Loss of a pet can teach us about death

loss of a pet
loss of a pet

The article, “Death of pets teaches children about grief” by Ian Munro states

“Last week I wrote about children and loss, having unearthed our children’s old mouse house.”

American Institute Health Care Professionals’ insight:
The loss of a pet is usually the first experience a child has with grief.  It is a sad moment but also a great teaching fact of life for children to learn to cope with grief and understand the nature of death.   (Child grief counseling is a whole other ballpark.)   However by experiencing loss and death now, child can be better prepared for what life has for them.   Where there is life, there will be death.

See on www.stuff.co.nz

Loss of a Pet: Elderly and Pets

Elderly and Pets

In many cases, the loss of a pet can be an extraordinary pain for an elderly person.  This is especially for elderly who have lost many family members and their spouse.  In many cases, the pet was probably the last attachment they had in the world.
The loss of a pet in these cases needs to be treated more seriously.  Counselors need to pay special attention to the elderly.  Without something or someone to care for, the elderly can fall into depression or lose the will to live.
If the elderly person is healthy enough, a new pet or a hobby should be sought after.  Constant care and diligence is needed by counselors in the care of the elderly in these cases, unfortunately, time and manpower sometimes is not enough for these unfortunate lonely souls.
Pet loss can be in some cases the final blow to their well being but with someone who understands pet loss and has the ability to help heal the wounds, then perhaps the person can find some identity in this loss and rebound from it.
If you are interested in Pet Loss Grief, please review the program
Mark Moran, MA, GC-C, SCC-C

Loss of a Pet

Loss of a Pet can Hurt but There is Help!

Some people believe that experiencing intense grief over the loss of a pet is ridiculous, and they will make those suffering great pain over a beloved animal feel like their pain is not to be taken seriously. Most of us who have truly loved a dog, cat, or other pet, however, know how real pet loss grief can be. For many people, a pet is indeed a member of the family, and people grow incredibly close to their pets over the years. The loss of a pet can leave a person feeling extreme loneliness, sadness, and depression. It is important to have someone who is sympathetic to talk about this pain with. Unfortunately, some people find they have no one to talk to about what they’re going through. Or, for some the grieving process is so intense that they need to talk with someone with training in the grieving of a pet. There are counselors who specialize in the grief of losing pets who would be happy to help people in these situations. If you’re having trouble handling the loss of your pet, you should contact your veterinarian and he or she should be able to find you a specialist who can help.

A picture of a dog in a grassy field
Loss of a pet can be difficult but there are people who can help.

Pet Loss Grief: Should you Get a New Pet?

After a Loss of a Pet, Should I Buy a New Pet?

It is extremely painful when a pet dies. After years and years of loving companionship, saying farewell to your faithful friend is among the hardest things to go through. The void they leave behind is much the same as a friend or relative passing, and it doesn’t matter what anyone says, they were still part of the family. For many children, the death or loss of a pet is the first time they will have experienced it in their lives, and it will be necessary to nurture them through these tough times too. The most important thing to do when your pet has died is to allow yourself time to grieve, and to go through the proper stages of grief without anyone making you feel guilty for doing so. Many non animal lovers do not understand, and can be insensitive to your feelings, but ignore them and follow your own instincts and do what you feel necessary to get over it. One of

the most common things people suggest is to get another pet straight away. This can be beneficial, but it does also have some problems too, and you should consider the impact of choosing to go this route or not. At the very least, allow yourself a week or so to begin the healing process, and for your emotions to come back under check.

The Pros of Getting Another Pet Right Away.

Before discussing some of the pros, if you do decide on this route, do not expect your new pet to be anything like your old one, and do not get one just to replace it. Your new pet will be a different personality with new traits and new things to learn about. This is a new member of the family. The beauty of getting a new pet is that it does help with the healing process. It is a new body to focus on, to take care of, to fall in love with and to help lift the household again. This is especially the case with dogs, as a home suddenly without a dog can really feel dead. Coming back to an empty house can prolong the grief of loss, whereas a new dog to come back home to, with a fresh smile and waggily tail can really lift your spirits. Furthermore, the new pet can help you to remember the old pet in fond ways. The new pet could do things which remind you of things the old one did which make you laugh, and this is very healthy.

