Those who have lost a pet will experience a number of emotions, and grieving for a pet from a Christian perspective will not shield the owner from pain. It may, however, provide some comfort during this most difficult time.
The Grieving Process
There are many steps in the grieving process a Christian who has lost a pet may endure.
In the face of the loss of a furry companion, some people may feel tremendous anger toward the vet who failed to save their pet or toward God, who allowed this to happen to them. Feeling angry at the pet who has died is also not uncommon. It is also popular for a pet owner to become angry at themselves for not acting sooner if their pet was ill or for taking the "wrong" course of action in dealing with their pet's health.
Since pet owners are responsible for their pet's daily care, they may also feel responsible for events outside of their control, such as their pet dying. They may feel that they should have done for for their pet while the pet was alive. Feelings of guilt can get in the way of healing after the death of a pet; they stop the person from learning from what happened in the past so they can make better decisions going forward.
It is normal to feel sadness at the loss of a pet. Our animal companions become part of the family and they are missed tremendously when they die.
For some people, these feelings turn into a full-scale depression. Feelings of emptiness and hopelessness may be difficult to overcome and counseling and/or medication may be required to treat this condition.
Heaven and Grieving for a Pet from a Christian Perspective
Some Christian faiths believe that pets don't go to heaven because they don't have souls. The Bible does not mention whether heaven includes animals or not. It can be argued, though, that the Bible contains information for humans: They need the knowledge contained in it in order to gain entrance into God's kingdom when they die.
Animals don't need to be saved in the same way people do: It can be argued that they have pure hearts. Our furry friends don't struggle to be obedient to God in the face of evil influences.
If someone were asked to describe what heaven looks like, they don't describe a plain room with white walls. More than likely, they picture a peaceful outdoor scene with grass, trees, and flowers. If we are picturing a wonderful outdoor scene, why wouldn't it include our beloved pets?
A person of the Christian faith who has lost a loved one (of the human variety) is taught that the person may have died but that they will be reunited with him or her later on. This provides comfort to the grieving person on some level - in spite of the loss, there is hope.
If someone believes that pets go to heaven too, they can take comfort in the idea that the pet is in a place that is warm and bright, that they are no longer sick or in pain, and where they are being well cared for. The same loving God that cares for all of His children on earth won't deny the same care to these wonderful animals who add so much to our lives.
Our pets love us unconditionally: They don't care what we look like, how much money we make, or what we do for a living. All they ask is that we give them a bit of our time and our attention. Doesn't it make sense when we are thinking about grieving for our pet from a Christian perspective that our four-legged friends will be waiting for us when our days on Earth are finished?