Sheila Dempsey , Ph.D

Pet Bereavement

Anyone who has ever loved a companion animal knows that our beloved pets are not "just animals." They are sentient beings with their own temperament and their own unique personalities. And underneath all of the superficial differences, they have this one quality in common: the ability and propensity to love us without condition or reservation. They open our hearts with that love and their desire to please. We resonate with them at a deep level, often at a level beyond words.

Animals are on the earth to help us hold and balance energy, and they are here with us out of a higher love. Our pets are exquisitely tuned in to our energy, and they take on our feelings - our pain or our happiness. They comfort us and they laugh with us (I swear I have seen my dog laugh with me - in her own doggie way).

When we lose a pet, the grief that we feel is often as intense as when we lose a human companion. Yet it's difficult to talk about our sorrow with those who've never been the guardian of a pet. Mourning a pet's death is not usually considered socially acceptable, and we are expected to go back to our daily routines as if nothing had happened. We may feel lonely and isolated because very few people understand. Sometimes others are uncomfortable with our sadness, and in the their "unskillfulness," they try to minimize our feelings. Some may say we should "just get over it," or they tell us to get another pet right away. They just don't understand the intense love we've shared with our companion, sometimes over many years. We know that no other pet can take the place of the one we've lost, and we know it takes time to deal with our grief.

What I offer you...

I offer you empathy and compassion if you have lost your beloved pet. I can help you process your grief by giving you a safe space to talk about all of the feelings that grief entails. Sometimes that involves exploring the often irrational guilt we feel after the death of our pet, and sometimes it means just sharing cherished memories.

As an adjunct to talking about your feelings, it may help to employ some kind of ritual or ceremony in order to find a sense of completeness about the life and death of your pet. And since I know that consciousness cannot die, I know that your pet's consciousness is alive and well on the other side of the material world's "veil." So I can also offer you the possibility that your pet will come through to me to bring you personal messages.