Most people consider their dog to be a part of the family. Some even going as far as to buy them Christmas presents and even birthday presents. You take your dog to the vet, buy them the food they need, walk them every day. To say the least, you love your pet.
At some point though, this all must come to an end like all good things and your dog passes away. For some, it is much earlier than the "expected" 15 years, perhaps due to a disease or even as a result of an accident. For others after years of watching pet deteriorate from growing old, you either have to put your dog to sleep or they will pass naturally in their own time.
Needless to say, this is a very difficult time for all involved in the dog's life. If you have children, this may be their first experience of bereavement, so you have to help them grieve as well as go through the process yourself. The most important thing to remember is there is no wrong way to deal with your dog's death. While it may seem strange however you choose to cope, whatever makes you feel better is perfectly fine. You might find some comfort from one or all of the following ideas:
Burying your pet yourself, and holding a family funeral for her.
- Volunteering to help other animals at a shelter or as a fundraiser.
- Creating a scrapbook of your pet.
- Having your pet cremated, and keeping the urn.
- Crying to your heart's content.
Getting a new dog to focus on could also help, especially for the kids, but it is always better to allow the grieving process to finish, otherwise, your new dog will always be living in the shadow of her predecessor - often being the subject of unfair comparison.
You might be able to find support from a local shelter or an online group that specializes in dealing with the death of your dog (perhaps in a breed specific forum?). There are always other people out there that are dealing with the same thing you are. Reach out to them, and maybe between the two of you, you can find something to help you cope with your dog's passing, and in the meantime, you will have found a new friend.
Your vet might also be able to give you additional ideas on how to cope with your pet's death. But trying to remember them in a good way, and know they are no longer in pain will be a great start. No one you meet is ever going to replace your dog, but you can find happiness by taking care of other animals, maybe one that needs you. Just keep your options open and continue trying new things, sooner or later one will work and the pain will begin to ease.