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  • Writer's pictureJason Drake, LCSW-S, BCN

Coping with the Unthinkable: 7 Tips for Teens & Young Adults When Losing a Pet

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Navigating the loss of a beloved pet can be an extremely challenging experience, particularly for young adults and teens who often count their pets as family members.

This blog post is designed to provide a supportive guide on coping with the sadness and depression that can come from the grief associated with losing a pet, offering practical tips and comforting insights tailored to a younger audience.

From creating a memory space to engaging in memorial activities, to seeking professional support, these strategies can help young hearts on their journey through grief.

What's This Feeling?

Grief is a natural response when we lose something we love, and the loss of a pet can be especially hard to bear. It's completely normal to feel sad, depressed, angry, lonely, or even guilty after the death of a furry friend.

However, there are healthy ways to cope with these emotions and move forward while cherishing the memories of our cherished companions.

Below we provide 7 tips that have helped others who are struggling with the sadness and depression that comes from grief and loss.

1. Recognize Your Feelings

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Grieving is Personal

Every individual's journey through grief is unique. Some might feel intense waves of sadness or depression, while others could be overwhelmed with a sense of numbness.

It's crucial to understand that whatever you're feeling is valid and that there's no 'right' way to grieve.

Teenagers and young adults are often navigating the complexities of growing up while also experiencing significant change. The relationship with a pet, which might have been a constant in their lives, can make the process of letting go that much more poignant.

Embracing Your Emotions

As you grapple with the loss, it's important to give yourself permission to feel and express your emotions. Talking with trusted friends or family members can offer solace.

You may also find comfort in creative outlets such as writing, drawing, or playing music, using these as channels for your emotional expression.

2. Create a Memorial

A Space for Remembering

Creating a memorial for your pet can serve as a tangible reminder of the love and joy they brought into your life. This could be as simple as printing and framing a photo or as elaborate as planting a tree in their honor.

Keeping Memories Alive

Recalling fond memories with your pet and sharing stories with others who knew them can keep their spirit alive. Interactive memorials, like scrapbooks or online tributes, not only honor your pet's legacy but can also be therapeutic by maintaining a connection to the joyful moments you shared.

3. Stick to a Routine

A Source of Stability

In the wake of a pet's passing, sticking to a daily routine can provide stability during a time when life might feel turned upside down. Consistency, like feeding times or regular walks, can also help regulate your own emotional well-being.

Lean on Structure

Focusing on schoolwork, hobbies, and extracurricular activities can be a welcome distraction and a source of comfort. Engaging in exercises can release endorphins, uplifting your mood, and schools' social structures provide a supportive environment to interact with peers and find solace in a community.

4. Reach Out for Support

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You Are Not Alone

One of the most important things to remember while grieving is that you are not alone. Friends and family provide an emotional safety net and knowing that others care and understand can be reassuring.

The Power of Shared Experience

If you're struggling to cope, don't hesitate to seek the help of a teen therapist or counselor for young adults who specializes in young adult therapy and teen counseling.

Therapists at practices like Sugar Land Teen & Family Counseling are experienced in supporting teens and young adults through challenging times and provide a safe space for expression and healing.

5. Let Time Work Its Magic

Healing Doesn't Have a Clock

Grief is a process and healing takes time. Initially, it might feel like the pain will never fade, but with each passing day, the burden often becomes lighter.

Patience with Yourself

Give yourself the grace to heal at your own pace. There is no rush to 'get over it.' Allow yourself the time to grieve and remember that it's okay to have good days followed by not-so-good ones.

The goal is not to erase the memory of your pet but to integrate it into a life that continues to move forward.

6. Engage in Nature

The Simple Beauty of Outdoors

Nature can be a source of peace and solace, especially after the loss of a pet. Spending time in the fresh air, perhaps in a favorite spot where you and your pet once shared moments, can help ease your mind.

Pursue Wellness

Participating in activities like hiking, gardening, or birdwatching can be particularly therapeutic. Not only do they provide an outlet for your emotions, but they also connect you to life beyond your loss and into the beauty of the natural world, which your pet may have enjoyed as well.

7. Consider a New Partnership

Recreating Bonds

While no pet can replace the one you've lost, welcoming a new pet into your life can bring unexpected joy and comfort. This decision should not be rushed and should be made when you feel genuinely ready to open your home and heart to a new furry companion.

Preparing for Change

Adopting or fostering a pet is an undertaking that requires preparation, commitment, and emotional readiness. Consider the changes in your lifestyle and your ability to provide care before bringing a new pet into your environment. When the timing is right, the new relationship can bring renewal and happiness.

Wrapping it Up

Losing a pet is a significant and painful form of loss that deserves acknowledgment and tender care. Teens and young adults facing this challenge can find strength and healing through both time-tested methods and innovative therapeutic approaches.

