Chaplain Turner

Pet Loss Support Group


Pet Loss Support Group

For anyone that has experienced the loss of a little one

Members: 32
Latest Activity: Dec 25, 2014

Time of Loss

Until one has traveled that road through the Valley of the Shadow of Death, it is impossible to understand the depths of the journey. Grief
can be as debilitating as a grave physical illness and can overtake our
lives for a time. In its all consuming form, grief can swallow up in its
path our joys, hopes and dreams and even our will to go on, leaving us
a shadow of who we once were.

While death has taken away our beloved, grief has torn open our hearts
and our eyes bleed with the heart's endless tears. The heart is
seemingly beyond repair and most certainly beyond recognition.
Our heart is simply and utterly broken.

Sadly in our society, Pet Grief is not generally accepted as a "valid"
form of grief and so often people feel ashamed or embarrassed by the
depth of their pain and grieving.

As a Chaplain of Pets, we can assure those suffering the loss of pets
with what has been termed the "Three N's of Grief:"

Grief is NORMAL
Grief is NATURAL

Grief is like a journey down a river. We are suddenly adrift on a raft of
emotions that threatens to capsize as we ride over the rapids, go over
the falls, and steer through the spinning eddies in whirlpools of thought
where we replay over and over the 'coulda, shouda, wouldas' that might
have changed the outcome of our loss. The river has its moments of
calm, and at those times we feel that we are through the worst, only to
have yet more white water of tears and emotions to go through. It can
be a long and difficult journey. But as much as we try to ignore the grief,
it does not ignore us. We must face it and learn to ride this river. There
is no getting around it. If we do not make the journey consciously, we
make it unconsciously with the raging white water spilling over into our
everyday lives and relationships with others.

When it comes to losing human loved ones, everyone, including family
and friends, colleagues (and even ourselves) understands that it takes
time to heal from grief. We are "allowed" and are given the courtesy of
time and space. But when it comes to Pet Loss, we usually face a
different group of voices all together. Most of the words from family
and friends, though well intended, are not very supportive after all.
These unfeeling responses can leave us feeling worse than we did
before. At worst case, the mourner will be ridiculed or even laughed at
for feeling so deeply about the death of their beloved pet.
"Get over it," " You can always get another one," "It was just a pet."
To the one enduring the pain of grief, those are cruel and harsh words.
They leave the pet-mourner feeling not only desperately alone, but
ashamed and embarrassed. Feeling "silly" or even "stupid" for such
deep grief over "just a pet,"

The all too common responses when we tell someone that our pet has
passed away can be deeply hurtful. Few openly acknowledge and
support our feelings when we tell them our pet has died. Many express
momentary sympathy, and then move on in the conversation as if we
had just said, "My car doesn't run anymore." There is often no
follow-up concern over your loss. No casseroles arrive at the door and
the sympathy cards do not come in the mail. The overall message
comes across that our pet was not important, that our feelings are not
important, that we are foolish and that our pet (the love of our lives!) is
replaceable. None of these are true and all are hurtful. It feels like
society is laughing at our pain. So many people just end up not sharing
it, not telling people how they really feel, and unfortunately, not reaching
for the support and help from either clinical or clerical that they so need
in their time of loss.

Discussion Forum

"Comparing Grief for Animals to Grief for Humans" 2 Replies

Started by Momcat Sooma. Last reply by Momcat Sooma Apr 1, 2009.

The Dragonfly" by Doris Stickney

Started by Momcat Sooma Mar 30, 2009.

"You Can Find Love Again"

Started by Momcat Sooma Mar 30, 2009.

Comment Wall


You need to be a member of Pet Loss Support Group to add comments!

