Grieving A Beloved Animal Companion

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Dear Laura,
I just lost my much loved and best friend Charlie after 11 years. I miss him very much and am having a hard time dealing with the sense of loss. I don’t know where to turn, since everyone seems to think, “oh, it was just a dog!!” as if it shouldn’t matter that much…I keep looking for him…I know he will come back in some way, and that I have to let him go…I am just lost…..

“Borrowed from heaven for just a short while…some folks think you can’t see an animal smile.
Us we know different ‘cuz we’ve felt their love… a small slice of Heaven, sent from Above.”
© Laura Scott, all rights reserved

Dear Rachel,
I know your pain. There is no such thing as “just a dog” or “just a cat”, or even the phrase “just a”… when it comes to an animal being’s unfailing love, companionship, honesty and support. Shame on all those who try to minimize your grief. The heart knows no bounds in it’s capacity to love, and does not discriminate to whom or how it will apply it.

Please be very gentle with yourself as you go through the grieving process. I suggest getting a bottle of Rescue Remedy and keeping it close at hand. If you can’t find a few friends who will let you talk openly and freely share your grief, you may do well with a counselor, or an on-line chat room where you can connect with other kindred spirits who are grieving the loss of a beloved companion.

Grief takes as long as it takes. There are no time-lines or rules. Companion beings like Charlie often take on emotional roles to us as surrogate parents, or surrogate children or brother or best friend to us. In our often crazy, fast paced world, sometimes the unfailing love of a pet is the only thing that truly makes sense! The fact that you have “merely” lost a pet in some folk’s eyes is in no way relevant to the depth of your grief. All life matters equally to the Universe. The heart does not distinguish levels of love and loss.

Some people feel that getting a new pet right away is best, while others would strongly disagree. Animals are superb healers and teachers in their own right. They give us much and ask for little in return. They don’t have stuff to ‘keep working on’ so it is rare that they need to come back. Your grief shows that you have a great capacity to love, and Charlie’s passing, as god-awful as it feels right now, should begin to ease with time.

In the meanwhile, when you are ready to share your space once more, there are many eager animal beings already here on earth anxiously awaiting the opportunity to assist, serve and support you on the next part of your journey. I hope you will eventually allow yourself to share that capacity for love again, and that you understand that this will never diminish the love that you had for Charlie. He filled entire chapters of your life, and is permanently woven into the ongoing tapestry that is you. Indeed, I wish you the rich good fortune of knowing many many more Charlie’s when the time is right. In the meantime, I send you peace and a big hug.