We understand what you're going through.
We've been there, and we know we will be there again. We are all animal lovers at Veterinary Partner, whether we share our lives with horses, iguanas, rabbits, ferrets, hedgehogs, dogs, or cats. We know the joy a pet can bring to our lives, and we know the emptiness and sorrow when one dies.
For our pets, and for yours, we've compiled these resources to deal with pet loss. To help you through the tough times, to help you forget the bad and remember the good, forever. Ignore the people who dismiss your grief with "It's just a dog." They simply aren't animal people and don't understand that pets are family members. To get past the pain, you have to live it, but you don't want to wallow in it.
The University of California Davis School of Veterinary Medicine has a grief table, indicating typical responses. They also have information on talking to children about pet loss.
The veterinary school at Cornell offers a pet loss support line. Most veterinary schools offer some information on loss and grief.
The following websites - some created by pet owners - may be helpful.
Pet Loss Resource Center
Grief Support Center
Pet Loss Grief Support
Best Friends Animal Society Pet Loss Grief Support
(Also see Pet Loss Hotlines)
Numerous books have written on the topic. A handful include:
Goodbye, Friend: Healing Wisdom for Anyone Who Has Ever Lost a Pet
by Gary Kowalski
Losing My Best Friend: Thoughtful support for those affected by dog bereavement or pet loss
by Jeannie Wycherley
The Last Will and Testament of an Extremely Distinguished Dog
by Eugene O'Neill (written for his wife on the loss of their Dalmatian;
it is only 800 words, but a hard copy is a good gift)
When Your Pet Dies: A Guide to Mourning, Remembering and Healing
by Alan D. Wolfelt PhD
Going Home: Finding Peace When Pets Die
by Jon Katz
Most of all, take care of yourself and allow yourself to feel the grief.
Remember too what O'Neill's dog says in his last will and testament:
"I ask my Master and Mistress to remember me always, but not to grieve for me too long. In my life, I have tried to be a comfort to them in times of sorrow, and a reason for added joy in their happiness. It is painful for me to think that even in death I should cause them pain...
One last request I earnestly make. I have heard my Mistress say, "When Blemie dies we must never have another dog. I love him so much I could never love another one." Now I would ask her, for love of me, to have another. It would be a poor tribute to my memory never to have a dog again. What I would like to feel is that having once had me in the family, now she cannot live without a dog!"