Pet Loss - Saying Good-bye is Difficult

6 Resources for Grieving the Loss of a Pet

There's no rulebook for grieving a pet. Your loved one was as unique as your grief over your immeasurable loss. It would be wonderful to simply follow the Kubler-Ross five stages of grief model, moving quickly through denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Instead, your journey will be your own maze of feelings and actions. Luckily, there are so many resources to help you with the loss of your pet. Here are six ways to both mark the passing of your beloved animal and deal with your grief.

1. Call a pet loss specialist . When talking to friends and family isn't helping alleviate your sadness, reach out to a pet loss specialist. Here are a few of the numerous hotlines awaiting your call:

•The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) Pet Loss Hotline: (877) GRIEF-10.

•Cornell University Pet Loss Support Hotline: 607-253-3932.

•Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine Pet Loss Hotline: 1-(866) 266- 8635 or (509) 335-5704.

2. Create a special memorial. Find the perfect place for your pet's urn or special photograph. Decorate the area around it with a fitting tribute, whether that means placing a framed poem, a favorite pet toy, a statue, or a weekly bouquet of flowers in this spot.

3. Help your children. Talk to your children about how they feel and share how you feel with them. Let them know there is no right way to grieve and that you are there for them. There's no need to stop their tears or insist that they talk about every emotion. Simply sitting with them while they emote is helpful. Books can help as well. Check out The Tenth Good Thing About Barney by Judith Viorst and Paw Prints in the Stars: A Farewell and Journal for a Beloved Pet by Warren Hanson.

4. Plant a tree or memorial garden patch. Create an area in your own yard to memorialize your own pet. Choose a fitting plant, tree or group of flowers, from catnip or a sheltering oak tree to bright Gerber daisies. Or buy a tree through Tree Givers ( ), an organization that will plant a tree on public lands in whatever state you choose.

5. Make a Memorial Gift. Donate in your pet's name to an organization you love, whether the group is geared toward helping animals or humans. Click on "Memorial Gifts" to donate to ASPCA on this organization's donation ( ) page.

6. Read a book. Often, a self-help book that focuses on losing a pet can help you with your grief. A novel or non-fiction book that features a delightful pet or animals can also help you acknowledge and deal with this sad life change. Here are a few recommendations:

•The Loss of a Pet: A Guide to Coping with the Grieving Process when a Pet Dies by Wallace Sife, Ph.D. •Coping with Sorrow on the Loss of a Pet by Moira Anderson Allen. •Marley & Me: Life and Love with the World's Worst Dog by John Grogan. •The Complete James Herriot Box Set by James Herriot. has a wide selection of cremation urns, pet urns and pet memorials.

Article by: Michael W. Stephenson Source: