Pet Loss Grief Support (Before & After)
The below resources may give you the tools and perspective to cope with the painful loss of your pet.
Honoring and Understanding the Human-Animal Bond:
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) defines the Human-animal bond as follows:
“The human-animal bond is a mutually beneficial and dynamic relationship between people and animals that is influenced by behaviors essential to the health and wellbeing of both. This includes, among other things, emotional, psychological, and physical interactions of people, animals, and the environment. The veterinarian’s role in the human-animal bond is to maximize the potential of this relationship between people and animals.
The AVMA recognizes: (1) the existence of the human-animal bond and its importance to client and community health, (2) that the human-animal bond has existed for thousands of years, and (3) that human-animal bond has major significance for veterinary medicine, because, as veterinary medicine serves society, it fulfills both human and animal needs.”
While this acknowledgment of this bond between human and animal is extremely important, I personally feel part of the emotional connection goes even deeper than these words imply. Anyone who has felt that incredible closeness with a beloved companion often has never experienced such a connection even with the humans in their lives. And it is clear from the reactions we see in our animals they also experience something magical in the bond. Oxytocin is a hormone found in all mammals and even in birds, reptiles, and fish a similar hormone exists. This hormone is often referred to as the “love hormone” and it plays a significant role in human bonding, and most likely explains how our pets feel about us. Studies have shown an increase in oxytocin levels in dogs after gazing into their caregiver’s eyes and an increase in oxytocin levels in cats after playing with their caregivers.
It is also well accepted that animals can dramatically improve mental health by improving symptoms of depression, PSTD, anxiety, and decreasing feelings of loneliness. And with the passing of laws that allow animals as Service Animals or Emotional Support Animals, there is no doubt the impact they can make on our lives.
Unfortunately, we all must eventually pass from this lifetime and for so many this knowledge can lead to significant worry and anxiety about the loss of this relationship. In my personal education and growth in the field of end-of-life veterinary care, I have had the incredible fortune of working with and getting to know two incredible professionals that can help with this inevitability. I encourage all to explore their websites and resources they offer well before the time comes to say goodbye to your companion. Perhaps in doing so you will realize when your companion must go, they may not be with you in physical form any longer, though they are not gone. There are many ways in which you can maintain your relationship and this information may also transform your life.
Hana Mari Mäkinen
Hana Mäkinen is a Finnish-born, Canadian who is a Certified Animal Communicator and End of Life & Grief Educator that works remotely from her home in Canada. With a degree in Psychology and 25 years of experience in natural health and healing, she also trained through the Gurney Institute of Animal Communication, with David Kessler in Grief Education. As a certified Grief Educator, she is committed to providing the highest level of grief support through education, experience and insights into the often-unacknowledged rocky terrain of grief.
The focus of Hana’s practice is to help people navigate through their animal’s end of life journey. This includes all animals of all species. By communicating with and sharing the wishes of the animal, you gain insight and have guidance during these very emotional times. Her approach is respectful, compassionate, supportive and unbiased, in a manner that brings a sense of peace and understanding to you, your family and your animal companion. She helps you understand your beloved animal’s needs and perspective during this natural life transition by creating a sacred space for you and your animal. This space allows for a greater sense of presence not only for your beloved animal, but also with yourself. Your emotions become your personal guide to help you navigate this very sacred passage with your animal. Their end-of-life journey opens you up to the possibility of seeing the hidden gems and gifts they have brought to your relationship over the years and to better understand the purpose and meaning of your time together.
Hana’s skills bring a much-needed awareness to the importance of acknowledging the gravity of pet loss and bereavement. Nurturing people who feel overwhelmed with a sense of fear, grief and sadness to helping them find a sense of peace and acceptance in this natural process we call “end of life”.
Hana has assisted Dr. Donna with the aging issues of her own pets and we are confident will provide to you the added support you need as you walk your beloved pet down their path. She offers a 15 minute free discovery call during which you can decide if her services resonate with you. We hope you visit her website to learn more.
Additionally, Hana has created a guide to help you connect with your pets in the afterlife. Please follow this link to access: https://endandafter.com/bookstore/cvjpc25d8s0d3t9tijmyqo478jiece
Tammy is a gifted, sought-after healer for humans and animals, a certified Interface Therapist (Bioenergetics), and an award-winning author of two bestselling books. She’s a pioneer and international teacher on the animal-human sacred soul partnership, and creator of the ground-breaking new healing modality: animal-human Tandem Healings™. Tammy’s life passion is about raising awareness of the higher purpose in the heart of every animal and human experience, aliment and issue, and exploring its capacity to expedite healing for all beings.
We highly recommend Tammy’s current publications available on her site:
- Soul Healing with Our Animal Companions, the Hidden Keys to a Deeper Animal-Human Connection
- Animal Soul Contracts, Shared Agreements for Shared Evolution
She also has a new book currently in publication and offers classes for more in-depth understanding and healing.
Helping Pets with Loss of Other Pets
After we have said goodbye to a beloved pet, many of us recognize and are concerned about the other house-hold pets left behind. The bond between pets is obvious and there is no question that they also grieve when their companions die. After a euthanasia is completed in the home, we generally recommend that the other pets have an opportunity to explore the body and hopefully understand and achieve closure. We will guide you when to do this. After the body is removed, it is not uncommon for them to struggle for a period of time.
Here are some resources to help you to support them.
(Pet Loss Hotlines, many articles and books, links to other sites, memorial items, etc.)
(many articles on different aspects of pet loss)
(articles and information)
(The Association for Pet Loss & Bereavement) (articles on Pet loss and Chat rooms)
(where you may light a candle in memory)
(Local Ordained Animal Chaplain, Karen Cohen)
Pet Loss Books for Adults
- Grieving the Death of a Pet
by Betty Carmack
- Coping with Sorrow on the Loss of Your Pet
by Moira Anderson
- Pet Loss and Human Bereavement
by William Kay and Herbert Nieburg
- Animals as Teachers and Healers
by Susan Chernak McElroy
- A Final Act of Caring: Ending the Life of an Animal Friend
by Mary and Herb Montgomery
- Pet Loss: A Thoughtful Guide for Adults and Children
by Herbert Nieburg
- It’s OK to Cry
by Gina Schampers
Pet Loss Books for Children
- When a Pet Dies
by Fred Rogers
- Dog Heaven
by Cynthia Rylant
- Cat Heaven
by Cynthia Rylant