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Pet Loss

"When he shall die, Take him and cut him out in little stars, And he will make the face of heaven so fine That all the world will be in love with night..."

-- from Shakepeare's Romeo and Juliet

The following tip is from an article written by PAW volunteer Kathleen Summers, inspired by Goldie, her sweet Chihuahua who passed away earlier this year.

Those of us who love animals -- who don't just enjoy their company, but who regard them as "fur-kids," or as members of our immediate family -- can take the death of a pet just as hard as the death of a human loved one. But there is support out there available when others do not understand our deepest sorrow. Here are a few resources that helped me:

BOOKS

Angel Pawprints, Reflections on Loving and Losing a Canine Companion, An anthology of pet memorials, edited by Laurel E. Hunt.

The Soul of Your Pet: Evidence for Survival of Animals After Death, by Scott S. Smith.

Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover's Soul, an anthology edited by Jack Canfield and others.

Some other books recommended by the Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement:

Coping with Sorrow on the Loss of Your Pet, by Moira Anderson.

Goodbye, Dear Friend: Coming to Terms With the Death of a Pet, by Virginia Ironside.

WEBSITES

The Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement (www.aplb.org) has a wealth of information, including online support groups, memorial pages, a newsletter, books, and listings of local pet loss support groups and counselors.

The Virtual Pet Cemetery (www.mycemetery.com) is a nonprofit online cemetery, in which you may post a memorial and/or photograph of your pet.

The W.I.T.H. Collection (www.whisperintheheart.com/with): a for-profit site featuring beautiful pendants which are designed to hold a memento.

PET LOSS HOTLINES

Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine Pet Loss Support Hotline: 540-231-8038. Operates Tuesday and Thursdays from 6:00 to 9:00 pm.

DISCUSSION/ SUPPORT GROUPS

The Internet newsgroup, alt.support.grief.pet-loss is a "bulletin board" style newsgroup where you may read postings from others who have lost a pet, post your own questions or comments, and give and receive support from others who are suffering a similar loss.

A local pet loss support group meets every second Tuesday of the month from 8:00-9:00 p.m. at the office of the Aspen Hill Memorial Park at 13630 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring. This group provides a safe environment for individuals who are grieving the loss of or preparing for the death of their animal companion. For details and to register, call 301-871-6700 or email Dr. Robyn Zeiger: RSZDAS@aol.com.

MEMORIALS AND PET CEMETERIES

Whether your pet has been cremated or you wish to have him or her buried, you may wonder what to do with the remains. I arranged for the return of Goldie's ashes, only to find that I could not bear to open the box to scatter them. Yet I did not want to bury her ashes near our home, because we may move. I decided to have her urn buried somewhere, where I could visit on a nice sunny day and leave mementos.

I discovered a nice pet cemetery an hour north of my home, where I could purchase a plot for $169, which would hold one casket or three urns. There were no additional "opening and closing" fees or annual maintenence fees. This cemetery is called Valley Pet Cemetery in Williamsport, MD. To find others, check your yellow pages under "Pet Cemeteries and Crematories."

Alternatively, you can get a personalized urn with your pet's photo engraved on it if you wish to keep a lasting memorial in your house (see below for info).

GRAVE MARKERS AND MEMORIALS

You can order a grave marker at the cemetery you select, or you can have a marker in your own yard. I ordered mine from the internet, where I found high quality markers with faster service and lower prices that my cemetery offered. I selected Stevens Everlasting Pet Memorials, www.sem2.com, or 330-339-6452. You can get a nice black granite grass marker with your pet's photo engraved on it for about $129 and up. Personalized urns and memorials are also available at lower prices.

Other sites for memorials and urns include:

Peace Pet Urns Shop, www.atpeace.com: urns that can include a miniature statue of your pet's breed, with engraving, as well as caskets. $50 and up.

Everlasting Granite Memorial Company, www.everlastingpetmemorial.com: granite grave markers that can include a drawing of your pet's breed. $50 and up.

THE BEST MEMORIAL OF ALL

The first and most comforting memorial was to send a donation in Goldie's name to a charity that helps homeless pets. Other pets will now be helped in her name, just as she was helped in her time of need.

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P.S. Here are some other resources:

ENDPet Memorial Board -- http://acmepet.petsmart.com/club/bboard/memorial/index.html

"Journey Through Pet Loss" -- an award-winning audiobook by therapist Deborah Antinori. Call (800) BOOK-LOG or 800-247-6553.

--Robin


Last Updated: July 02, 2013 (LET) PawSupport