Have you lost a loved one?

Find Out How to Start to Heal.

7 Helpful Steps to Healing from the Tragic Loss of A Pet- Author Marybeth Haines & Nemo the Rescue Chihuahua

Author Marybeth Haines & rescue Nemo

I lost my beautiful rescue cat Nala at age seventeen almost a year ago and I have several friends dealing with terrible grief from the loss of their pets right now. 11949310_401595456711154_3909744191373206841_n

I was thrilled to have the opportunity to talk to Marybeth Haines about her new book From Empty to Empowered- Dealing with Sudden Pet Loss. She kindly shared several practical strategies for coping from her first book The Power of Pets – 7 Effective Tools To Heal From Pet Loss.

“Pets are for LIFE. Let’s honor, remember and celebrate together.” Marybeth Haines

httpss://youtu.be/-AjMV3lBTtc

From her experiences growing up, Marybeth learned that the bond and connection that we have with animals is one that cannot be compared to any other. Animals are non-judgmental, remain present -‘in the now’ and give to us what she likes to call “gifts” (gifts of love, laughter, someone to listen, family etc). Living on a hobby farm, she had the pleasure of close connections with the farm animals – dogs, cats, cows, pigs, chickens, goats, horses, fish, ducks…she always had a pet of some sort. Her parents taught her to treat animals with respect and to treat them well.  When it came time for an animal to pass on, it was emotional. However, she was a small child and seemed to accept that as a part of life. It was a part of her life from the beginning. She still has memories of her father taking the family out to where they would bury their pets and say a prayer. This area became what they would refer to as the pet cemetery for many years to come. These animals were actually her teachers and had many lessons to share.

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Inspiration and Guidance

“One of my most recent pets was my inspiration in writing my first book and the creation of The Power of Pets – my little guy “Kitty”. Kitty came to live with me when he was nine years old. A beautiful silky black cat with green eyes and a purr that would make you want to just listen. Your whole body would relax in the meditative sound of his stillness. I would often refer to Kitty as an “old soul” as there was something in his eyes that told me he had MUCH wisdom to share….and he did! Kitty passed peacefully at age 20. After Kitty passed, I held him in my arms and told him how much I loved him and thanked him for being in my life. Kitty taught me the valuable gift of what being a family is about.

I have since felt Kitty’s guidance very closely and he is my inspiration for writing my first book. Using this inspiration to help others in their experience with healing brings me the feeling of peace….a way I can give back to my little man, Kitty. As I wrote my two books, it has helped me with my healing process as I have been able to continue this journey with many blessings.

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When we lose a pet, the loss can be so profound that when we are healing, being able to utilize practical strategies can empower us. Also knowing that you are not alone. What you are feeling is valid and very real and that we can unite together in support of one another.

Before I began writing From Empty To Empowered, I adopted a dog named Nemo from a rescue. My life has never been the same since this little guy has come in to bless it. Shortly after the adoption, I met a wonderful women named Adrienne who was also in rescue. Adrienne shared with me the story of her dog Rosie, who was also a rescue dog and how her unexpected passing brought forward deep grief. She was still searching for healing. She asked me for some literature on the unexpected loss of a pet. When I did my own research, as well as reached out to colleagues, I found that there really wasn’t much out there.

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That was where I knew I needed to make a change and help others in this area. There needed to be a system of support so that Adrienne and others could heal in a safe space with unconditional support. And therefore, this book; From Empty To Empowered has been dedicated to Adrienne and Rosie.

When it comes to healing from pet loss, we are wondering; how do we release the pain from an unexpected loss?

How do we take the steps of healing from grief knowing that deep inside, we are screaming for a reprieve of the myriad of emotions our body and mind are going through?

When you begin reading the book, you might be at a stage where you are not sure where to go. You might be having many different thoughts, emotions and feelings going on. In society some are very supportive of the loss of a pet and in others, are not. You might be feeling like you shouldn’t be grieving so hard and questioning/being hard on yourself. This is all normal and this is also where having support is very important.

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So at the beginning of the book, I invite you to take a journey with me. We begin at the eye of a storm, symbolizing where you currently are. We begin climbing a mountain that seems almost impossible to climb. Together, we move towards the peak of that mountain knowing that with each step, the goal of reaching the top becomes more visible. With steps of action, the top becomes closer and closer. As we reach the top of the mountain, things begin to look clearer and you start to feel calm. We reach the top, are safe and we did it!

