Losing a pet is never easy, nor is the healing process that follows. It can be one of the most painful experiences you'll ever go through, as it is with saying goodbye to anyone you love. It's nothing that a simple video game could ever completely patch up for you, but the healing power of the medium is incredibly understated.
Pop culture can be a great coping mechanism during such periods in your life. Sometimes, a great video game is capable of lifting your spirits, showing you true companionship, and giving you a way to escape your troubles as well as the difficulties you've been dealt. In the case of saying goodbye to a beloved pet, these games can give you some sort of solace in that they all feature pets you can interact with in some way that might rekindle a bit of joy in your heart.
If you've ever lost a pet or find yourself dealing with the situation now, try out one of these games to see if you can get started on the road back to healing.
Nintendogs + Cats
Nintendogs + Cats is a great, casual way to interact with both kittens and puppies in a calming environment that includes plenty of fun ways to chill out with adorable animals. The titles include a wide variety of breeds, and you can take the game with you on the go with your favorite Nintendo 3DS handheld (or 2DS, if you prefer). It's a low-pressure game that lets you experience the happiness of having a pet, but without too many gamified elements to distract from that central hook. Its deliberately casual mechanics and intent allow you to to watch your multiple pets spending time with each other. It'll bring a smile to your face, even if it's temporary.
Little Friends: Cats and Dogs
One way to deal with the loss of a pet is by diving back in with a new furry friend. If you're not equipped to get a new puppy or kitten, you can have the next best thing with Little Friends: Cats and Dogs on Nintendo Switch. This full-featured pet simulation game lets you choose a puppy to take home, care for, feed, play with, and go on walks. You can take your new best friend with you since the Switch is portable, and slowly become acclimated to your new virtual pal. There are plenty of ways to interact with your pet, and as you earn experience points and gain levels while doing so, you'll feel even closer to the new addition to your family. If you're a cat person, there are also plenty of kittens to choose from later on in the game.
The Last Guardian
Though The Last Guardian isn't a game about pets, it's about companionship similar to the relationship between an animal and its owner. You'll take on the role of a young boy who comes across a ridiculously large winged cat-like creature named Trico. Initially, Trico is untrusting, but as the game wears on, the two of you learn to trust and appreciate each other, and the bond that is formed is truly beautiful. Trico is like that of a large, doe-eyed puppy or deer that needs assistance from you to figure out where to go and how to survive. Getting close to this strange animal is a lot like getting to know a new pet, and it might be just what you need to get over the pain you're going through after the loss of your best friend — especially since it's full of tender moments throughout.
Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu!
Pokémon games are all about collecting an entire menagerie of Pocket Monsters, but it's also about getting close to them and getting to know them as you train them to take on other Pokémon. There's something inherently special about Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu, however, as you get to be closer than ever to your favorite Pokémon. For instance, in the Pikachu version, you get to see your own personal Pikachu follow you around on the map, or you can choose the Eevee version for Eevee to do the same thing. You can do the same with the other Pokémon in your party, no matter what size they are — you may ride on them, but you have a chance to see them and put yourself in the position of being a "real" Pokémon trainer. It's nice for a temporary reprieve from any sadness you may be feeling, as are the thoughts of building a special team that cares for each other as you make your way through a Pokémon world.