Pet Bereavement

I lost my dog who I had for 12 years and was my only companion since my husband passed away. Since then I feel no motivation, appetite, and cry a lot. What is wrong with me?

You are probably going through the depression stage of bereavement for your dog. People suffer bereavement for their pets as much as they suffer for their friends and family. Specially having it as your only companion, the loss is huge. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross described loss in the case of a bereavement and for severe illness in 5 stages:

Denial – The first reaction is denial. In this stage, individuals believe the news/diagnosis is somehow mistaken, and cling to a false, preferable reality.

Anger – When the individual recognizes that denial cannot continue, they become frustrated, especially at close individuals. Certain psychological responses of a person undergoing this phase would be: “Why me? It’s not fair!”; “How can this happen to me?”; “Who is to blame?”; “Why would this happen?”.

Bargaining – The third stage involves the hope that the individual can avoid a cause of grief. Usually, the negotiation for an extended life is made in exchange for a reformed lifestyle. People facing less serious trauma can bargain or seek compromise. For instance: “I’d give anything to have him back.” Or: “If only he’d come back to life, I’d promise to be a better person!”

Depression – “I’m so sad, why bother with anything?”; “I’m going to die soon, so what’s the point?”; “I miss my loved one; why go on?”
During the fourth stage, the individual despairs at the recognition of their mortality. In this state, the individual may become silent, refuse visitors and spend much of the time mournful and sullen.

Acceptance – “It’s going to be okay.”; “I can’t fight it; I may as well prepare for it.”
In this last stage, individuals embrace mortality or inevitable future, or that of a loved one, or other tragic event. People dying may precede the survivors in this state, which typically comes with a calm, retrospective view for the individual, and a stable condition of emotions

These stages may occur one at each time, or one stage may start before a previous stage hasn’t finished, overlapping. There’s treatment available for this if it becomes an issue.