Experiencing the unexpected loss of a pet can feel like the same process however you feel like you’re climbing that mountain over and over again with no rest of known outcome.

Read: Grieving and Healing – A Journey to Understanding

And I ask you the question: So how do we climb that mountain and pace ourselves so we can get to a level of comfort and sense that we are going to be okay?

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When you identify what is happening in the shock of the moment and take positive steps towards regaining perspective, you empower yourself in the healing process. At the same time, you gain perspective on how to take care of your body so that you can make decisions with a clearer mind. Your mind is clearer when you are calm and not in a constant state of panic. You are experiencing the grief of losing your pet and at the same time you are taking care of you so that you can be “present” in every way possible to grieve and to heal.

By taking this journey together with me, you learn practical steps that you can put into action so you can move away from what feels like chaos, understand what your body is going through so you can understand yourself and your reactions better. This book presents tools and steps to help you take care of yourself and soothe any grief you may be experiencing.”

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7 Practical Tools to Help you Heal from Pet Loss

1) Recognize That Healing Needs To Take Place.

2) Give Yourself Full Permission To Heal.

3) Learn About What You Are Feeling and Why.

4) Find Ways To Personally Empower Yourself To Heal.

5) Receive Guidance And Have A Support System. No One Has To Heal Alone.

6) Take Action – Start Your Journey Of Healing.

7) Reflect On The “Gifts” Your Pet Gave You.

Ways to remember your pet:

• Celebrate the great memories of your pet
• Donate to a pet rescue or charitable organization in your pets honor or volunteer
• Create a small memorial at your home and/or visit your pet’s burial site
• Plant something as a living memorial

Check out our blog hop pal Spencer the Goldendoodle’s : Pet Memorial Book, DIY, Paying it Forward for more inspiration!

Beautiful Poem- A Love Story

httpss://youtu.be/rjgQ-x3DTbw

Once upon a time, there was an island where all the feelings lived:
Happiness, Sadness, Knowledge, and all of the others including Love. One day it was announced to the feelings that the island would sink, so all repaired their boats and left.
Love wanted to persevere until the last possible moment. When the island was almost sinking, Love decided to ask for help. Richness was passing by Love in a grand boat. Love said, “Richness, can you take me with you?” Richness answered, “No, I can’t. There is a lot of gold and silver in my boat. There is no place here for you.”
Love decided to ask Vanity who was also passing by in a beautiful vessel, “Vanity, please help me!” “I can’t help you Love. You are all wet and might damage my boat,” Vanity answered.
Sadness was close by so Love asked for help, “Sadness, let me go with you.” “Oh….Love, I am so sad that I need to be by myself!” Happiness passed by Love too, but she was so happy that she did not even hear when Love called her! Suddenly, there was a voice, “Come Love, I will take you.” It was an elder.
Love felt so blessed and overjoyed that he even forgot to ask the elder his name. When they arrived at dry land, the elder went his own way. Love realizing how much he owed the elder asked Knowledge, another elder, “Who helped me?” “It was Time,” Knowledge answered. “Time?” asked Love. “But why did Time help me?” Knowledge smiled with deep wisdom and answered,” Because, only Time is capable of understanding how great Love is.”

Each year on the second Sunday in September, people join together in celebrating National Pet Memorial Day.  On this day, pet owners honor their pets, both past and present, and think about and share with others the important role that their beloved pets have played, and do play, in their lives. National Pet Memorial Day was established by the International Association of Pet Cemeteries and Crematories.

My friend Valerie over at Puppy Tales Studio also had a very moving article on dealing with Pet Loss that is worth reading on her blog HERE.

Check out some other great factual books for dog lovers – Top Dog Books Post HERE

 

 

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82 Comments

  • Such a touching post.

    • Thank you Earl for sharing. We are glad that you found this post touching. I am grateful to have united together with Talent Hounds…what a wonderful gift. It’s such an honour to connect with you here. Wishing you a wonderful day!

  • Great tips. We have several grief support groups for pets in Portland, I think.

    • Thanks for sharing Tenacious Little Terrier. Yes, there are grief support groups internationally. If you are ever looking for them, I’d be happy to help you find one in your area. Wishing you a great day ahead.

  • Great post. It’s always so hard to lose a furry family member.

    • Hi Jackie. Yes, I agree with you and well said. Losing a furry family member is like losing a piece of our hearts. When we can reflect on our pet’s many gifts, their legacy and how we can honour them, it can be helpful in moving forward. Thanks for this connection, it’s wonderful to meet you here.

