Pet Loss Resources
If you have suffered the loss of a beloved companion animal, you have our deepest sympathy. There are many resources to support you during this difficult time. The information below comes from Best Friends Animal Society’s website: www.bestfriends.org. It includes hotlines located around the country, as well as websites and other resources for people who are grieving. You’ll also find links to articles, reading lists and information about support groups. Thanks to Best Friends for sharing these resources with Kindred Spirits Animal Sanctuary and our supporters.
Companion Animal Association of Arizona, 602-995-5885. Staffed by volunteers who have lost a pet and have been trained in bereavement support. All calls are returned collect. (See website resources for more information).
Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine, 508-839-7966. Staffed by veterinary students who have participated in extensive training sessions with licensed psychologists. Monday–Friday, 6–9 pm, Eastern Time.
College of Veterinary Medicine at Michigan State University, 517-432-2696. Staffed by veterinary students trained by a professional grief counselor. Tuesday–Thursday, 6:30–9:30 pm, Eastern Time.
Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine, 509-335-5704. Staffed by veterinary students. Monday–Thursday, 6:30–9:00 pm, Saturday, 1–3 pm.
Pet Loss Websites
The Association of Pet Loss and Bereavement is a nonprofit association of concerned people who are experienced and knowledgeable about pet death. The organization provides pet bereavement counseling and public education to those interested in counseling others. Services and online articles are available to members only (for a fee of $25 per year), but lists of hotlines and support groups are provided free at www.aplb.org.
The Companion Animal Association of Arizona, Inc. has a Pet Grief Support Service that provides a telephone helpline, a support group, and a reading list of petloss resources. The association is operated entirely by volunteers who receive ongoing support and training from a certified grief counselor who specializes in pet loss. Visit www.caaainc.org.
The Delta Society is a nonprofit organization that provides information on the human/animal bond. The organization offers a bibliography of publications on pet loss and a list of pet-loss counselors, helplines, and support groups, available by request at 425- 226-7357 or at www.deltasociety.org under the health benefits section (pet loss and bereavement).
“Getting Through Grief” by Julie Axelrod of the Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement. Can be found at www.aldf.org/article.php?id=288
Various articles by Moira Anderson Allen, M.Ed., on pet loss and bereavement. Can be found at www.pet-loss.net/.
“Supporting People Who Are Grieving” from Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Can be found at this URL: www.vetmed.wsu.edu/plhl/support/.
Best Friends has a Best Friends Network community for people dealing with pet loss. To join or visit the Prayers, Healing and Support community, go to this web page: network.bestfriends.org/PHS.
The Souls of Animals by Gary Kowalski
Why do elephants bury their dead? What makes birds sing and cranes dance? Do animals appreciate art? Do they know the difference between right and wrong? Do they experience awe and wonder? In his celebrated book, Reverend Gary Kowalski combines heartwarming stories with solid science to show that other creatures are not insensitive objects devoid of feeling and intellect but thinking, sentient beings with an inward, spiritual life.
Rising Above Grief for People & Pets: A True Story of Love, Caring & Sharing by Phillipa Kingsley
This book will not only connect you with your own experience of grief but shines a light for others who are struggling to come to terms with the loss of a person or pet -Colin Tipping, author of Radical Forgiveness and Radical Self-Forgiveness "Philippa Kingsley's book offers a truly heartfelt and deeply personal account of her encounters with grief. You will be touched by her courage and honesty. True compassion lies at the heart of grief" -Dale Borglum, The Living/Dying Project, co-author of Journey of Awakening I have been guided in spirit to share my most innermost thoughts and channeled writings of the experience of loss, letting go, and the transitions from the physical body of my darling father and beloved pets. I am guided to help others who are suffering, or have suffered, whilst walking down the road of grief, with the realization that there is a beginning, a middle, and an end to this process, and with the awareness that you too will rise above grief and learn to live and laugh again.
How Animals Grieve by Barbara J. King
From the time of our earliest childhood encounters with animals, we casually ascribe familiar emotions to them. But scientists have long cautioned against such anthropomorphizing, arguing that it limits our ability to truly comprehend the lives of other creatures. Recently, however, things have begun to shift in the other direction, and anthropologist Barbara J. King is at the forefront of that movement, arguing strenuously that we can—and should—attend to animal emotions. With How Animals Grieve, she draws our attention to the specific case of grief, and relates story after story—from field sites, farms, homes, and more—of animals mourning lost companions, mates, or friends
A Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron
This is the remarkable story of one endearing dog’s search for his purpose over the course of several lives. More than just another charming dog story, A Dog’s Purpose touches on the universal quest for an answer to life's most basic question: Why are we here? Surprised to find himself reborn as a rambunctious golden-haired puppy after a tragically short life as a stray mutt, Bailey’s search for his new life’s meaning leads him into the loving arms of 8-year-old Ethan. During their countless adventures Bailey joyously discovers how to be a good dog. But this life as a beloved family pet is not the end of Bailey’s journey. Reborn as a puppy yet again, Bailey wonders—will he ever find his purpose? Heartwarming, insightful, and often laugh-out-loud funny, A Dog's Purpose is not only the emotional and hilarious story of a dog's many lives, but also a dog's-eye commentary on human relationships and the unbreakable bonds between man and man's best friend. This moving and beautifully crafted story teaches us that love never dies, that our true friends are always with us, and that every creature on earth is born with a purpose.
