I just received an email from J. telling me his dog died. I had done a remote session with J. and his dog D. recently. We had a wonderful time, even though D. wasn’t feeling well. D., the dog, pointed to body parts with his nose as I suggested these would be great massage spots to make D. more comfortable. J. and I were amazed!
But I’m still teary-eyed. I’m always teary-eyed when a client’s pet dies.
Yes, animals survive death
I believe animals survive death, just like humans. So I’m not grieving because they’re forever lost to us.
When a client’s pet dies, I know they’re feeling much better. They’re no longer struggling with physical issues. I’m glad for that.
But I still grieve. I hoped they’d have more time on the earth with their people. Don’t we all?
I have a special connection
Even if we only had one animal communication session, it creates a special relationship for me. I got a sense of their personality, and what makes them so lovable.
For instance, a dog let me see how he loved being “babied” by his person. Immediately after, he gruffly told me that he was still “the man of the house.” He was Mr. Macho except when he was allowing his person to baby him. Sweet!
I glimpsed prior experiences before they came to be with their forever family. We shared their sadness of leaving the family when their person could no longer care for them. Or the fear and dread in situations where they weren’t valued like most of us value our animal companions.
I was privileged to let them know what their current family loved about them. I felt their hearts grow with the sense of being appreciated for who they were. And I got to describe their love – and sometimes gratitude – for their family. We could feel the connections between everyone grow stronger.
I thought the loss would get easier
But’s when a client’s pet dies, I still mourn. It doesn’t matter who it was – horse, guinea pig, cat, bird or dog. I’m sorry they transitioned. I know their people and how much they love them. I mourn for the whole family.
Not skipping the sadness
I resist rushing into, “They’re in a better place.” “It was their time.” “They were loved and still are, so it’s OK.” I stay with the sadness.
Why do I stay with the sadness when a client’s pet dies?
Because I honor the animal and their family. And if I skip the hard feelings, I miss moving gently into peace. Instead, it’s an unprocessed emotion, which I can’t afford to hold onto in my animal communication work.
But it takes time to feel the truth that they’re OK, they passed in love, and they’re probably feeling a lot better than they were when they were on the earth.
In time, I feel a continuing connection with them. It’s as if I’ve got more friends hanging out on the other side every time a client’s pet dies.
Did you know Fred Rogers of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood wrote, When a Pet Dies, for kids whose pet died?
I hope you find comfort knowing I grieve for your animals. Please don’t let your self-judgment (what you should have done or shouldn’t have done) overshadow your love for them. Give yourself permission to grieve. Grief is a direct result of your love.
Let your animal’s love surround you even now. Because the truth is love never dies.
Did you catch my interview with Bobbie Rae Boyer on moving forward through grief?
Maribeth, Thank you for this. As hard as it is, I know I made the right decision. the night before I struggled with “Is it too soon?” and “Am I making the right decision?”. Yesterday after D passed, I felt guilty. But was really old for his size, his health was declining more each day, he didn’t seem as happy as he once was, but he was determined to keep going on. I didn’t want him to suffer and I didn’t want his final moments to be in a vets office. My experience yesterday was traumatic and a gift at the same time. It was the hardest decision I have ever had to make. I had to make it for him because I love him that much. It’s going to take time and I know he is at peace. I miss him.