  • What a great post. I have lost 3 dogs over the course of the last 4 years. They were all close in age. I have one remaining and cherish her dearly. Being a dog lover it is had to imagine a life without a dog and I think I am still in a stage of anger because I insist that I will not get another dog because I don’t want to go through any more pain of loss. It’s not an easy thing for any pet parent to deal with, but your post provides answers and hope. Thank you for sharing.

    • Hi Suzanne, thank you for being open and sharing your words. Losing a loved one is never easy and we stand beside you in support. Your dogs will always hold that specially reserved place in your heart…a special spot for each one of them. As you remember them, I invite you to ask yourself “What did they do to make me feel loved, to laugh and what is something about them that I will never forget”. And then I invite you to use the answers to these to help you in healing. It would like you will be healing in their honour. The legacy they have left that will always live on. There’s no one right way to heal and you can heal in the way that is best for you. Just as there is no one snowflake that is the same, It is the same when it comes to grieving. Sending you many warm thoughts each day Suzanne and thank you for the honour of this connection.

  • It’s been 4 years since I lost my sweet little guy and I’m just now feeling like I’m beginning to heal. So happy you’re helping others with this struggle – those of us to whom a dog is not just a mere pet!

    • Hi Lisa, healing definitely takes time doesn’t it? To know that our hearts hold specially reserved places for our furry family members can bring us comfort as we remember their many gifts. You sweet little guy has touched your life in a way that is heartfelt to us all. We stand beside you as you remember him.

  • I love dogs and have lost three of them over the course of time and your post resonated with me. Your post is informative and exhaustive though I did find the photos similar and hence repetitive. How much time did you spend on curating the content?

    • Profile photo of Talent Hounds

      Sorry for your loss. I am happy the post resonated. We all actually spent time planning, filming then editing and writing ie curating. In the video, we added more photos from our RIP section.
      Did you watch the video?
      I find the tools so compelling and practical (I have 3 friends who have benefitted in the last week) – we only used photos from the interview.
      Thank you- really appreciate you stopping by and your feedback- I totally see your point. We will look at including some more heartfelt photos in the post. XS

  • Such a touching story. Pets become such a part of our lives and losing them is hard journey. Thanks for sharing your journey and tips for others to recover.

  • Really good advice for healing from a loss of any kind. Dogs really can be wonderful parts of our lives. Thank you for sharing your story.

    • Uniting together with you Erin from one pet lover to another! Thanks for your words of sharing. We’re glad you found this helpful.

  • Lovely post! We just recently got a new puppy (it has been 8 years since our last dog passed away – she was 17.5!), and he is so full of energy and life that I can tell he will be a memorable part of our families history!

    • Profile photo of Talent Hounds

      Oh how wonderful! Please share some photos with us. Nothing lifts the spirits and makes me happier than looking at puppy faces. I am just off to meet my camera lady’s new puppy- so excited.

  • We’ve lost several pets in our 10 years of marriage – most to old age, but we did lose my favorite dog due to a car accident and I (and her litter-mate) grieved for quite some time. We still miss Frack.

    • Suzanne, thanks for sharing this with us. As you remember Frack, we hold a space of healing for you. Losing pets never gets easier however with support, healing can take place in the time it’s meant to. Thank you for loving many dogs and giving them wonderful homes in which to live a amazing life.

  • We just lost a cat to cancer. You have some beautiful ways to heal from the loss.

    • Shelah, our hearts are with you. Losing someone close to us is never easy however sometimes it is helpful knowing that there is support that surrounds you unconditionally. We send you comfort in these ways noted here on helping you heal. Thinking of you and sending tribute to your cat with warm thoughts.

  • Beautiful post. What a wonderful resource for those who have lost pets. I loved the poem at the end.

  • Thanks for such a great post. The tools that you shared to help heal from pet loss are really good. To be able to take actionable steps towards healing is what ultimately we all need to recover from a loss.

    • Hi Tina. Yes, action is a huge step in healing. Thanks so much for sharing of that aspect. Uniting together heart to heart.

  • You shared some excellent ways to deal with the loss of a pet.

    I did not realize there was a National Pet Memorial Day, thank you for sharing!

    • Hi Lisa, thanks for your message. Yes, National Pet Memorial Day is each September. Did you know that there is a World Pet Loss Memorial Day each June as well? 🙂

  • I thought this was a good and touching post. I’m a mommy to a German Shepherd. We love him and can’t imagine losing him. I think you have mentioned some great tips for those who have lost pets. You’re doing a beautiful thing for those people.

