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The Healing Process After Losing a Pet

Although there are many unique theories of grieving with different stages and processes, generally all agree that the following symptoms are very common and to be expected, whichever order they appear in:

• Shock and disbelief, feeling numb, even denial that the loss occurred;

• Sadness, despair, loneliness, feeling empty;

• Guilt, regret, shame, anger, feeling resentful;

• Anxiety, helplessness, insecurity, fear;

• Physical symptoms like fatigue, nausea, sickness, weight loss or gain, aches and pains, night sweats, heart palpitations, feeling faint or lightheaded, and insomnia.

Typically these acute symptoms last for approximately 1 year after the loss, however reminders of your pet and special anniversaries can trigger overwhelming feelings. I will discuss preparing for these memories in my next post.

By Dr. Katie Lawlor


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