Loss and Spirit

You were never masters, but friends. I was your friend. I loved you well, and was loved.   Deep love endures to the
end and far past the end. If this is my end, I am not lonely. I am not afraid.   I am still yours.
---Robinson Jeffers
Our most challenging moments with our animal companions are near the end of our time together For us, it is a painful end to an earthly journey, but if we believe
is end of our relationship,  we rob ourselves and our animals of  our greater and everlasting spiritual bond.  Animals know the physical world is a temporary
and minor
stop on the spiritual journey, and want us to know we don't have to say goodbye.   Loving your animal friend by hearing and honoring its final wishes is
a blessing to
you both.

Too often, at the end of an animal's life,  people berate themselves with  questions stemming from doubt and fear: Did I do enough to help him? How did I miss
his pain? Does she know how much I loved her? Was there more I could have done? Is it my fault? Is she angry? Does he forgive me?  Did I wait too

A communication session with your animals dispels fear and doubt, making the transition a loving, intimate experience for both of you.  It eases your mind as you
learn your animal's true wishes and begin to release your own undeserved  feelings of fear and guilt.  

I help  clients through grief counseling, memorializing pets through  ritual and ceremony, and communicating with animals after they depart the earthly plane.

I am available for

gentle Reiki sessions for ailing animals                 
consultations to learn what your animal really wants
communication sessions with your  departed animal in spirit
memorial services and grief counseling

Surviving the Loss of a Pet: Tips to Get throught the Grief
Your animal has died and you are distraught. You have never felt such deep and prolonged loss and are afraid to share this with others who will minimize and
perhaps dismiss your pain as misplaced or trivial. Wrong. All of use who have shared life with (not "owned") animals have entered and emerged from this
unavoidable black hole, and we'll likely revisit it as long as we live with animals whose life spans do not equal ours is measure. What can you do with this grief?

1. Give yourself permission to grieve, and give your self permission to grieve hard. Experience it. Embrace it, even. It's real and it's potent. Avoiding grief, burying
it, masking it will guarantee
its future re-emergence as larger and more devastating threat to your well being.

2. Remember. Remember the joy and mischief, the games and training, the intimacy and the frustration, the quiet support and cuddles your dog gave you when he
sensed you needed them most.

3. Talk about your memories, especially with other dog people who understand and with those who knew your dog. Allow them to share their memories as well.

4. Make the memories visual. Place photographs of your dog around the house so you connect with him or her consiously at ever turn. Our animals want us to
remember them this way. Keep in mind that in their cnsciousness, they have not left us. They have jsimply changed form. They're still with us. We need to focus on
that reality their energy remains with us.

5. Create a memorial, a photo collage, an altar, a scrapbook chronicling your dog's life.

6. Avoid people who do not understand your grief, who tell you, "It was just a cat (or dog or bird). You can always buy another one. " As my grandmother would
have said, "Feh!"

7. Do something to connect with your animal in spirit through dreams, where our spiritual selves are free to roam unencumbered by bodies. Before falling asleep,
you can look at photographs of your dog or cat or meditate briefly on your relationship. SEE yourselves together. Hold this as your last mental image as you shut
the light.

8. Carry an object with your animal's energy: a photo, a toy, even a "baby" tooth. It will comfort you and connect you to your animal in spirit in a very psychic
way. When I lost my soul mate dog, Seamus, I slept with his collar in my pillowcase for months.

9. Create a memorial service. I've seen quite a few of these and have written some for clients.
Invite friends and family -- even other dogs -- to your home or to a park or favorite outdoor place where you can share stories, read a poem or prayer, and give
this loss the sacred dimension it deserves. Honor your dog's soul. It is just as Divine as your own.

10. Create. If you paint, paint your dog's portrait. If you write, write a story or memoir. Sew. Quilt. Dance.

11. READ about other people's animals for entertainment, to remind you of the joy you shared rather than the grief that sems to impale you. Look for stories about
antics and misadventures. Please -- read James Thurber! You'll relate and and laugh from the belly doing it.

12 . Consider getting another dog or cat, not to replace the one who has died but to HONOR him . The one thing dogs enjoy most is other dogs. They are pack
animals and having loved you as their pack leader do not want you to live alone. The want you to cherish their memory and grieve without losing yourself to that
grief. They do not want you to suffer; they want you to recover. Welcoming another animal, whether it is a puppy from a breeder or an older rescue, is your
chance to shower a new friend with the calibre of love with which you gifted your old friend. Consider the circularity of life and love in that the blessing your animal
gave to you will be continued as you bless the new one in your life. It by no means eclipses the relationship you had with your animal. In fact, it's just the opposite;
it strengthens it.

When my first schnauzer, Kasha, died, I was reluctant to consider another one until a secretary in my department gave me this essay to read. When I finished it, I
found a breeder in St. Petersburg, FL readied my home for the entry of a new pup in HONOR of the one I'd just bid farewell. This essay will certainly help you,
too. It's Eugene O'Neill (actually, it was written by Eugene O'Neill's dog), The Last Will and Testament of Silverdene Emblem O'Neill:

copyright 2011 Lisa Shaw


Helpful Resources

Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement
www. aplb.org

Cornell University PettLoss Support Hotline

Coping with the Loss of a Pet

AVMA Guidelines for Pet Loss Support Services

Links to Internet Pet Loss Resources

In Memory of Pets

Learning How to Say Goodbye

and don't forget to search for the many links to the Rainbow Bridge poem