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The heart knows no difference between losing an animal companion and losing a human loved one. There are many resources for people suffering from pet loss bereavement. We will continually update this information as it becomes known to us. The more you share your grief with others the stronger you will become. Take charge of your grief, and your grief work will help you grow in ways you never thought possible. Reach out to the following web sites, links and articles. Keep sharing. Keep healing.

BEREAVEMENT WEB SITES to assist your clients

The Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement. One of the best sites to gather information. www.aplb.org

Pet Loss Support Page
www.pet-loss.net

PetsEverlasting. Petseverlasting.com is a pet loss community where you can always find a shoulder to lean on.

Animals In Our Hearts. www.AnimalsInOurHearts.com

Grief Healing. Information, comfort and support for anyone coping with or anticipating the loss of a pet. Includes useful articles, recommended book lists, inspirational poetry, categorized links to dozens of other helpful resources. www.griefhealing.com and www.griefhealing.com/petlossarticles.htm

Grief and Loss Help. Find assistance and resources for facing the loss of your pet. - www.griefandlosshelp.com

Pathways Pet Memorial Gardens Bereavement Article:
Grieving the Loss of a Pet - feel free to send this article to a friend


GRIEVING THE LOSS OF A PET

Just yesterday your pet had endless energy, climbing the curtains, chewing the furniture . . .today, you are grieving the loss of that pet... The loss of a pet can be a traumatic event. Recognizing the grief process and allowing yourself to move through it is critical. The resulting feelings of guilt ("did I do enough," "did I make the right decision to have my pet put down"), denial, anger and depression ("this has not really happened," "I feel like I am in a fog," "my daily routine is in a tailspin," and/or being "mad" at others) are often difficult to shake. It may seem as if there is no one to turn to and that no one understands the pain. Usually, these intense feelings move to a period of acceptance of life without the pet Listed below are four tips for coping with the death of one's pet:

1) Allow yourself time to heal.
Losing a pet is often like losing your best friend. The good news is that living with a pet's death gets easier. It's hard and painful and it seems like no time will heal. Time does eventually heal, and that tends to be the best antidote for the loss.
Exactly how much time is needed depends on the person. The average grieving period may last from as little as six weeks to as long as several months. In the event that your pet is euthanized, you should remember it is not uncommon to question your decision.

2) Don't talk about replacement just yet.

Many people react with, 'When I get a new/another pet, it will help me get through this." This is not true for everyone.
Though getting a new pet may help lessen the effects of the loss for some people, this is not always the case and should not be considered a remedy. Each of our pets is special to us for a different reason. This is why it is important to allow ample time to grieve your loss and come to terms with it before considering new ownership. Therefore, in the event you do get another pet, you can remember the good qualities of your former pet while being able to appreciate the personality and differences of a new one. Your new pet will never replace the old, but it can still bring an equal amount of joy.

3) Memorialize your pet.
As a way of remembering all the happiness your pet brought to your life, commemorate something special. This can be anything from planting a tree to keeping a photograph on your mantel or nightstand. Cremating the pet and keeping or scattering the ashes, the pet's paw print cast in plaster, or clipping a lock of fur. Such practices are beneficial because they honor the deceased pet AND are therapeutic for the grieving owner.

4) Another way of dealing with emotionally trying times is to write them down.
Writing a story about your pet and what it meant to you can help. This way, you can always remember your pet and the feelings that you had for him or her at such a sensitive time. Then once the pain heals, you can go back, read and remember the strong memories that you had at that difficult time. Another way of releasing strong emotions is through poetry. Whether you write it yourself or read the work of others, the end result can be therapeutic. Finally, talk to others, who are sympathetic with your situation. Similar to writing down one's thoughts and feelings, vocalizing them can also be beneficial. Find someone who has lost a pet in the past or anyone who you know is a good listener.

The relationship between animals and people is pretty powerful and the loss of those pets is a lot stronger than sometimes we even realize.


Poems

A Bridge Called Love

It takes us back to brighter years,
to happier sunlit days
and to precious moments
that will be with us always.
And these fond recollections
are treasured in the heart
to bring us always close to those
from whom we had to part.
There is a bridge of memories
from earth to Heaven above...
It keeps our dear ones near us.
It's the bridge that we call love.

A Dog's Plea

Treat me kindly, my beloved friend, for no heart in all the world
is more grateful for kindness than the loving heart of me.

Do not break my spirit with a stick,
for though I might lick your hand between blows,
your patience and understanding will more quickly teach me
the things you would have me learn.

