Posts Tagged ‘death of a pet’


This kindly friend of mine who’s passed
Beyond the realm of day,
Beyond the realm of darkling night,
To unknown bourne away
Was one who deemed my humble home
A palace grand and fair;
Whose fullest joy it was to find
His comrade ever there.
Ah! He has gone from out my life
Like some dear dream I knew.
A man may own a hundred dogs,
But one he loves, and true.


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Dog Jack has gone on the silent trail,
Wherever that may be;
But well I know, when I whistle the call,
He will joyfully answer me.
That call will be when I, myself,
Have passed through the Gates of Gold;
He will come with a rush, and his soft brown eyes
Will glisten with love as of old.
Oh, Warder of Gates, in the far-away land,
This little black dog should you see,
Throw wide your doors that this faithful friend
May enter, and wait for me.


Puppy Love

Buy at AllPosters.com

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When We Two Parted

When we two parted

In silence and tears,

Half broken-hearted,

To sever for years,

Pale grew thy cheek and cold,

Colder thy kiss;

Truly that hour foretold

Sorrow to this!

The dew of the morning

Sunk chill on my brow;

It felt like the warning

Of what I feel now.

The vows are all broken,

And light is thy fame:

I hear thy name spoken

And share in its shame.

They name thee before me,

A knell to mine ear;

A shudder comes o’er me –

Why wert thou so dear?

They know not I knew thee

Who knew thee too well:

Long, long shall I rue thee

Too deeply to tell.

In secret we met:

In silence I grieve

That thy heart could forget,

Thy spirit deceive.

If I should meet thee

After long years,

How should I greet thee?

With silence and tears.

By Lord Byron


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The full impact of pet loss is often not appreciated.

Too long people have had to grieve the loss of their pet in silence – keeping a stiff upper lip.

The reality is that often people are affected more greatly by the loss of their pet than they are when losing a parent.

There are a number of reasons that the grief for a pet can be more acute than for a person. Pets for example, are able to love unconditionally. They place few demands on the relationship (food and companionship usually the extent of their demands).

It is often therefore easier to develop a bond with a pet that is greater than that which we experience with other humans in our lives.

Unfortunately the support that we receive in times of pet loss often does not reflect the significance of this bond. Reactions range from “it was just an animal” to “its no big deal – get another one.”

We cannot go to our boss and ask for time off work to grieve without being subjected to humiliation. It is not normal for people to send flowers, or cards. We do not hold public funerals.

This general response of ignoring the tragedy by society at large only increases the sense of loss and helplessness that a pet owner faces.

The death of a pet can also trigger other grief that compounds the feeling of loss. For example it may die in a manner similar to that of a parent, or it may have been the favorite pet of a recently deceased spouse. These kinds of memories and emotions trigger overwhelming responses that an outsider will not understand or appreciate.

Two groups often affected the most are children and elderly.

To a child a pet is often a surrogate parent – left with much of the baby sitting duties by two busy parents. They become a companion that is often with them they have their greatest personal triumphs. Losing the pet they have spent much of their short lives with is often their first experience with death and is often misunderstood.

Elderly, like children, often find that most of their time is spent with a pet. Many times caring for their pet will become their sole purpose for living. The pet is also often the only link to their past, especially if they have lost their spouse and have moved into a care facility.
soft hearted pillow

Dealing with the loss of a pet is different for everyone.

Some of the common ways to assist a family member or friend to cope with their loved pet include: recognizing the significance of the pet in their lives; being open to talking about their pet if that is what they want; creating a memorial that will help give closure and an ability to express the grief they feel, as well creating something that will allow their memories to live on.

One thing that you must not do, especially with children is lie. Do not say the animal is sleeping or has gone away. This will often create a fear in a child that sleep is permanent or that when a family member goes away they may not come back.

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Kim Marie Labak
Information Specialist
University of Illinois
College of Veterinary Medicine

“A pet can be a child’s best friend,” says Cheryl Weber, a client counselor specialist at the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Urbana. The death of a pet can be a sad and confusing time for children as well as a difficult time for parents. Often parents are dealing with their own grief and aren’t sure how to talk to their children about the death of the pet, whether it’s a hamster, turtle, cat, dog, or horse.

Weber says, “The cardinal rule for talking to children about the death of a pet is: be honest.” She says it’s important to let children say goodbye and to express their grief.

When a pet dies, some parents have the impulse to lie to protect their children from grief. They may tell the child that the pet was given away, lost, or went to a farm to live happily ever after. “Adults may lie because they want to protect their child from sadness and hurt,” explains Weber, a licensed social worker. “It breaks your heart to see a child sob, but it’s normal and healthy for children to grieve. When they love a pet and it dies, they need to know it’s okay to cry.”