A Dog's Journey by W. Bruce Cameron
Direct sequel to the New York Times and USA Today bestselling A Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron
Buddy is a good dog. After searching for his purpose through several eventful lives, Buddy is sure that he has found and fulfilled it. Yet as he watches curious baby Clarity get into dangerous mischief, he is certain that this little girl is very much in need of a dog of her own. When Buddy is reborn, he realizes that he has a new destiny. He's overjoyed when he is adopted by Clarity, now a vibrant but troubled teenager. When they are suddenly separated, Buddy despairs—who will take care of his girl? A charming and heartwarming story of hope, love, and unending devotion, A Dog's Journey asks the question: Do we really take care of our pets, or do they take care of us? More than just another endearing dog tale, A Dog's Journey is the moving story of unwavering loyalty and a love that crosses all barriers.
Goodbye, Friend by Gary Kowlaski
Kowalski’s book is full of sound, compassionate advice to get through the loss of a pet. Included are ideas for rituals and ceremonies, spiritual guidance and readings for solace. Kowalski includes advice on how to take care of yourself after the death of a pet and the importance of honesty when talking with children about this event.
Saying Goodbye to the Pet You Love by Lorri A. Greene, Ph.D.
Written by a psychologist who is a leader in the field of pet bereavement, this practical but sympathetic guide validates the survivor’s often misunderstood feelings, explains the importance of the human/animal bond, and offers strategies for working through the grieving process. Topics include memorializing the pet, recognizing problematic thinking, finding support, dealing with guilt and explaining the pet’s death to a child. The special needs of the guardians of working animals are addressed, as are self-help resources for the elderly.
Grieving the Death of a Pet by Betty Carmack
Written by a nurse and professional pet-loss counselor, this book draws from her experience of counseling people who have lost a beloved pet, as well as the loss of her own furry friends. Carmack offers pet-loss support to counter “a world that reminds us repeatedly that grief for an animal doesn’t count as much as grief for a person.” The book is poignant and sometimes heartrending, filled with personal stories of love and loss.
Pet Loss: A Spiritual Guide by Julia Harris
This book helps readers to understand the many emotional reactions to the loss of a pet; assist children in coping with and recovering from their loss; and learn how different spiritual belief systems recognize and counsel pet loss. Practical topics include what happens at a pet cemetery burial, cremation or home burial; what legal arrangements are available; how to develop a ceremony to honor the pet; and how to cope with the trauma of a terminally ill or runaway pet. C
Old Noses at the Pearly Gates by Gary Kurz
This book can help you cope with the loss of a pet and tries to answer questions about pet afterlife.
When Only the Love Remains by Emily Margaret Stuparyk
This book is a collection of poignant poems.
Three Cats, Two Dogs: One Journey Through Multiple Pet Loss by David Congalton
The author talks about how he transformed his anguish over the loss of several pets into a commitment to abused and abandoned animals. This down-to-earth book offers solace and practical suggestions for coping with grief. Anyone who has an animal companion will find this story inspirational and hopeful.
For children and teenagers
Dog Heaven by Cynthia Rylant
Cat Heaven by Cynthia Rylant
These books will appeal to children from preschool to grade two. The simple, colorful illustrations take the child on a journey to Dog Heaven or Cat Heaven, places of warmth and happiness. In Dog Heaven, there are “fields and fields and fields,” and in Cat Heaven, there are thousands of toys and soft angel laps in which to cuddle up. God is depicted as a kindly older man who benevolently watches over his charges.
Tear Soup by Pat Schweibert
This book tells the story of an old woman named Grandy who is making “tear soup.” It’s not specifically about the death of a pet – the reader is not sure what loss Grandy has suffered – so the book is relevant for any grieving process. The full-color illustrations are wonderful. The book is recommended for ages four to eight, but it has been a comfort to people of all ages.
For Every Dog an Angel by Christine Davis
For Every Cat an Angel by Christine Davis
These small short books, which tell the story of the Rainbow Bridge, are beautifully illustrated in whimsical watercolors. They are appropriate for a wide range of ages.