Pet Loss Grief Counseling Program Article on Losing a Dog

Saying goodbye to a dog or for that matter any pet can be one of the most painful moments.  Pets, especially dogs, cats and horses are more than mere objects we own, or things to watch but are actual family.  They interact, share and enjoy life with us.  Hence it is especially painful to lose one of our pets.  Many would disenfranchise this loss as not important but this is farther from the truth.

Losing a dog can be very painful and as devastating as losing a family member. Please also review our Pet Loss Grief Counseling Program

 

A dog, cat or horse is family.  They are far beyond a mere animal but someone we care about.  There should never be any embarrassment or shame in grieving the loss of a pet that is our family.  Those who do not understand the pain of losing a dog, cat or horse, are the ones who truly need to better understand life.

When the time comes to say goodbye, it will be painful, but one must be prepared for everyone eventually dies.  This is part of the human condition.

The article, “Why Saying Goodbye to a Dog Is So Unbelievably Hard” by Jillian Blume looks at the particular loss of a dog and the intense pain that comes with losing a dog.  She states,

“Humans can form intense emotional bonds with their dogs. In many ways, these bonds may be stronger and more enduring than our connection to most other human beings. And that’s why the idea of losing a beloved dog is something that pet parents try not to think about.”

To read the entire article, please click here

Losing a dog is truly like losing family.  The bond and love is as strong as family and always should be respected.  If you would like to learn more about grief and pet loss then please review AIHCP’s Pet Loss Grief Counseling Program and see if it matches your academic and professional goals.

 

 

Pet Loss Grief Counselor Program Article on Pet Loss and Euthanasia

Sad article about the very uncomfortable and difficult decision to euthanize a pet.  Losing a pet is like losing a family member and deciding when to let to go can be in particular very painful.  There is always the guilt of letting go too soon and then also from the other extreme allowing one’s dog or cat or pet to suffer longer.  The goodbyes, the procedure, the drive home can all be very empty and sad.

The decision to say good bye to a dog or cat is never easy. Please also review our Pet Loss Grief Counseling Program and see if it meets your goals

Professionals can help navigate at the vet office, but there may also be need long after to discuss and cope with the dramatic loss of a pet.  The article, “Feelings of guilt, grief common when navigating euthanasia” by Shannon Mullane discusses the process and emotional navigation through this painful process.  She states,

“Americans spent $72 billion in 2018 on their pet companions, and research has shown the huge amount of grief owners can experience when the human-animal bond is broken at the time of a pet’s death. When it comes to euthanasia, that grief can be complicated by feelings of guilt, leaving pet owners in need of resources to navigate their loss.”

To read the entire article, please click here

Please also review our Pet Loss Grief Counselor Program and see if it matches your academic and professional goals.

Pet Loss Grief Program Article on a Dog’s Grief

Good article on how the pet, in this case, the dog, grieves the loss of an owner.  Love is a two way street and dogs can grieve.  It is important to realize in pet loss grief that the pet can experience owner loss grief.

Please also review our Pet Loss Grief Program
Please also review our Pet Loss Grief Program

The article, Why Do Some Dogs Stay By Their Owners’ Graves?, by Mike Clark states,

“Research indicates that dogs are able to feel very deep connections to humans, and they experience many emotions similarly to the way we do. As dog lovers, we already know that the love our dogs feel for us goes way beyond the need to have a food provider, and science backs up that claim.”

To read the entire article, please click here

Please also review our Pet Loss Grief Program

Loss of a Pet: Elderly and Pets

Elderly and Pets

The Yorkie Teacup is an excellent pet for the elderly.  Besides being small and easy to care for, it needs attention and love and gives the elderly person meaning
The Yorkie Teacup is an excellent pet for the elderly. Besides being small and easy to care for, it needs attention and love and gives the elderly person meaning
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

Pet loss: "Life is a Series of Dogs"

Aging Pets and Pet Loss: Is a New Puppy the Answer?

As our friend grows old, get him a new friend to energize him
As our friend grows old, get him a new friend to energize him
To quote the great and immoratal comedian, George Carlin, “Life is a series of dogs”!  How true it is for life long pet owners.  Usually most can remember the family dog as a young child, then the dog that guided one through adolescents, and of course the dog that was at your side as you made your vows to your wife, then the dog that… you get the point?  But with all these happy moments, pet loss still correlates with these events.  With each sad loss, a new beginning ushers one into a new era.
Of course the new friend may be a different.  He or she may be different in personality, breed or maybe even species?  But the reality is, the new pet can never replace the previous.  Dogs throughout our life are like family members and each one is remembered within our hearts for their unique special traits and partnerships they formed with us during a particular phase of our life.
So when one finds a new friend, do not consider it a replacement but an addition to one’s family.  A legacy, a continuation of dogs that are all intimately tied to one’s life.
In my particular situation, we have always had a tradition of passing the torch.  There is always new life, a puppy, in the house as the previous generation approaches its evening years.  In this way, from the first Siberian Husky I grew up with to the latest three that now “own” the home have all in some way been connected by a previous generation that knew the previous one before that.
So the decision to get a puppy does not become a need to overcome sorrow but a continuation of the family which allows the spirits of the previous generations to share with the new.  In this way the decision to get a new puppy is always a “yes”.
Your older dog needs new friends
Your older dog needs new friends
If you are interested in the Pet Loss Grief Training, please review the program.  Jennifer Melvin, your instructor, will be glad to explain the courses and guide you through the process.
 