    • We thank you Monica for your words. Your German Shepherd must be an amazing guy! Give him a gentle pat under the chin from all of us!

  • I will say that planting an herb garden over our beloved Sugar’s grave was SO helpful in the healing process. Hugs to all who have lost furry family members. Thank you for these tips. I don’t look forward to needing them again but they are good ones.

    • Hi Leilani, your words mean a lot to us. Hugs right back to you as well. Your herb garden must be beautiful as it’s planted in your beloved Sugar’s memory. Beautiful.

  • I have only experienced one pet die and fortunately (for me) I had only had him less than 24 hours so it wasn’t a huge loss. I was a mess, but I cannot imagine losing my current dog who is my everything (well, next to my human kids anyway!)

    Your post reminds me of the viral organ donor video going around? Have you seen it? If not, look up ‘the man and the dog’. You will need tissues!

  • I don’t have pets and really have never been much of an animal person, but I know from friends that losing a pet can be as devastating as losing a person. Thanks for this thorough post.

  • This was a awesome post! Thank you for it. I would so love to win her book and if I don’t I will be buying it for sure. I love that story/poem at the end as it was SO SO true and made me tear up. Do you know who wrote it? Did the author of the book? I would like to share it and give credit back to the person.

    • Sending you good vibes for winning a copy! I welcome you to reach out at any time as well. My door is always open. The author of this poem is actually unknown and I haven’t been able to find who it belongs to. You are welcome to share it forward as we unite together in the love of our pets.

  • We lost our beloved Golden Retriever, Ellie, when she was just two years old. She passed away without warning, in her sleep, and I think–no, I KNOW–that it was hardest on our kids.

    Being able to talk about Ellie and share favorite memories is good advice. Thank you for the reminder to help my children heal by addressing their grief and affirming that it’s okay to be sad. God blessed us with Ellie and, God willing, she’ll be waiting (and wagging) for them in heaven. ♥

  • Lovely post. Yes, losing a pet is difficult and we need to allow ourselves to grieve them as we would any loss that impacts us, as our pets play a huge part of our lives.

  • I have 4 dogs who are my children. It would be unbearable if i lost one of them. Grief support is something that would be really nice to have.

  • What a sweet post. I lost my dog of 10 years 3 years ago and it’s still fresh on my mind and heart. My 7 year old is BEGGING for a dog nearly never day but I’m just not ready. Thanks for the tips!

  • wonderful tips! thanks for sharing!

  • I really like the idea of planting something as a living memorial. Such a beautiful idea.

  • What a wonderfully emotional post. I enjoyed the poem at the end. Come on Love with Time we can do wonders. As I was reading, I could see my dog racing around the corner after I had called for him, full of tail waging happiness and cheek. He always bought joy into my life. He could always make me feel when I should have been standing in the naughty corner, or overwhelming love for him. Thoroughly enjoyed you taking me make through memory lane with my beloved pup.

    Rachel.

  • When I had to give up my horse due to his health issues it was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to deal with it. This book would have come in handy during that period of my life. However, very few people truly understand how pet and owner relationships can be so intense. Especially, when they are used for therapy like my horse was for me.

  • I’m sure this post will definitely help those who may need to hear it and who have lost a beloved pet. Thanks for sharing this with others!

  • What a wonderful post for those who have lost their pets.

  • What a beautiful post. We volunteer in rescue and all of our dogs are geriatric (and always have been, we try to adopt and foster the sweet old souls that don’t have much chance of getting a forever home elsewhere) Every time we lose a pet we try to reflect on what that pet was sent to teach us. I think we learn so much from our pets, their power for love and loyalty is absolutely beyond anything like it. Thank you for this wonderful post, and for writing books that help animal lovers through the grief of loss. Such an important thing to focus on!

  • Thank you for this post. I have never had a pet in my life but I always wanted to. Especially now I have a son and I would like to let him experience having a pet. However, I feel like I have this phobia or fear that my pet will die or that I can’t take care of a pet! 🙁 In the mean time I have lots of friends with pets and will keep your post in mind to share it with them.

  • Great Post! When our family lost a our family pet it was so sad and we decided to get a canvas picture of her doing her favorite thing, swimming in the lake.

