Sudden death of your pet

Little Dab on tableWhen your beloved pet dies a sudden death, the feelings of grief are especially intense. It’s such a shock, that it can be difficult to accept that it actually happened.

Saying goodbye

In his book “The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying” Sogyal Rinpoche writes on p. 312, that it’s very important for survivors of sudden death to go see the body in order to realize it actually happened. And he advices that survivors, if possible, should sit quietly by the body, say what they need to, and begin to say goodbye.

This is not an easy thing to do at all, but I find it might be helpful.

In the case of the sudden death of a pet, though, sudden death often means a violent or tragic death such as the pet being hit by a car. In that case, it might be best to use a picture of the pet and begin to say your goodbyes by looking at that picture instead.

Not knowing is worse

From my own experience, just knowing, getting confirmation that the pet has died is a relief in a sense. The pain of the loss is still as huge, but the knowing brings a kind of peace. The not knowing, I find, is very hard, and almost makes it impossible to find closure or relief.

I remember that clearly from a cat I had, who was run over by a car. One morning he was missing after his nightly rounds, and even though I suspected the worst, I still kept walking the streets for days at all hours, calling and looking for him. Then one day a kind woman who had seen the missing cat-notice I had put up, called me and said she had found him dead, run over by a car.

Getting that call made me break down, but at the same time, it brought a strange sense of peace – having knowledge. I know that if I had not gotten that confirmation, I would most likely have kept on hoping and looking for him.

When facing sudden death, we’re tempted to deny that the death has occurred. For example, when my cat went missing, on that same morning I went to where he usually slept and heard his meow loud and clear – but he wasn’t there. That doesn’t usually happen, so I got a bad feeling and an inner knowing about his death.

And later, when I contacted him through the spiritual method of shamanic journeying, he didn’t say specifically whether he was dead or alive, he just said:

“Remember the love”.

And I do. I remember the love we shared and all the happy moments.


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Marianne Soucy About Marianne Soucy

Marianne Soucy is the founder of Healing Pet Loss and author of “Healing Pet Loss: Practical Steps for Coping and Comforting Messages from Animals and Spirit Guides” and host of the Healing Pet Loss Podcast. She is also the founder of Give Your Dream Wings Coaching.


  1. Jennifer says:

    Missing my beloved dog moose so so so much

  2. Tom Kroplinski says:

    I am still in shock. Our beloved Suki was killed sometime last night by a coyote. My wife found her torn and blodied body in our fron yard. I will never forget her scream as long as I live. Only my own screaming drowned out the sound. We cried and held each other as tightly as a drowning person might hold a rescuer. We have tried to go about our day, but it’s like we are sleepwalking.

  3. Linda Willis says:

    As I write this I have tears coming down my face….I just found my cat Brady dead under my bed; he was fine mere hours ago and now he’s gone. A feisty but damaged cat, I inherited him when he was a year old; a friend had him as akitten and had to give him up for his safety (sh had a abusive son)…compulsive, fearful of men but very sweet and loving to me…..I just have to ask myself “why?” My final loving moments with Brady was sitting at the computer and himself laying on the table right in front of the keyboard with his head on my arm fast asleep……… Goodbye Brady~

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