I was blessed with the opportunity to be unexpectedly interviewed by John Edward last week. He asked me to give him 3 things someone could do once they have lost an animal. I will give 12 here. Some are for the benefit of the person, some the benefit of the other animals in the house, (if applicable) and some both.
1. Remember that your fur-baby is around you. They are just not wearing their clothes anymore.
Talk to them. They will hear you. Look and Listen for them. They will contact you. Through a song, through a smell, through a butterfly or something significant to you. Think of them. They will feel your love.
2. Have some sort of ‘memorial service’.
Light a candle, play soft music and have everyone around who loved them talk, or someone read a poem. VERY IMPORTANT: include your pets who have lost their pet buddy Light a prayer candle every night at the same time your fur-family member passed, until the candle is gone
3. Create an alter for a specific amount of time. You can include things like:
a candle your fur-family member’s favorite toys, collar, etc. perhaps your fur-family member’s ashes until you decide what you want to do with them
4. Create a memory shadow box. You can include in things like:
A lock of their hair Their favorite toy Their favorite ‘woobie’ Their collar Anything that you would like to keep and will memorialize them for you
5. Go through your photos
Create a photo collage or photo album of your fur-family member Create a photo blanket or pillow, through something like Treasure Knit Create a hard back photo book of your fur-kid through something like iPhoto Have a professional painting or drawing done Get a purse or tote made with a photo of your animal HERE
6. Have a cast made of your fur-baby’s paw
Some places offer this at the time of euthanasia. If they don’t, ask You can put it in your shadow box
7. Plant a tree (or plant or flower) for your furbaby
Plant it in his/her memory You can bury the ashes and plant the tree on top of the ashes
8. Write in a journal
Write to your fur-kid Write about him/her Write a poem about him/her Write anything you want, but write. Your baby will hear you
9. Create a website for your furbaby
Start a blog or social networking page about your memories Share your photos and memories with other animal lovers
10. Talk to someone who understands. Not everyone understands the depth of what it feels like to lose an animal who is a family member. If you don’t have friends or family who can support you:
Join a pet-loss support group Call a pet-loss hotline Find pet-loss forum online There is a list of resources HERE
11. Buy yourself a squishy stuffed animal. (If you know someone who has just lost a pet, buy them a squishy stuffed animal.) 🙂
To some of you, this might sound silly, but no matter how old you are, what gender you are, don’t let your ego tell you it’s not ‘okay’, or make you feel ‘silly.’ A stuffed animal acts as a ‘physical surrogate bringing you closer to your fur-baby’s spirit. They can feel the emotion and energy when you hug that surrogate, which not only helps us emotionally, but also opens the door to allowing you to feel your baby’s presence in other ways. Stuffed animals are not just for children anymore, they are for the child inside us who needs the love and comfort only an animal will bring.
12. Don’t get a new pet right away.
Not only for you, but for your animals who have lost their fur buddies. Take time to work through your grief, and allow them the time to work through theirs. Unless an animal is placed in your path, which may be a gift or sign from your departed animal, it is usually better to get to a place of normalcy before bringing a new family member into the house. You will more often find that by doing so, you can create a stronger emotional bond with the new animal without them feeling the pressure of trying to live up to another animal’s memory (whether you think you are doing it consciously or not.)
I started by saying, remember that your furbaby is always around you. Don’t doubt that. They have left an indelible mark on your heart, as you have on theirs. More often than not, they have become spirit guides for you on the other side, and many times they will have left so that they can assist you from the other side in ways that they may not have been able to assist you here.
It’s small consolation when we are missing our beloved fur-children, I have always thought that it was some sort of cruel, cosmic, joke that animal’s life spans are so much shorter than our own, but consider this: Think about how many homeless animals there are in the world, suffering, alone, on the streets and in shelters. In a perfect world, we have all of our animals for the full length of their life spans, so if we live the full length of ours, we will have saved at least 5 generations of animals from the torment of animal homelessness.
Animals come into our lives for a reason. And as one dog in spirit explained the concept to me, we, in human existence, are given the gift of being able to be physical caretakers for these animals who, in turn, are spiritual caretakers for us.
We certainly miss them. But what better gift could we ask for from them, they, who continue to be our spiritual caretakers, long after our job of physical caretaker for them is over.
Lisa Larson is an animal communicator and reiki master. You can find her at www.pawstalk.net