Pet Tips 'n' Tales

Grieving Pets is Not Crazy!

Photo by Mary Ellen "Angel Scribe"
The death of a beloved pet can plunge its family into grief. Greenhill Humane Society volunteer Brodie Washburn says, "After losing a pet, many grieving folks come to Greenhill to be around pets and the people who love them; it's a very touching sight." Often upon the death of a pet parent, the fur babies left behind end up in shelters. Above, Brodie and Faith spend some quiet time in Greenhill's pet cemetery as they pray to find her a new home.

TALES
 
Our pets give us years of smiles and joy, but all too soon we must say, "Good-bye!". Whether the transition is due to death by natural causes, euthanasia, etc., or because a lost pet never returns, you grieve. Petless people may have difficulty comprehending the emotional pain pet parents experience upon the death of a beloved pet.

In her book "On Death and Dying", Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross writes that it is natural to grieve over any loss be it the death of a relative or pet, or even over a job loss, and that we experience five stages of grief: Denial; anger; bargaining; depression; acceptance.

Animal Planet's Pet Psychic, Sonya Fitzpatrick, says, "We consider our pets as 'children in fur coats'. For some people, their pets are their only friends and companions, and the reason they grieve more over a pet's passing than a relative's." www.SonyaFitapatrick.com

Sherry writes, "I am a stay-at-home 'dog-mom' so when my dog, Roth, was alive, we were together 24-7. Since his death, I feel like half of my soul has been ripped out. I am a retired nurse, and I have lapsed into a depression and PTSD. Instead of getting better with time, I have fallen apart. For the first few days after he died, I wanted to die. I wasn't suicidal, but but felt that if I fell asleep and never woke up, 'That's fine with me!' Then I wouldn't have to feel the pain of his loss every waking minute. I lost a precious family member and was not prepared for how devastating Roth's death would be. I cried in private and in public."

"I understand why some people don't want to live after their pets die," says Dr. A. J. Thomas, as I am a widow and retired." Pets, with their unconditional love and devotion, give us a reason to get up each morning and 'live life to it's fullest'. They give us someone to care for, make us feel important and needed, and keep us young. They stimulate us mind, body, and soul, and are wonderful confidants and companions. My cats 'force' my aching body out of bed each morning with a 'C'mon, Mommy, you can do it!' They are a reason to keep on going, regardless of our pains and/or illnesses."

"Pets can fill the void and offer joy for those lacking love in their lives," continues Dr. Thomas. "That is why when they die, you feel a big hole in your heart. Your grief can be so great that you feel like crying, vomiting, or even passing out every time you think about life without them. I cried for five years after my cat, Frosty, died, even after seeking psychological help. Never underestimate how much a person's pet(s) mean(s) to them, for whatever reasons."

"Pets feel deep love for each other and their humans. One of the greatest attributes of animals is that they teach humans HOW TO LOVE," says pet psychic Sonya Fitzpatrick. "Pets grieve when a beloved human or animal companion transitions, just as humans do, sometimes even refusing to eat. When we reach The Other Side, our pets will be there to meet us, and vice versa, surrounded by indescribable feelings of love and peace. Many of us feel that 'heaven would not be heaven if our pets are not there to greet us.' The wonderful news is, though, that they will be!"

"When my cats, Chanel and Camalot, died," says Mary Ellen "Angel Scribe", "the grief was so painful that it was 12 years before I felt ready to adopt another pet. I had loved them for 17 years and did not want to ever again go through that awful sense of loss.  (I read that the homeopathic remedy Ignatia is good for depression; I tried it, and it helped contain my grief). Don't wait to adopt another pet after your pet dies. It just deprives you of another pet's love.

"Pets bring joy and make you feel important. Upon their passing, take care to not dwell on this, and to move on and forward with your life," says Dr. A.J. Thomas.  "Pets are a gift that God sends us."

Note from Chau, a Tips 'n' Tales reader in Hong Kong, "I translated this article into Chinese for my sister. She treated her dog as a family member and she is still overcome with grief two years after his passing."

TIPS

Reference books:

"The Rainbow Bridge: Pet Loss Is Heaven's Gain"  and "There Is Eternal Life For Animals" by Niki Shanahan based upon Scripture verses:

"All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds." I Corinthians 15:39;
"And ALL flesh shall see the salvation of God." Luke 3:6

"Goodbye Friend" by Rev. Gary Kowalski.

"My book, Saying Good-bye To Your Angel Animals, includes suggested memorial services for various faiths and assurances that we will see our beloved pets again," says Linda Anderson. Autographed copies: www.shop.angelanimals.net
 
Sherry's heart is mending after the recent adoption of Holly (right).
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Mary Ellen's Bio
 
- Seen on Animal Planet's Must Love Cats and the ANDERSON Daytime Talk show.
- Chicken Soup for the Soul author- twice! "I Can't Believe My Dog Did That!" and "O Canada".
- Author of Expect Miracles and A Christmas Filled with Miracles.
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- Pet Tips 'n' Tales columnist
- Animal/Feline Wellness Magazine contributor.
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