Weber suggests sticking to the basic, simple truth, using language the child can understand. If you can foresee a death or euthanasia, you can prepare by talking to the children beforehand, explaining, “Fluffy is very sick and can’t get better.” “When she dies, her heart will stop and she cannot walk or play or eat or purr any more.”

Avoid the euphemism “put to sleep” because it can cause a child to be afraid of going to sleep at night. It’s better to say “Because Fluffy can’t get better, we’re going to help her die.”

Statements like these will probably lead to a barrage of challenging questions such as “Why?” and “Where is she going?” Weber suggests that adults try to answer these questions and help children learn that death is a natural part of life. Many pets have short life spans. They get ill, body parts wear out, they get into accidents, and sometimes they can’t be saved. Plus, parents have the opportunity to discuss their spiritual beliefs with their children.

Other suggestions from Weber include:

ᄋ Let children say goodbye to the pet before euthanasia or burial. A teenager away at college may want to know what’s going on.

ᄋ Let older children or teens be present for the euthanasia, if they want to be, and if they are carefully prepared for what will happen.

ᄋ Some clinics make the family a “clay paw” keepsake (see http://www.claypaws.com). A horse owner may want to keep a clipping of hair from the mane or tail.

ᄋ Let children express their feelings. Encourage a child to draw a picture or write a story about the pet. Making a scrapbook or memory book may help an older child.

ᄋ Let children help in planning a memorial, whether you have ashes, a burial, or a simple eulogy in the living room.

ᄋ Read books together, such as The Tenth Good Thing About Barney, where a mother encourages her son to think of 10 good things about his cat after the cat dies.

ᄋ Parents can learn more about pet loss from resources such as Children and Pet Loss: A Guide for Helping, by Marty Tousley.

ᄋ Don’t rush into getting a new pet.

For more information on talking to children about pet loss, contact your local veterinarian or visit the Companion Animal Related Emotions (CARE) Helpline Web site at http://www.cvm.uiuc.edu/CARE/.

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Pet memorials serve more than to “mark the spot.”
Don’t fall prey to these common myths surrounding the loss of your pet.

Robin Jean Brown exposes 14 myths that are commonly associated with pet loss.

If you’re still holding onto any of the 14 myths of grief…’s comforting guide is absolutely for you.

  • Myth#11: Children handle pet death rather easily. The experience will not be carried over into adult life.
  • Myth#12: It is best to protect children from the upsetting truth of what has happened to their pet.
  • Myth#13: Pets don’t mourn for other pets.

Not only are the 14 common myths exposed, Robin Jean Brown also answers the common questions raised surrounding the loss of a pet.

For instance How do you know when the time is right to put your pet to sleep. Get this right…and your furbaby will pass on humanely. Learn how to prepare, what happens during euthanasia, and how to cope emotionally (and how to help your pet cope). (Page 111)

Or maybe you think you are abnormal and want to know Why you feel so much hurt and pain. Why you can be assured that it’s not crazy or unusual for you to be feeling this way. (Page 54)

If you have a young family it is crucial to know What to do if a child’s pet dies. Make a mistake, and your child’s grief can become worse. Handle this correctly, and it will ease your child’s experience and help them cope and fully recover. (Page 102)

One of the keys to surviving pet loss is knowing How to get the help you need from other people. Have you noticed that most people are dismissive of you and don’t seem to understand the pain you’re going through? Does it seem like they’re often more polite than they are truly empathetic? You’ll learn the secrets to knowing what to ask for. (Page 85)

Does it seem like you’re all alone in the world?
It doesn’t have to be that way. Robin explains how and why your friends and family really want to help you, and gives you an action plan to ask them, the right way, and make the people around you into your own support group (Page 82).

Make plans now! So you will know What happens when a pet dies? Robin explains all the options — including cremation, pet cemetery burial, at-home burial, pet preservation, veterinary disposal…and even a collection of alternative memorials. (Page 127) That way you’ll have peace of mind that you know exactly what to do when faced with this unpleasant…yet necessary…task.

This book is loaded with all the information you and your family will need to know to survive the grief of pet loss, and will help you to ensure the mental well-being essential to recovery.


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TV Interview with Marty Tousley
Support for Families Grieving the Death of a Pet
AZCentral TV 12 News TV Interview with Marty Tousley

Bereavement Counselor Marty Tousley discusses how to talk with child about the death of pet.
View now.

(Length: under 2 minutes)

Marty Tousley, CNS-BC, FT, is the creator and instructor of these acclaimed grief-healing courses:

A Different Grief: Coping with Pet Loss

A Different Grief: Helping You and Your Children with Pet Loss

The First Year of Grief: Help for the Journey

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