Our animal companions often become special members of our family. Animal companions provide routine, fun, comfort and companionship. When we experience the death of an animal companion, we often experience ‘real’ grief. This grief is often disenfranchised within our society; meaning, society does not acknowledge it nor allow the bereaved much time to recover from the loss.
If you are grieving the death of a loved animal companion, please know you are not alone. It is a life changing event, can cause deep distress and the grief process is real.
I have compiled a few resources for those working through the mourning process of a loved animal companion. I am not aware of support groups for animal companion loss but there are several nice books for adults and children.
When a Pet Dies
By: Fred Rogers
Mr. Rogers did a meaningful episode on Death of a Fish. Watch it with your children or grandchildren to help explain death, it is gentle and compassionate. He talks about the loss of his pet dog when he was a boy, it’s beautiful and honest. I highly recommend this video for all children to watch!
My Pet Died: A Coloring Book For Grieving Children
By Dr. Alan Wolfelt
A helpful resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and counselors to use with grieving children. It provides grief education and a creative way to help children.
When Your Pet Dies: A Guide to Mourning, Remembering and Healing
Dr. Alan Wolfelt
I always have a few copies of this book on my shelf to give to friends who are grieving the death of an animal companion. I really love it because it normalizes grief after a pet dies, gives practical ideas and is easy to read. I highly recommend it. Find it at Center for Loss & Life Transition
Saying Goodbye to Your Pet: Children Can Learn to Cope with Pet Loss
By Marge Eaton Heegaard
I love this book too! Heegaard uses the same basic principles in all her books, ask questions, draw, write and talk with others about it.