The Cons of Getting Another Pet Right Away.

If you are not ready for a new pet, then don’t get one. Do not be forced into it by other members of the household, or you could end up resenting it. By not getting a new pet right away will enable you to grieve for as long as necessary, but also decide whether if you want another pet, and if so whether it will be the same animal. Secondly, because you are still in an emotional state, if you did get another pet, then you could become frustrated with it, because it’s not your old pet, or because it’s doing things wrong. This isn’t the pet’s fault, and it would be totally unfair on the pet and on you. Animals are very sensitive to people’s emotions, and if they do not feel settled, then there will be problems which will only exasperate the situation. Simply, if you do not feel ready to have a new pet, then wait and allow yourself to grieve the way you need to. In conclusion, everybody has their own ways of dealing with the grief of losing a loving pet. There is no simple solution, and we must all find our own way through these hard times. If you do decide to get another pet soon after the death of your old one, then be aware that you are still hurting, and you will need to deal with your emotions, as well as your new pet. On the other hand, your new pet can help you tremendously in dealing with this grief, as you forge a new lasting and loving relationship, based on companionship and love.
If you are interested in becoming certified as a pet loss grief counselor, please review the program.

Do All Good Dogs Go to Heaven?

Pet Loss and the Afterlife?

One of the most agonizing and probing questions after the loss of a pet is if one’s pet will be with them in the afterlife.  There is a mixed consensus among theologians and others of many religious creeds, but I do

While other religions, especially the ancient religions, considered the spirit of animals sacred and eternal, Christianity has declared that only man is made in the image and likeness of God.  Yet from this phrase has come a few confusions.  First, what does it mean to be made in the image and likeness of God?  Obviously we do not physically look like God.  So what does this mean?  It simply means that our soul has an intellect and a will that can reason and make free choices.  Animals on the other hand while free to make decisions within the realm of instinct, do not have an ability to rationally and intellectually understand a moral framework of a decision.  This does not mean an animal cannot reason within the realms of cause and effect or show instinctive care, but it does forbid an animal from making moral decisions and understanding the implications of those decisions.
Yet, when one believes that man as being made in the image and likeness of God excludes all other in regards to eternal existence, I feel a mistake is being made.  I feel image and likeness refers to moral choice and superior intellect, not eternal existence.  Yes that is an element but it is not an element that is selfishly held by man alone.  Animals have spirits and to boldly proclaim they are not eternal spirits is a far reach.  Nowhere in Christianity does it definitively state if an animal has an eternal soul or not.  It merely states only man is made in the image and likeness of God.  And if we interpret image and likeness to primarily emphasize free choice and intellect, then we are free to share an eternal existence with other creatures and their spiritual form.
While the Doctor of the Church, St. Thomas Aquinas, questioned the eternal nature of the

So in conclusion, yes “hun”, Spike will be with you in Heaven one day!

If you are interested in our pet loss program, please review it.

Mark Moran, MA, GC-C, SCC-C

Attachment and Pet Loss

Pet Loss is not Irrelevant or Insignificant

One of the most disenfranchised loss in grief is pet loss.  So many times, people find pet loss to be insignificant or not important.  Due to this, many people lose important counseling and compassion in their loss of a pet.
Some people may feel, since it is not a human person, they should not burden others with their loss, or that other people might dismiss their loss as trivial.  The reality is the loss of a pet is a loss of a family member.  The attachment to the pet may vary from person to person but when one loses a pet, there is some form of attachment that has been severed.  Of course, there is a huge difference between a fish and a dog, but regardless, losing a friend that has been at your side for years will cause an emotional emptiness.
Attachment theory teaches that the greater the dependency and the stronger the bond, the

greater the pain if that bond is broken.  Many people have close relationships with their pets that are critical to their everyday lives.  The young child or the old man all find great comfort in their cat or dog.  This is especially true for the elderly.  In some cases, the shut ins of the world only have their dog or cat as companions.  With a spouse deceased and no children, some older people suffer a large emotional loss when a pet dies.
With these things in mind, it is important to realize that in grief counseling, especially pet loss grief counseling, one cannot dismiss a loss simply because it is a pet.  Instead, one should focus on the attachment level of the loss and not who the loss is.

By Mark Moran, MA, GC-C, SCC-C