The loss of a beloved pet is never easy, but it can be made more challenging during the holidays. With the “holly jolly” songs, fast paced frenzy, and obligations, grief can feel contradictory to the merriment of the season.  But there are ways to be true to your emotions and make the holidays a time for you to honor your pet, remember the wonderful memories, and find meaning and comfort.

Your friends at Fairview Veterinary Hospital understand the emotions that come with losing a pet companion. It’s especially important to have good supports in place and healthy ways to appreciate the memories, and create new ones, too.

5 Ways to Make the Holidays Meaningful after a Loss

Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other big family-oriented holidays are wonderful in most circumstances; but if this is the first holiday season without your pet, you may wonder how you can get through it. The season isn’t always simply about cheer, it can be deeply meaningful, a chance to reminisce and honor our loved ones, including the pets we have lost.

Despite the sadness, it can be a touching and heartfelt season with some self-care and new traditions. Here are some suggestions to make the season your own.

  1. Plan ahead and choose your activities – If certain parties or events seem like too much, then change your plans. In some cases, you may wish to create your own tradition this year that focus on volunteering, walking shelter puppies, or having a low key dinner with close loved ones.
  2. Make a special tree, altar, or other festive memorial – You can include the memory of your loved one by choosing a special place to keep their spirit close. Some pet owners make ornaments, light a special candle for the table, or plant a memorial tree that you can look at throughout the year.
  3. Make a donation in your pet’s name – There are many opportunities during the holidays to give. Nonprofits, shelters, and animal rescues all need donations, gently used items, and time year-round. If you can’t donate, a gift made in your pet’s name can be a heartfelt expression of your love.
  4. Create a new tradition – The holidays don’t always have to be about gatherings, food, and the traditional feast. If the memories and traditions of the holidays seem too overwhelming this year, opt to do something that brings you joy, such as travel, taking a class, or challenging yourself to complete a 5K. Whatever you choose to do, you can always adjust the meaning of the holidays to something that lifts your spirit.
  5. Take care of yourself – Going through loss is an exhausting and emotional time. You will likely need more rest and time to heal than normal, and that is perfectly fine. Get in tune with how you are doing and honor that. 

Are You Dealing with Pet Loss?

The team at Fairview is here to help you get through this time. If you have questions about pet loss during the holidays, or any other pet related questions, please feel free to call us. We wish you a warm, meaningful season.