There are very distinct, yet overlapping, phases of grief. We go through the stages in various orders and in varying degrees on the road to recovering from any loss. If we lose a jacket at the ballpark, we may go through all the stages in a few minutes. If the jacket was one that was given to us by our brother on our birthday, it may take much more time.
If the animal was a family pet and stayed outside, it may not hit us as hard as if he were our own companion and greeted us each night when we came in the door. If your pet was a companion and best friend, the mourning will be a deep one.
1. Shock/Denial/Numbness. We can not believe this has happened to us. Our body and emotions numb themselves against the pain. The mind denies the loss. Often we will say things like "This can't be true." One of the valid reasos for memorials and funerals is to acknowledge that death did take place.
2. Fear/AngerDepression. After the numbness wears off and we are once again able to feel, then all of our repressed feelings come roaring back. Sometimes these feeling ared not rational at first and can seedk someone to blame, either an outsider or ourselves. "I can't share how sad I am about my dog, because my co-workers will think I am crazy." "But, on the other hand, I inquire about their child's cold and buy their stupid Girl Scout cookies to support them. It isn't fair!" "Oh God, please don't let me start crying at work again. I heard someone call me a drama queen and say; It's only a dog, not a child."
3. Understanding/Acceptance/Moving on.
4. New Hurts May Trigger Old Wounds.