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Loss of Your Pet

When your pet reaches the end of their life

Nothing can prepare you completely for the time when your pet dies, or has a serious condition that cannot be cured.

Each person reacts uniquely. Your loss is your own and it can feel devastating. This is especially the case when your pet's death is unexpected, or if you are facing, or have already made the decision of euthanasia.

When you grieve, you may have many different feelings. Those include sadness, guilt, relief, anger, and numbness. There is no timetable: grief does not occur in neat stages, and/or move from one feeling to the next. Often, grief can feel more like hard and painful work where you are trying to do one or more of these:

  • Accept the reality of your pets death;
  • Work through the pain that this causes;
  • Adjust to life without your pet;
  • Resolve the emotions associated with your lost pet, so that you can resume the flow of your life.

We may experience all this and begin to deal with these emotions in a matter of days, but sometimes it can take weeks or a few months or longer. And, while all of it is normal, it can sometimes be difficult to get through if people around you, or at work, do not understand your need to grieve.

Before a final decision has to be made, however, there are practical and helpful points that can be considered, some of which you may prefer to let us know in advance:-

  • we will always try our best to make an appointment at a quieter time of day.
  • we can usually offer you a more private side room.
  • we understand if you would rather not be present and prefer to remember your pet as they were, you may leave them with us and we will look after your pet as if they were our own
  • euthanasia is like having a general anaesthetic, not waking up but peacefully passing away.
  • afterwards, please do not feel you have to leave. If you would like to spend some time, you are very welcome.
  • we offer various options afterwards for your pet which we can discuss at any point. If you would prefer an individual cremation where your pet’s ashes are returned, we would recommend using Dignity Crematorium at Hartley Witney. We can arrange this for you if you wish.
  • we routinely use the communal cremation service of a registered pet crematorium (Cambridge Pet Crematorium).
  • we do not ask for payment at the time unless you prefer it this way. Some people prefer to pay in advance whilst others call a few days later or wait for us to send an invoice at a later date.

How we can help

The Moor Cottage team is available to support you through this time. We never wish to intrude, but please know that we are here to help you and we offer a variety of bereavement support.

Loss of Your Pet Booklet

We offer this booklet to everyone - It's a simple resource that provides some gentle signposts, with pages for writing in and an extensive list of other resources. Grief can be unpredictable and, with the pack, you always have something to lean on.

Person-to-person support

We are available for conversation in person and by phone or email

Sometimes you may have questions about your animal's illness or death that are upsetting you. Don't hesitate to contact us during this difficult time.


  • In the Waiting Area, there is a Book of Remembrance where you can put a photograph of your pet and a tribute.

To find out more, just speak to a member of the team.

Counselling & helplines

Grief can be a real struggle at times. If you are finding it difficult to cope, or just want to talk things over with a professional, there are many options available. Below are some examples of where you can find confidential support. Don't hesitate to reach out.

Pet Bereavement Support Service

Cruse Bereavement Care

The Samaritans

British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy

Other resources

There are numerous online resources and books that can be helpful. Here are just a few examples:


  • I Miss My Pet. A First Look at When a Pet Dies by Pat Thomas. Barron's Educational Series, 2012
  • Goodbye Mog by Judith Kerr. Harper Collins Children's Books, 2003
  • Losing a Pet: Coping with the Death of Your Beloved Animal by Jane Matthews. Small Books 2008. Also available in a Kindle edition.
  • Goodbye, Dear Friend: Coming to Terms with the Death of a Pet by Virginia Ironside. JR Books Ltd, 2009 (Also available as a short recording)