Speak to me often,
for your voice is the world's sweetest music,
as you must know by the fierce wagging of my tail
when the sound of your footstep falls upon my waiting ear.

Please take me inside when it is cold and wet,
for I am a domesticated animal,
no longer accustomed to bitter elements.
I ask no greater glory than the privilege
of sitting at your feet beside the hearth.

Keep my pan filled with fresh water,
for I cannot tell you when I suffer thirst.

Feed me clean food that I might stay well,
to romp and play and do your bidding,
to walk by your side and stand ready,
willing and able to protect you with my life,
should your life be in danger.

Please see that my trusting life is taken gently.
I shall leave this Earth knowing with the last breath I draw
that my fate was always safest in your hands.

Tribute To A Best Friend:

Sunlight streams through the windowpane
unto a spot on the floor....
then I remember,
it's where you used to lie,
but now you are no more.

Our feet walk down a hall of carpet,
and muted echoes sound....
then I remember,
it's where your paws would joyously abound.
A voice is heard along the road,
and up beyond the hill,
then I remember it can't be yours....
your golden voice is still.

But I'll take that vacant spot of floor
and empty muted hall
and lay them with the absent voice
and unused dish along the wall.

I'll wrap these treasured memorials
in a blanket of my love
and keep them for my best friend
until we meet above.

Paw Prints Left Behind

How could the time go by so quickly
Since the day we brought you home
You cuddled up so close to me
so you wouldn't feel alone

The happiness that you gave us
We cannot count the ways
We can measure all the pleasures
That you gave us everyday

Your paw prints in the garden
Will fade away and fall apart
But the paw prints that you left us
Will live forever in our hearts

A Pet's Ten Commandments

My life is likely to last 10-15 years. Any separation from you is likely to be painful.
Give me time to understand what you want of me.
Place your trust in me. It is crucial for my well-being.
Don't be angry with me for long and don't lock me up as punishment. You have your work, your friends,your entertainment, but I have only you.
Talk to me. Even if I don't understand your words, I do understand your voice when speaking to me.
Be aware that however you treat me, I will never forget it.
Before you hit me, before you strike me, remember that I could hurt you, and yet, I choose not to bite you.
Before you scold me for being lazy or uncooperative, ask yourself if something might be bothering me. Perhaps I'm not getting the right food, I have been in the sun too long, or my heart might be getting old or weak.
Please take care of me when I grow old. You too, will grow old.
On the ultimate difficult journey, go with me please. Never say you can't bear to watch. Don't make me face this alone. Everything is easier for me if you are there, because I love you so. ALWAYS!

Rainbow Bridge

There is a bridge connecting Heaven and Earth.
It is called the Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There is always food and water, and warm spring weather.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, but there is one thing missing.
They are not with their special person who loved them on earth.

So, each day they run and play until the day comes when one suddenly stops playing and looks into the distance. The nose twitches, the ears are up, and the bright eyes are intent; the eager body quivers. Suddenly she begins to break away from the group, flying over the green grass, her legs carrying her faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life, but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

Pet Loss Resource Center Books

A Dog's Purpose – W. Bruce Cameron
Blessing the Bridge – Rita M. Reynolds
Cat Heaven – Cynthia Rylant
Cold Noses at the Pearly Gate – Gary Kurtz
Coping with Sorrow on the Loss of Your Pet - Moira Anderson Allen

Dancing Dogs – Jon Katz
Dog Heaven – Cynthia Rylant
Going Home – Finding Peace When Pets Die – Jon Katz
Goodbye Friend – Gary Kowalski
Grieving the Death of a Pet – Betty Carmack

Kindred Spirits – Allen M. Schoen
Merle's Door – Ted Kerasote
My Personal Pet Remembrance Journal – Enid Traisman & Herbert Nieburg
Pet Parents: A Guide Through Unconditional

Love and Grief – Coleen Ellis
Saying Goodbye to Lulu – Corinne Demas
Saying Goodbye to Your Angel Animals – Allen and Linda Anderson
The Art of Racing in the Rain – Garth Stein
The Final Farewell – Marty Tousley and Katherine Heuerman

The Legacy of Beezer and Boomer – Doug Koktazy
The Loss of a Pet – Wallace Sife, PhD
The Rainbow Bridge – Paul C. Dahm
The Rainbow Bridge: Pet Loss is Heaven's Gain – Niki Behrikis Shanahan
When Kitty Passed Away – Linda Makky

When Only The Love Remains - Emily Margaret Stuparyle
When Your Pet Dies: A Guide To Mourning, Remembering and Healing – Dr. Alan Wolfelt

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