Everyone is different and everyone handles grief differently. Pet owners requesting euthanasia for a sick and ailing pet always find it to be a difficult task. My heart goes out to them because it is not easy to watch a pet suffer, but it is no easier to make the decision for euthanasia.
When people find out I work for the SPCA they often tell me their pet stories. Sometimes those stories include the loss of a pet. Because pets are often considered a 'family member', the loss can be devastating. The grief response can range from the immediate need to adopt another pet to the threat of 'never going through that again'.
I had a Great Dane that I loved very much. When I lost him I realized how empty my home seemed. I was depressed for weeks. A year later my brother gave me the gift of another Great Dane. She was a wonderful dog and as she aged I began to fear for her loss. I read an article about adopting another dog to keep the older dog active and have companionship when losing the older dog.
When her time came, I did grieve her loss but I had another dog to comfort me. I was surprised that my grief was helped by having a second dog. I was also surprised that he sensed when I needed comfort. It's been almost 18 years since I lost that female Great Dane. I still remember her fondly, as well as the male that followed her. And I often think of Paco, the shelter cat that adopted me.
So now I have three dogs and another cat. The dogs are small (no more Great Danes for me), and the cat reminds me of Paco. It is with fondness that I remember my past pets and my wish for everyone who has lost a pet is that your grief can also be relieved through the love of another four legged creature. They really do love unconditionally.