instance, 40 percent of people who carry pictures of their spouse and children in their wallet also carry a picture of their pets.

    The aspect of pet ownership that nobody likes to think about -- the loss of a pet -- is therefore an emotionally trying time full of all of the feelings that surround the death of a loved one: grief, sadness, loneliness, and other feelings of loss.
    Grieving for a Lost Pet

    You may find that after your pet's death you follow the five stages of grief that are associated with loss:
    • Denial or disbelief
    • Yearning
    • Anger
    • Depression
    • Acceptance

    The process will be different for everyone, and you may experience all of these stages or just a few. Or, you may bypass these stages altogether and begin your healing process in a different way, using The Sedona Method.

    The Sedona Method teaches you how to let go of negative feelings that naturally arise from a loss. This doesn’t mean that you no longer care for your pet, only that you are allowing yourself to move on and experience feelings of happiness again.

    According to Hale Dwoskin, CEO and director of training of Sedona Training Associates, in order to move past your grief, it’s important to focus on releasing what you are feeling in the present moment.

    “The best feeling to release when you have lost a pet or anything else is whatever you are feeling NOW,” he says. “Most of us get hung up on how we are supposed to feel or what we are supposed to let go of. This does not work. The simplest way to release is to focus on what is actually here now.”

    As you learn to release your feelings of sadness and loss, you will also find that you feel closer to your lost pet.

    “One thing to remember as you do let go is that if you are feeling grief or loss it does not keep you connected to your pet -- it actually causes you to feel separate,” Dwoskin says. “If you let these feelings go you will simply feel the love that you felt before much more easily.”

    You may also find support groups in your area for people who have recently lost pets. A support group allows you to share your feelings with others going through exactly what you are, and can be a useful strategy to use with The Sedona Method.

    After time has passed and your grief has subsided, you may even want to consider another pet. Not, of course, to replace your lost pet, but simply to experience the joy of having an animal in your life once again.

    “Happiness and fulfillment are our natural state. Pets help us get in touch with this natural state of happiness because they take our attention off ourselves and our problems. And when we take our attention off ourselves we always feel happier,” Dwoskin says.
    Purchase Letting Go Movie on DVD
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