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Why do I need to be ready and prepared for a pet love and loss story? (updated)

Updated: Jan 4, 2022

Why do I need to be ready and prepared for a pet love and loss story? Because a pet love and loss story will come unexpected and unexplainably so to you or someone you know and care for. People are not ready or prepared for it because it is rarely, if ever, discussed before it happens. It is a three-part story co-created between you and your pet with an imprinting bond, a mutual bond, and a continuing bond, of love. The breadth of bonding time may be truly short (hours to days), and the depth may be over a lifespan. For pets like hamsters who live less than five years, dogs 10-13 years, cats 12-18 years, and horses 25-30 years. In contrast, the global average lifespan is seventy-two and a half years for a person.

People are often familiar with the pleasures of a getting and having a pet or know someone who does. Most people are also familiar with the fact that most pets live shorter lives than most people. However, most people are not familiar with a personal beloved pet love and loss story. That one pet that was special that taught you about what really love is. The one you hear people refer to with a pet’s official record name and then their bond nickname or relationship such as my soulmate, my family member, my fur-baby, my everything, even my child, daughter, or son. Whether the loss is expected or unexpected, slow, or quick, or experienced directly or indirectly, the person with a beloved pet loss often is not ready and prepared for processing it nor are others like family, friends, or even a typical support professional (minister, counselor, medical provider, or veterinarian).

When a beloved pet love loss comes it is often a mind-numbing, heart-breaking, and spirit-crushing season of sorrow. In this season of strife, often the “twins of grief and guilt” show up with gut punches that leave you staggering. Grief may show up as anticipatory grief (anticipating the loss ahead of the loss), ambivalent grief (mixed feelings about the loss), or disenfranchised grief (feeling alone with no social supports) or all three. Guilt may show up with the “cousins of blame and shame” with one or more of should of, could of, would of, ought of, and might of expressions from you and/or others you never thought would even say this or do that. In their uninformed efforts to be supportive of you, people may say and do things that are just not helpful and at times, they may definitely feel hurtful! This is because many people just do not know what they do not know, until they know better. People may say well you can never really be ready and prepared for a beloved pet loss. But they often also say they feel they could have felt more supported or have better supported a person experiencing it but did not really know how. Below are two online opportunities that may be helpful to you or others you care for to know better on what to say and do…better.

OL123 How to Apply “Pet Effect” Science for Your Personal and Pet’s Wellbeing

Thursdays, January 20, 27, February 3 and 10, 1030-1145am Central Time

Registration is $50 USD annual membership and $50 USD per semester (there is no limit to the number of courses you can take each semester).

Zoom Into Our Pet Love and Loss Group!

We talk about pet love and loss, before, during, and after life. It is a discussion group on general pet and animal love and loss topics and stories. It is for people who are preparing for a pet love or loss or experiencing a pet love or loss. All who attend do not provide professional emergency, financial, legal, medical, mental health, pastoral care, or veterinary advisory services nor is this group a substitute for those services. We will respectfully share pet and animal love and loss tips in our group. It is also an opportunity to tell your pet love and loss story for group support.

Sunday, Jan 23, Central Time (US and Canada)

registration required and it is free of charge. After registering at the link below, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Also attached is a flyer on what to expect in a pet chaplain visit.

FLYER Pet Chaplain Visit - What to Expect
Download PDF • 135KB

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