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There are very distinct, yet overlapping, phases of grief. We go through the stages in various orders and in varying degrees on the road to recovering from any loss. If we lose a jacket at the ballpark, we may go through all the stages in a few minutes. If the jacket was one that was given to us by our brother on our birthday, it may take much more time.
If the animal was a family pet and stayed outside, it may not hit us as hard as if he were our own companion and greeted us each night when we came in the door. If your pet was a companion and best friend, the mourning will be a deep one.
1. Shock/Denial/Numbness. We can not believe this has happened to us. Our body and emotions numb themselves against the pain. The mind denies the loss. Often we will say things like "This can't be true." One of the valid reasos for memorials and funerals is to acknowledge that death did take place.
2. Fear/AngerDepression. After the numbness wears off and we are once again able to feel, then all of our repressed feelings come roaring back. Sometimes these feeling ared not rational at first and can seedk someone to blame, either an outsider or ourselves. "I can't share how sad I am about my dog, because my co-workers will think I am crazy." "But, on the other hand, I inquire about their child's cold and buy their stupid Girl Scout cookies to support them. It isn't fair!" "Oh God, please don't let me start crying at work again. I heard someone call me a drama queen and say; It's only a dog, not a child."
3. Understanding/Acceptance/Moving on.
4. New Hurts May Trigger Old Wounds.
As pet owners we are often concerned about what and how we can train our pets. But the truth is that pets often teach us. As a parent educator (and pet grief coach) I use animals to teach families how to relate to one another in daily life.
Today's show will be about some of the life skills we can learn from animals. Here are just some we will discuss;
To have unconditional love for others.
To be non-judgemental about race, gender, religion or nationality
To protect our loved ones
To be aware of other's feelings and show empathy and comfort
To show loyalty for family
To trust your instincts
To live in the moment--don't hold grudges
To keep our needs simple
To hide a little something away for a rainy day
To include excercise and naps in everyday.
You are invited to call in during the show or to leave comments that may be used in an up-coming book on Animal-Human Connection. Thanks for being part of our community of kind, thoughtful people who want respect for all.
Judy Helm Wright, Pet Grief Coach and author of "I Lost My Best Friend Today--Dealing With The Loss of a Beloved Pet."
PS: If you have a pet story to share please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure to put PET STORY in the subject line. You may be featured in an upcoming book.
Below are some of the most frequent questions we get at www.deathofmypet.com We will go over the answers to these questions about pet loss and how it affects those of us who are are suffering.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT PET LOSS
& THE GRIEF OF LOSING A BEST FRIEND.
How is it possible that I am sadder with the loss of my dog than with the loss of close family members?
For many people the love and companionship of a pet may be the only or certainly the strongest bond of unconditional love they have experienced. It is also possible, like many of my clients, which you have been strong and practical while caring for ailing parents or friends. But suddenly, your best friend and closest companion is dying and it is the last straw on a pile of buried emotions. It may be that your pet was your “safe place to go and soft spot to land.”
2. I feel like I am going crazy. Am I ever going to feel normal again?
Yes, you will feel emotionally better but different than before. You will eventually remember and rejoice in the many happy times you had with your pet. You will be able to reflect on the many life lessons you shared.
3. How long will I grieve my pet?
All of our emotions are individual. When we love deeply, we grieve deeply. Grief coaches often say that it takes about a year before your loss is the first thing you think of in the morning and the last thing you think about at night.
More questions answered on call. Join us
6 Dog Personalities & Temperaments (EXPERT)
It is helpful to know what kind of personality your new dog will have; so that you can more easily adapt him/her to your family.There are six basic types of dog personalities. In addition to personalities all animals have temperament. Temperament is the breed of animal. Personality is all the things inside her head that determine behavior.
A large part is genetic and the rest is molded during the first weeks of his/her life with you, the pet parent.
6 types of dog personalities
A Responsive dog
A Nervous dog
A Shy dog
The Sedate dog
The Aggressive dog
The Stubborn dog
Of course a dog’s environment also affects behavior. Which of these basic personality types best suit you and your family depends largely on your own personality and what you are looking for in a family pet.
Which of these basic personality types best suit you and your family depends largely on your own personality and what you are looking for in a family pet.
Choose carefully for this pet dog will most certainly become a valued and loved part of your family for many years to come.
Be sure to come to www.deathofmypet.com to find resources, classes and consults with Judy Helm Wright, “Pet Grief Coach”
in Self Help
According to the AAVA, Americans owned more than 157 million pets in 2012. Americans LOVE their pets! A big problem with pets, however, is that their lives are shorter than human lives. We love them, and lose them far too soon for us. How do we deal with losing them? What do we need to do in order to grieve their loss fully, and then go on with our own lives? What do we do about getting another pet? Russell Friedman and his colleagues, author of The Grief Recovery Handbook for Pet Loss, is an expert in grief and applies his understanding to the very real grief we human feel when our pets die. Russell and co-author John James have created the Grief Recovery Method, shared with you when you listen to Full Power Living.
So many people preface the report of the deep grief they feel after the death of their dog, cat or bird, with “I know I’m being stupid/silly, but….” It turns out that grief is grief, and grief felt over the death of our beloved pet is no more silly or stupid than grief we feel over the lost of a person we love. Who better to discuss this with than someone who is an expert on all aspects of grief? Listen on Thursday as Russell Friedman talks with us on questions most of us have when we suffer loss. Click here to visit Russell Friedman's website!
