If you’re struggling with the loss of a beloved pet, remember you aren’t alone. I’ve compiled some helpful resources to help during this time of great pain.
The Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement is a nonprofit association of concerned volunteers who are knowledgeable about the tender subject of pet death and dedicated to helping people during this very special kind of bereavement. The website contains an extensive list of resources related to pet loss.
The Pet Loss Support Page: Lists hotlines and contains many other resources.
On the Pet Loss Support Page can be found various articles by Moira Anderson Allen, M.Ed., including “Ten Tips on Coping with Pet Loss.”
Your Pets In Heaven
by Ken D. Conover
To have loved and then said farewell, is better than to have never loved at all. For all of the times that you have stooped and touched my head, fed me my favorite treat and returned the love that I so unconditionally gave to you. For the care that you gave to me so unselfishly. For all of these things I am grateful and thankful.
I ask that you not grieve for the loss, but rejoice in the fact that we lived, loved and touched each others lives. My life was fuller because you were there, not as a master/owner, but as my FRIEND.
Today I am as I was in my youth. The grass is always green, butterflies flit among the flowers and the Sun shines gently down upon all of God’s creatures. I can run, jump, play and do all of the things that I did in my youth. There is no sickness, no aching joints and no regrets and no aging.
We await the arrival of our lifelong companions and know that togetherness is forever. You live in our hearts as we do in yours. Companions such as you are so rare and unique. Don’t hold the love that you have within yourself. Give it to another like me and then I will live forever. For love never really dies, and you are loved and missed as surely as we are.
Goodbye, Friend by Gary Kowlaski
Kowalski’s book is full of sound, compassionate advice to get through the loss of a pet. Included are ideas for rituals and ceremonies, spiritual guidance and readings for solace. Kowalski includes advice on how to take care of yourself after the death of a pet and the importance of honesty when talking with children about this event.
Saying Goodbye to the Pet You Love by Lorri A. Greene, Ph.D.
Written by a psychologist who is a leader in the field of pet bereavement, this practical but sympathetic guide validates the survivor’s often misunderstood feelings, explains the importance of the human-animal bond, and offers strategies for working through the grieving process. Topics include memorializing the pet, recognizing problematic thinking, finding support, dealing with guilt and explaining the pet’s death to a child. The special needs of the guardians of working animals are addressed, as are self-help resources for the elderly.
Grieving the Death of a Pet by Betty Carmack
Written by a nurse and professional pet-loss counselor, this book draws from her experience of counseling people who have lost a beloved pet, as well as the loss of her own furry friends. Carmack offers pet-loss support to counter “a world that reminds us repeatedly that grief for an animal doesn’t count as much as grief for a person.” The book is poignant and sometimes heartrending, filled with personal stories of love and loss.
Pet Loss: A Spiritual Guide by Julia Harris
This book helps readers to understand the many emotional reactions to the loss of a pet; assist children in coping with and recovering from their loss; and learn how different spiritual belief systems recognize and counsel pet loss. Practical topics include what hap-pens at a pet cemetery burial, cremation or home burial; what legal arrangements are available; how to develop a ceremony to honor the pet; and how to cope with the trauma of a terminally ill or runaway pet.
Cold Noses at the Pearly Gates by Gary Kurz
This book can help you cope with the loss of a pet and tries to answer questions about pet afterlife.
When Only the Love Remains by Emily Margaret Stuparyk
This book is a collection of poignant poems.
Three Cats, Two Dogs: One Journey Through Multiple Pet Loss by David Congalton
The author talks about how he transformed his anguish over the loss of several pets into a commitment to abused and abandoned animals. This down-to-earth book offers solace and practical suggestions for coping with grief. Anyone who has an animal companion will find this story inspirational and hopeful.
Dog Heaven and Cat Heaven by Cynthia Rylant
These books will appeal to children from preschool to grade two. The simple, colorful illustrations take the child on a journey to Dog Heaven or Cat Heaven, places of warmth and happiness. In Dog Heaven, there are “fields and fields and fields,” and in Cat Heaven, there are thousands of toys and soft angel laps in which to cuddle up. God is depicted as a kindly older man who benevolently watches over his charges.
Tear Soup by Pat Schweibert
This book tells the story of an old woman named Grandy who is making “tear soup.” It’s not specifically about the death of a pet (the reader is not sure what loss Grandy has suffered) so the book is relevant for any grieving process. The full-color illustrations are wonderful. The book is recommended for ages four to eight, but it has been a comfort to people of all ages.
For Every Dog an Angel and For Every Cat an Angel by Christine Davis
These small short books, which tell the story of the Rainbow Bridge, are beautifully illustrated in whimsical watercolors. They are appropriate for a wide range of ages.