Saturday, February 7, 2009

10 Inalienable Rights after the Death of a Special Companion

This is some of the material I received from Pet Angel - the company that performed Chloe's cremation"

Though you should reach out to others as you journey through grief, you should not feel obligated to accept the unhelpful responses you may receive from some people. You are the one who is grieving, and as such, you have certain “rights” no one should try to take away from you.

The following list is intended both to empower you to heal and to decide how others can and cannot help. This is not to discourage you from reaching out to others for help, but rather to assist you in distinguishing useful responses from hurtful ones.

The Pet Lover’s Code by Dr. Alan Wolfelt

1. You have the right to grieve the death of a pet. You loved your pet. Your pet loved you. You had a strong and profound relationship. You have every right to grieve this death. You need to grieve this death. You also need to mourn this death (express your grief outside yourself).

2. You have the right to talk about your grief. Talking about your grief will help you heal. Seek out others who will allow you to talk about your grief. Other pet lovers who have experienced the death of a pet often make good listeners at this time. It at times you don’t feel like talking, you also have the right to be silent.

3. You have the right to feel a variety of emotions. Confusion, anger, guilt, and relief are just a few of the emotions you might feel as part of your grief journey after the death of a pet. Feelings aren’t right or wrong; they just are.

4. You have the right to be tolerant of your physical and emotional limits. After the death of a pet, your feelings of loss and sadness will probably leave you feeling fatigued. Respect what your body and mind are tell you. Get daily rest, Eat balanced meals. And don’t allow others to push you into doing things you don’t feel like doing.

5. You have the right to experience “griefbursts”. Sometimes, out of nowhere, a powerful surge of grief may overcome you. This can be frightening, but it is normal and natural.

6. You have the right to make use of ritual. After a pet dies, you can harness the power of ritual to help you heal. Plan a ceremony that includes everyone who loved your pet.

7. You have the right to embrace your spirituality. At times of loss, it is natural to turn to your faith or spirituality. Engaging your spirituality by attending church or other place of worship, praying, or spending time alone in nature may help you better understand and reconcile your loss.

8. You have the right to search for meaning. You may find yourself asking “Why did my pet die? Why this way? Why now?” Some of your questions may have answers, but some may not. Ask them anyway.

9. You have the right to treasure your memories. Memories are one of the best legacies that exist after the death of a special companion animal. Instead of ignoring your memories, find ways to capture them and treasure them always.

10. You have the right to move toward your grief and heal. Reconciling your grief after the death of a pet may not happen quickly. Remember, grief is best experienced in “doses.” Be patient and tolerant with yourself and avoid people who are impatient and intolerant with you. Neither you nor those around you must forget that the death of a beloved pet changes your life forever.
Photo is of my beloved Moon Unit "Mooney" - 1975 to 1993


cindee said...

Thanks for posting this. I have been through it all at one point. I remember when my Dear Lucy died. She went in for a routine Spay. She was allergic to the sedative they gave her and she died on the table. I was so upset I thought I would die too. She was my first baby. I cried for days and my co-workers thought I was crazy. They just didn't understand. Lucy was my best friend and I had lost her. I met her mother when we moved into our new home. She use to come over everyday to get a treat or two. When she had Lucy her owner offered me a choice of puppies.(-: After we took Lucy home, Lucys mother would still come over to nurse her everyday and of course get more treats! It was so funny. We had a really strong bond. I still miss Lucy. I only had Lucy for a little over a year but it seemed so much longer to me. As they say Time does heal all. I think the loss of a loved pet is one of the worst kind of losses.

Bill DeBusk said...

I am Bill, Manager of Pet Angel Memorial Center. I saw your blog today and wanted to send my deepest sympathies for your loss of Chloe. Is this Chloe Carmichael that came through East Bay Animal Hospital? If so I want to apologize that you and your family that you did not get to receive a personal sympathy card from Pet Angel. East Bay does not provide us with any of the family information therefore we did not have your address. I hope all of the literature you received from Pet Angel helped you in some small way. Please let me know if this is the correct Chloe, my e-mail is

My Little Family: said...

Yes, my gal was THE Chloe Carmichael (from East Bay). The on this particular post is my old Moon Dawg but if you go back a couple posts you can see my old gals. Thank you for returning her to me so quickly. I feel better having her remains back home. Vickie

tina said...

I am going to have to let my mother know about these rights, she took it so hard when her cockatiel died in her hands. Still grieves an awful lot. Thanks for sharing.

Renna said...

Wow, it's encouraging to hear that there are others out there who do understand that grief experienced over the loss of a pet is legitimate grief.

Jake Jacob said...

Absolutely love your site. Would love for you to register and be a part our community.
- Where Passions become Profitable

Julie said...

This is a great list to recieve, all printed up like this! I read through it and I think I used every one when I had to put my dog, Jake to sleep a few years ago!

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