Comment by Caryn Wilson on February 22, 2010 at 1:31pm
Kelly so sorry to here of the loss of Max, I know they are just like a human family member and are so much a part of our life. My heart goes out to your sister and her family also yourself. The pain is very real and it takes time to adjust to not having these sweet creatures in our life. Take care and will be praying for you and your family.
Comment by Lynn Pennington on February 22, 2010 at 12:05pm
Kelly, I am so sorry to hear about Max. Seems like just yesterday you posted about him being ill! Your sister and your family are surely hurting right now, but in time memories of Max will turn tears into smiles. He is pain free now and playing across the bridge with all the other pups here who have gone ahead. They await our reunion in time. Prayers to you and your family!
Comment by Kelly Meyer on February 22, 2010 at 11:48am
Thanks everyone,
It has been VERY hard! Even though Max was not my dog, I feel the loss so much! He was SUCH a part of our family--as all of our dogs are!
My sister and her family are taking it day by day! They know they did EVERYTHING they could do for sweet Max, but they miss him so very much--as do we!
Comment by Vicki Pekurney on February 22, 2010 at 7:58am
Our prayers are with Max's family. Run and play Max with all of our beloved pets who are already there waiting for us.
Comment by Coralie Nellhard on February 22, 2010 at 2:43am
I am so sorry for you and your family about Max´s. passing. It is so sad when our loved ones leave us, but the small comfort is that they are no longer suffering, as I understand it was in the case of Max. It doe´snt sound very comforting in our grief, but we can be assured that to become free on the Rainbow Bridge meant a lot to our beloved pets.
Comment by disturbed45 on February 21, 2010 at 6:14pm


Comment by Kelly Meyer on February 20, 2010 at 4:37pm
Our family has had a loss today!
Max--my sisters dog--was released from his pain of Kidney failure and inability to eat!

A few weeks ago, their vet had hoped they would get 6 more months with Max, but he went quick! He let them know it was his time and they did the only thing they could do for him and that was to let him go to the 'Bridge'!

He was a rescue, and quite possibly the SWEETEST dog you could ever meet! I think I only heard him growl one time, and that was because our Phoebe mounted him and tried to dominate him! That will be one--of the many--fond memories I have of Max!

Rest in Peace Max, we sure did love you! Enjoy being whole again and playing at the Bridge. We will see you again one day in the distant future!
Comment by disturbed45 on February 18, 2010 at 9:56am
Comment by Coralie Nellhard on February 18, 2010 at 6:13am
This is so true, We need to share how terrible and lonely it feels to lose our pet. No one should feel they have to hold back their tears or not communicate their sorrow.
On the other hand,sometimes it can be extremely difficult to convey condolences, that maybe why people don´t say anything,turn away or try to "excuse" the suffering by saying things "considered inappropriate" I think friends and aquaintences do what they they can because they want to show their compassion in some way, even if it can look or sound a bit "off hand".

I miss all the dogs I have had in my life,they will always be in my heart and thoughts. Saving them from shelters gave them a life they would never have had, as all of them had problems, some were aging or had health issues.Whatever the circumstances losing pets is like missing human friends and family members. They are very much part of our lives, but life goes on and given time the pain and suffering mellows and the memories of our wonderful times together become stronger and have the power to sooth us. Grief cannot be time defined.It is so personal, but like so many others on this forum I agree that anyone grief stricken for such a long period of time (several years) needs professional help.
Love and Light!
Comment by Lynn Pennington on February 17, 2010 at 1:44pm
I am truly sorry you are feeling such grief after 3 1/2 years! Do you have a pastor, priest or minister you can talk to? A grief counselor might be able to help and you should be able to find one in your area. Please, please try to find help! August 11th will be 2 years since we lost our Mouta and while there is not a day that passes without thoughts of her, the overwhelming grief is no longer there. I still miss her and always will, but there are other dogs and a cat in our life. She was our special baby and will always live in our hearts. One of the saddest things about taking a dog into your home and heart is that they don't live as long as we do and the day comes when we must say goodbye. And yet we take them, give them a home and love them. They all, each and every one of them, have things to teach us, much joy and laughter to bring to our lives while they are with us. Bringing another dog into our home after the passing of one so loved does not diminish the love for the one before it at all, but adds to our lives more joy and happiness and allows our hearts to grow. They are like furry, forever toddler children, each with their own personalities, each with so much love to give.Our lives are truly enriched by sharing love with animals.

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