  • It is so hard to deal with the lose of a pet – we lost our first dog as a couple this past May and I still get teary eyed a few times a week. We still haven’t buried his ashes because we can’t bring ourselves to do it. This is the closest loss I’ve experienced in my life and it is horrible. I’m sure your book will help lots of people.

  • c. lee 2 years ago

    Oh gosh, this is the worst. We have had so many pets that lived full lives and then departed. It never gets easier.

  • I never knew that there was a day set aside to remember lossed pets. We have a tradition in our family that started the year that Winnie died. Her ornament is the first to go on the Christmas tree and it stays there for a day without any other ornaments on it. This year we will adding an ornament to remember my dad.

  • Wonderful post and very touching. Thank you for sharing!

  • Oh it’s so hard losing a pet, these are really good steps to take.

  • My family adopted a puppy last month and he died three weeks later. We were devastated and had to go through a healing process.

  • Thank you for sharing! I don’t have any pets currently, but I have lost a couple in the past.

  • I know for most people losing a pet is the same as losing a loved one. Very moving post to share.

  • I am a huge pet lover and have multiple pets my entire life. I have experienced the loss of my fur-babies many times over. After the loss of a fur-baby I swear that I will not get another pet. Yet, after some healing we wind up with another rescue animal. As much sorrow as I feel at their loss, I also experience great joy and comfort having them in my life. Our fur-babies are not just pets, they are truly our family.

  • I have a shih-tzu that is almost 7 years old. He is like my baby. I hate to think about the day that I lose him. Thanks for sharing these 7 tools!

  • Thanks for sharing these resources. I have not lost a pet, but my sister lost her Great Dane last year tragically. I know it was hard for her to deal with.

  • Our family is a family of pet lovers and we have rescued 4 dogs over the past 22 years. Our oldest girl was almost 17 when she passed away and it was really a tough loss for all of us. Then we lost another girl in less than a year to canine lymphoma. It was tough, especially on our grown sons . My husband had a beautiful collage of pictures framed and gifted it to me on Christmas that following year which helped a lot. I love your advice and tips. It is definitely tough losing pets.

  • It’s definitely tough to lose a pet. I actually cried a few tears just the other day missing my childhood dog. She lived to be 12 and was a beautiful girl, but I hate my husband or son will never meet her.

  • Maureen 2 years ago

    What a beautiful blog post about such a difficult subject! I started a blog thinking it would be about puppies but in a very short time it’s morphed into a site about senior dogs. Just the thought of losing my senior dog brings me to my knees so I’m trying to learn as much as I can about healthy living for her (and me)

  • My parent’s just had to put their sheltie to sleep last week. He was 14 and suddenly developed health issues that he could not recover from. He has been a part of my life since I was in high school! I am now married with 2 children! It was hard to say goodbye to a pet from my childhood. My parents are grieving right now and there is this feeling of something missing in their house. Our pets play such a significant role in our lives. I just don’t know how people do life without pets! I had to explain to my 4 year old what happened and that was hard. But it was certainly a life lesson that he would have to have eventually. Pets are such a blessing!

  • I lost my dog 5 years ago and I still haven’t been able to try again. The pain my family went through was horrible and I just don’t know if I could go through that again. I would love to read the book.

  • My son recently had hid cat pass away. It was really hard on all of us and hard for me to explain it to him on why it happened. 🙁

  • What great tips!! We lost our dog KC a few years back and she was 18 years old. Got her as a puppy from the pound and had an amazing life with her. Animals can touch your heart and change your life! 🙂

  • Loved your post and the 7 practical points you make.
    Pets do love in a way that is so different to humans and this can make the loss of their unconditional love devastating.
    As a pet psychic I know how dear pets stay will is and even greet us when we pass to the other side. I’m certainly looking forward to meeting my old and deeply loved pets when I pass but will be enjoying time with my amazing cat in life for now.
    Best luck with your book- it’s really needed! Zoe X

  • It’s necessary for you to grieve for your pet. I love that you made such an important connection with Talent Hounds.

  • We lost our Domino in September. He was 14 and had been struggling to see. He was a great and loving dog. The last dog I owned before moving out of my parents house. We’ve had a couple of best friends (dogs) over the years and were able to say goodbye to them. However, Domino went in the middle of the day while we were at work. There was no goodbye and it’s been really hard. Thank you for this post. It is really hard to lose a family member, fur and all.

  • it’s gotta be one day at a time….

  • Wonderful info just dreading the day when we would have to use it. Our four rescues are our whole world; better companions then most of our relatives:) #commentathon