Therapist Who Specialize in Teen Therapy and Counseling for Young Adults

Professional support from therapists specializing in teen and young adult therapy, such as the team at Sugar Land Teen & Family Counseling, can provide invaluable guidance and strategies for coping with pet loss.

These experts offer a range of services tailored to the needs of young people, ensuring that the journey through grief is as gentle and empowering as possible.

For young hearts struggling with the weight of pet loss, remember that there is a landscape of support ready to embrace and guide you through this difficult time.

Whether through creating memorials, seeking solace in nature, or engaging with professionals who understand your unique needs, there are pathways to healing that can be woven into the fabric of your life.

With these tools, you can honor your pet's memory while embracing the moment and the future with hope and comfort.

Sometimes, in the midst of our grief, turning to those trained to help us can be the kindest step of all. Let the outlet of therapy at Sugar Land's leading practice be the safe harbor you need.

Through the journey of loss, and into the light of resilience, our furry friends will have left a legacy not just in our hearts but in the very way we learn to cope and grow.

Sugar Land Teen & Family Counseling: Specialists in Teen Counseling & Young Adult Therapy

Sugar Land, TX & Houston

Losing a pet creates a lot of sadness and depression. There are ways to cope with the depression to help it pass quicker and not be as deep.

If your teen or young adult is struggling to move on, don't wait. Now is the time to seek out a counselor who specializes in teen counseling and young adult therapy.

Sugar Land Teen & Family Counselinglocated in Sugar Land, TX, is conveniently located off of US 90 and Dairy Ashford Road.

We also have our Katy, TX location, Katy Teen & Family Counseling, which is located right off of I-10 and Grand Parkway/Hwy 99 in Katy, TX.

If you are ready to meet with one of our teen therapists or young adult therapists or our neurofeedback therapist, all you need to do is follow these three simple steps:

  1. Contact Sugar Land Teen & Family Counseling

  2. Talk with one of our caring therapists 

  3. Begin the healing process today!

Other Therapy and Counseling Services Offered at Sugar Land Teen & Family Counseling

At Sugar Land Teen & Family Counseling, we provide a variety of therapy approaches that are supported by research and shown to be effective. Some of the teen therapy and young adult counseling we offer are:

Board Certified Neurofeedback Therapy

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR Therapy)

Group Therapy for Teens

Teen Depression

Teen Anxiety

Teen Social Anxiety

Teen Panic Attacks

Body Image

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Couples Therapy & Marriage Counseling

Couples Therapy and Marriage Counseling can be very effective. The secret ingredient to success is each person willing to look at themselves and work to do things differently, together. When a marriage counselor or couples therapist has this to work with, the success rate can be very high.

Sometimes life will throw challenges at us that create situations that put strain on our marriage or relationship. It may be due to:

Choices and actions that have been made by one partner.

  • Financial downturn in the economy creating financial strain.

  • Feeling like you're growing apart.

  • Feeling like you don't have as much in common as you used to.

Whatever the reason may be, marriage counseling and couples therapy can help. Couples therapy and marriage counseling has also been found to work in less time than individual therapy.

If you've worked hard for this relationship and find that there are now barriers in the way of maintaining a healthy relationship, contact us at Sugar Land Teen & Family Counseling. 

About the Author

A man sitting at a desk with a pink, short sleeved polo shirt on, waring glasses, a silver watch, he has a beard and is smiling. He is a marriage therapist sugar land, tx and a marriage counselor sugar land, tx. He also provides couples therapy near me sugar land, tx and is a couples therapist near me sugar land, tx 77478.

Jason Drake is a Licensed Clinical Worker - Supervisor (LCSW-S), Board Certified in Neurofeedback, EMDR trained, and a Certified Brain Health Professional through the Amen Clinics. He has provided therapy to teens, young adults, and families since 2003 and is the Owner & Lead Clinician at Sugar Land Teen & Family Counseling, Katy Counseling for Men, & Katy Teen & Family Counseling.

He specializes in leading teams of high performing therapists who also specialize in teen therapy, counseling young adults, and family counseling.

Jason is also a leader in the field of teen, young adult, and family counseling providing expert coaching and technical assistance to teen Residential Treatment Centers across the country.

Jason is also a regular contributor to various magazines and publications lending his expertise to various mental health related topics. You can check these articles out on our "Featured Articles" service page on our sister practice, Katy Teen & Family Counseling's, website.

He has also been a guest on Fox 26 Houston and on the podcasts, "Grow a Group Practice" with Alison Pidgeon, "Let's Talk With Jennifer B", and the "Marketing Matters" podcast with Ashley Brock. 

If you are ready to start teen counseling or young adult therapy call, text, or email us today!

Phone Number: (832) 979-4989

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