Losing a pet is one of the hardest things we will ever go through in life. It will make people who never cry shed significant tears.

 It makes sense that the sadness is so profound, after all we have lost a friend who was always there for us, even at our worst. They accept us for who we are and give our life purpose.

So when the time comes to say goodbye, we now have a giant hole in our life. How to fill that hole is a little different for everyone, but here are a few suggestions on dealing with the grief.

In the first few hours after you have said goodbye, sometimes it’s best to get out for a little while. It doesn’t have to be anything too crazy, it can be a walk around a favorite store or having coffee with a friend. It is okay to talk about your pet but it’s also okay if you don’t want to. Do whatever feels right and don’t feel pressured one way or the other. When you do return home, consider moving things around so there aren’t too many painful reminders of your pet such as their bed or their feeding dish. But of course if those things are giving you comfort, by all means leave them where they are for now. Right now this is all about you and what brings you peace.

Social media can be cathartic at moments like these. Sharing photos of your pet online  and reading all of the comments and likes is a way of celebrating their life. If you want to fill your wall with photos of Fido, go for it. If you prefer not to talk about him online at all, that’s perfectly fine too. Do whatever feels good.

Consider eating your favorite comfort foods, especially takeout. Don’t be hard on yourself if you fall away from your diet for a couple of weeks. No one is going to judge you, you’ve been through a lot.

If you don’t feel like going anywhere, go ahead and binge watch some Netflix. There’s nothing like a good crime drama to help you forget about your troubles for a bit.

Allow time to process your grief before jumping on Petfinder. The temptation to adopt another pet right away can be quite strong, but try to give it a little time to be sure this is the right decision for you. This amount of time will be different for everyone, sometimes it’s a couple of weeks but for others it can be years.

As the days and weeks go by, the hole in your life will not simply disappear, it will just become much smaller. The hole will leave a permanent scar, but that scar will eventually become a beautiful memory of the life you had with your pet.