The Grief Recovery Handbook for Pet Loss: Russell Friedman
Your relationship with your pet is special--it's a bond that is very different than those that human beings share with each other. When a beloved pet passes away, people often resort to incorrect mechanisms to deal with the grief, such as trying to move too quickly past the loss dismissing the real impact), or even attempting to replace the pet immediately. However, these are merely two myths out of six that the authors discuss and dismantle in The Grief Recovery Handbook for Pet Loss. Based on the authors' Grief Recovery Method®, this book addresses how losing a pet is different from losing a human loved one, and ultimately, how to move on with life.
About Pet Therapy
A hand reaches out, a wagging tail approaches, and an elderly face breaks into a smile. It's a scene that's increasingly common in the Helena Valley, thanks to volunteers from the Helena Chapter of Intermountain Therapy Animals. Activity directors and health care professionals report that visiting pets reach nursing home residents, hospital patients, retirement home residents and adult day care participants in ways that other therapeutic activities can't.
The contact may be brief, but it brightens the entire day or week, especially for those who have had pets in the past. In some cases, an animal's visit is transforming. Shy, withdrawn, or depressed people find themselves in animated conversation, angry people relax, and those with memory lapses share detailed recollections of pets they lived with years before. Visiting pets have reached autistic children, stroke victims, Alzheimer's patients, and other "unreachables." Even when nothing dramatic happens, pet visits are important changes of pace for facility residents, bringing excitement, affection, comfort, physical contact and joy.
In addition, to providing companionship (called Animal Assisted Activity), visiting pets sometimes participate in a facility's therapy program. In Animal Assisted Therapy, a dog might stand while a patient brushes him order to exercise specific arm muscles, or a cat might visit a depressed patient to encourage conversation, or someone in speech therapy might give commands to a dog that does tricks or retrieves objects. Anyone who loves animals is likely to work harder and feel more motivated when one is part of the therapy team.
in Self Help
According to the AAVA, Americans owned more than 157 million pets in 2012. Americans LOVE their pets! A big problem with pets, however, is that their lives are shorter than human lives. We love them, and lose them far too soon for us. How do we deal with losing them? What do we need to do in order to grieve their loss fully, then go on with our own lives? What do we do about getting another pet? Russell Friedman and his colleagues, author of Grief Recovery from Pet Loss, is an expert in grief and applies his understanding to the very real grief we human feel when our pets die. Russell and co-author John James have created the Grief Recovery Method, shared with you when you listen to Full Power Living.
So many people preface the report of the deep grief they feel after the death of their dog, cat or bird, with “I know I’m being stupid/silly, but….” It turns out that grief is grief, and grief felt over the death of our beloved pet is no more silly or stupid than grief we feel over the lost of a person we love. Who better to discuss this with than someone who is an expert on all aspects of grief. Listen on Thursday as Russell Friedman talks with us on questions most of us have when we suffer loss. Click here to visit Russell Friedman’s website!
Dr. Carolyn Shadle is an author, speaker, and trainer in interpersonal and organizational communication. She specializes in helping people listen empathetically. This is especially important when pet owners are experiencing stress related to the well being of their pet or are grieving because of the loss of a pet.
Carolyn earned her PhD. in Communication for the State University of New York at Buffalo and offers her services through her non-profit eductional corporation, Interpersonal Communication Services Inc.
She is qualified to assist individuals and businesses that wish to enjoy positive people experiences. This means finding the magic that happens when people skills are added to the technical know-how. She enjoys working with individuals who wish to enhace their interpersonal and organizational communication skills.
Through public speaking, training workshops, and writing, she addresses the elements that help professionals improve client engagement and team interaction. She works extensively with veterinarians, pet owners, and pet-related businesses.
Questions Carolyn will be asked:
1.How did you develop an interest in communication?
2.What kinds of audiences have you addressed in your writing and training?
3.What are the special needs of veterinarians and others in the pet industry with regard to communication?
4.What is the format of your training?
5.How long is a typical communication worskshop?
6.Where should one go to find your writings or schedule training?
For more information, click here.
Judy Helm Wright
Today is the last show for the miniseries How to Deal With the Death of a Beloved pet. The following topics will be addressed during todays show:
Clear mind, caring heart
What are your inner resources
Volunteer and give service
Asking for and being open to support
When to get a new pet
This is the final week of this miniseries. If you have found this information helpful or wish to know more go to www.deathofmypet.com for more info
If you have a story that you wish to share send it to Judy at email@example.com with PET STORY in the subject line.
Todays show will be on helping the hurting and what can be done to help others. The following topics will be discussed:
Pet loss and children
Pet loss and the elderly
Service and companion animals
Expressing sympathy to others
Memorial options, tributes & rituals to remember
How sharing stories helps us heal
Death is a tough subject to explain especially to children. Judy Helm Wright can help parents explain the death of a family pet to a child. This is week five of 6 of the series How to Deal with the Loss of a Beloved Pet. Be sure to continue listening for more useful insights on How to Deal with the Loss of a Beloved Pet.
If you have a story you would like to share send it to firstname.lastname@example.org with PET STORY in the subject line.
in Self Help
This week's conversation will be the next in the series "grief and war".
When soldiers return from serving in an active theater of war it is difficult to return to the life they once had. we will look at issues of PTSD, physical injuries, substance abuse and why dealing with the grief of war and the loss issues of war can be key to healing and rebuilding life.
What are the losses incurred by war?
How does understanding your grief help you move on
We will also be looking at how returing home impacts family and friends.
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