 
Mark Moran, MA, GC-C, SCC-C

Pet loss: “Life is a Series of Dogs”

Aging Pets and Pet Loss: Is a New Puppy the Answer?

As our friend grows old, get him a new friend to energize him
As our friend grows old, get him a new friend to energize him

To quote the great and immoratal comedian, George Carlin, “Life is a series of dogs”!  How true it is for life long pet owners.  Usually most can remember the family dog as a young child, then the dog that guided one through adolescents, and of course the dog that was at your side as you made your vows to your wife, then the dog that… you get the point?  But with all these happy moments, pet loss still correlates with these events.  With each sad loss, a new beginning ushers one into a new era.

Of course the new friend may be a different.  He or she may be different in personality, breed or maybe even species?  But the reality is, the new pet can never replace the previous.  Dogs throughout our life are like family members and each one is remembered within our hearts for their unique special traits and partnerships they formed with us during a particular phase of our life.

So when one finds a new friend, do not consider it a replacement but an addition to one’s family.  A legacy, a continuation of dogs that are all intimately tied to one’s life.

In my particular situation, we have always had a tradition of passing the torch.  There is always new life, a puppy, in the house as the previous generation approaches its evening years.  In this way, from the first Siberian Husky I grew up with to the latest three that now “own” the home have all in some way been connected by a previous generation that knew the previous one before that.

So the decision to get a puppy does not become a need to overcome sorrow but a continuation of the family which allows the spirits of the previous generations to share with the new.  In this way the decision to get a new puppy is always a “yes”.

Your older dog needs new friends
Your older dog needs new friends

If you are interested in the Pet Loss Grief Training, please review the program.  Jennifer Melvin, your instructor, will be glad to explain the courses and guide you through the process.

 

 

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

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

One wants his or her pet to be with them in the afterlife
One wants his or her pet to be with them in the afterlife

believe Christianity has room for a few dogs and cats in the afterlife.

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

St. Francis, the Patron of Animals
St. Francis, the Patron of Animals

animal soul, I prefer to stand with St. Francis of Assissi who called the various animals  his  “brothers” and “sisters”.  It is true that animals share in the glory of the creator.  When God created them, he deemed it good and therefore how could it be possible for something so good and so wonderful as to give one joy, especially in the case of pet, be denied Heaven?  Yes, the Beatific Vision would be lone enough to satisfy every thirst we may ever have, but God also knows we are social creatures and that the many good things we shared in the temporal world should also be shared in the Eschatological world.  Heaven is about total happiness and one cannot have complete happiness unless one shares all that is good.

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

Who is it to judge the insignficance of a loss of a friend, whether animal or human?
Who is it to judge the insignficance of a loss of a friend, whether animal or human?
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.
 
Mark Moran, MA, GC-C, SCC-C

Helping Children Deal with the Death of the Family Pet

My eight-year-old boy loves our cat so much. And She loves him. She runs up to him for pets when she hears his footsteps. She bumps him with her head when he is reading. She even sleeps by his head on the pillow. It’s very sweet. But she is twelve years old and I can see that her hips

Sometimes the loss of a pet is a child's first experience with death
Sometimes the loss of a pet is a child’s first experience with death

are starting to bother her. In my parenting group there are always emails going around asking for books about the death of pets or preparing for the death of pets. It seems like there is a real opportunity for a knowledgeable professional to help others deal with their loss. I looked up  courses in pet loss bereavement on the Internet and found that there is a certification course I could take to learn how to be a pet loss bereavement specialist. This would be a good skill set I could offer to the community and the children.

The Loss of a Pet is A Hard Thing

Pet Loss is Hard

Grieving the loss fo a pet is a difficult thing for most people
Grieving the loss fo a pet is a difficult thing for most people
The loss of a pet can be very difficult, especially when someone is older. My mother had her dog for the last 20 years, the dog was very sick with arthritis but my mom took very good care of it. Finally, last year, her dog died, and she was so depressed. We talk to your Doctor About it, and he wanted to put her on antidepressants. I did not want to do that, so I began to look into grief counseling for loss of a pet. I was actually able to find a group of older people that met twice a week to talk about the loss of their pets. I was able to put my mom in that group, and she did wonderful. About two months later I bought my mother a new dog and she absolutely loved it. Losing a pet can be very difficult, but with the help of friends and family, a person can move on.