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This section was prompted by the loss of our beloved pet, Chester

Chester was born in our yard nearly 15 years ago to a stray tortoise shell cat. (brief tribute) We were shocked at our reaction to losing him on January 1, 2007, and suspect we are not alone. A beloved pet may be the most significant thing in the life of a senior. Its death may cause all kinds of emotions; grief, depression, a sense of hopelessness, a feeling that you are next. As a Senior's activities have been curtailed, caring for the pet may have become their main occupation. Its loss can be overwhelming

If God keeps his eye on the sparrow, I know that he watches this dear little one.

 

Saying Good-bye to your Beloved Pet and Friend

When a person dies, there is often a network of family, friends and professionals to help loved ones with the painful process of grieving. There is usually a memorial service where the family says good-bye and expresses their sorrow, and it is expected and accepted that family and close friends will need sympathy and assistance in the days ahead. When a pet dies, those left behind are often alone with their grief.

Just as with the death of a person, it is important to say good-bye to your pet to formalize the death and help you with your grief. Here are some suggestions on how to memorialize your pet's life:

  • Record happy memories in a journal or a letter to your pet.
  • Make a photo album or collage containing vivid recollections of times you two shared.
  • Plan a memorial service with readings, music and other rituals that focus on your pet.
  • Make a donation in your pet's name.
  • Do volunteer work to help other animals.

These activities help to honor the animal while accepting the finality of the death. A better understanding of the stages of grief may help you work through your feelings.

Hawaiian Humane Society

 

This section will be expanded in 2007. We welcome your stories or suggestions for the benefit of other grieving Seniors.

 

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