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Grieving the death of an animal companion

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Grieving and mourning the loss of loved ones is a complicated and difficult process. The pain can be overwhelming and the journey can be complicated by the emotional and psychological obstacles we, as human beings, excel at putting in our own paths. This is true because most individuals, whatever their religious orientation, tend to agree that we are here to learn lessons of some kind. Those lessons can be challenging depending on our willingness to change, our general outlook, the choices made by others whose lives impact us, and the state of the social forces we have created to handle aspects of our material world.

The loss of our animal companions is just as devastating as losing our human family members and friends. There is, however, one important difference. Animals do not exist to learn the kinds of lessons that humans seem destined to wrestle with. Our lives are not entangled with theirs in the dance of daily struggle. Rather, they enter our lives as sources of joy, havens of comfort, and gifts of unconditional love if we are wise enough to open our hearts to them. When they depart from us, we are left to simply marvel at the happiness we experienced in their presence, how they transformed us to greater compassion and responsibility, and how empty - yet full - we are as we move forward in their absence.

Resources for Home Study for Residents of Columbus, Georgia

The following resources provide meditations for comfort, poetry for reflection, and remembrance rituals to help process the loss of a beloved animal companion.

The following texts are available on Amazon: (1) “When Your Pet Dies: A Guide to Mourning, Remembering, and Healing” by Alan D. Wolfelt, PhD ($8.96 in paperback); (2) “Paw Prints in the Stars: A Farewell and Journal for a Beloved Pet” by Warren Hanson ($16.15 in hardcover); (3) “Coping with Sorrow on the Loss of Your Pet” by Moira Anderson Allen ($16.73 in paperback); (4) “Heal Your Heart: Coping with the Loss of a Pet” by Karen Adele Litzinger and Bernadette Kazmarski ($15.46 on audio CD); (6) “Goodbye, Friend: Healing Wisdom for Anyone Who Has Ever Lost a Pet” by Gary Kowalski ($11.47 in paperback); and (7) “Pet Prayers and Blessings: Ceremonies and Celebrations to Share with the Animals You Love” by Laurie Sue Brockway and Victor Fuhrman ($5.98 in hardcover).

The following books for children are available on Amazon: (1) “Dog Heaven” by Cynthia Rylant ($14.31 in hardcover); (2) “Saying Goodbye to Lulu” by Corinne Demas ($6.30 in paperback); (3) “For Every Dog an Angel” by Christine Davis ($8.91 in hardcover); and (4) “For Every Cat an Angel” by Christine Davis ($9.86 in hardcover).

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