They were your constant companion, your confidant, your unconditional friend. When they die, it can feel like a part of you died with them. As an animal lover, you develop a deep human-animal bond with your pet—deeper than some people can understand. When they die, your world falls apart.
That’s how it’s been for us with the passing of the animals that graced our lives—our world crumbled. Where we once saw color, there was only black and white.
Our own experiences of loss led us to explore the many facets of grief.
Lisa’s journey through grief led her to enroll in the Animal Chaplaincy Program with the Compassion Consortium. The program helps fulfill the heart’s call to honor and celebrates the lives of all species, including how to companion them through joys and challenges.
Talking with grief counselors, we learned many things that have helped on our journey to peace.
- There is no one way to grieve. We offer these resources in the hope you find a beacon of light on your own path through grief.
- The grief process isn’t linear. Moving through grief is like a spiral or squiggly line that travels forward, backward, up, down, and then repeats the random pattern. We hope you’ll visit again and again to explore these resources, as some may speak to your needs at different times.
- Having the support of others who have experienced your pain is invaluable. Lean on others who’ve been there and let their experiences help you reach the other side—the side that contains the joy and appreciation for the love you shared.
Please know we've felt what you feel.
We hope these grief resources will help you understand you’re not alone.
Dog Heaven, Cynthia Ryland
Dog Songs, Mary Oliver
For Every Dog an Angel, Christine Davis
Goodbye, friend, Gary Kowalski
Grieving the Death of a Pet, Betty J. Carmack
How Animals Grieve, Barbara J. King
The Grief Recovery Handbook for Pet Loss, by Russell Friedman, Cole James, and John W. James
The Dog Chapel, Stephen Huneck
Weep Not for Me, Constance Jenkins
When the Loss is Deep, A Companion Animal Grief Journey, Deborah Jones, Ph.D.
We Don’t Move on From Grief, We Move Forward with It, Nora McInery, TED women, 2018
Grief and Love in the Animal Kingdom, Barbara J. King, TED, 2019
Pet Loss Grief; The Pain Explained, Sarah Hoggan DVM, TEDx Talks
Grief and Pet Loss, Symptoms You May Experience, Belinda Johnson, Naturally Happy Dogs
COMING SOON: OUR BOOK ON GRIEF
The Death of a Dog Changes You delves into the deep and dark places I visited after the untimely deaths of my four young dogs and the uncanny way that transforming immense grief and sorrow can lead to pure joy. It’s a love story filled with tragedy, anger, guilt, second-guessing and, ultimately, acceptance.
~ Lisa Lyle Waggoner