Bill of Rights for Grieving Animal Lovers

It is Hereby Declared that Grieving Animal Lovers Have the Right: 

To feel the pain of grief when the bonds with our pets are broken.
The bonds we have with swiss replica watches our companion animals are deep and strong;
the pain we feel when those bonds are broken is real and worthy of our grief. 

To feel shocked and overwhelmed by the intensity of our grief.
Since our animals쩦e spans are so much shorter than our own,
it is inevitable that eventually we will experience
the loss of rolex replica watches our beloved animal companions.
The grief we feel at such times can be far more intense than we ever expected,
no different from that of losing another special family member or cherished friend. 

To understand our grief reactions, feelings and behaviors as normal.
Grief is a natural, spontaneous response to the loss of a significant relationship. 

To express our grief in our own unique way, within our own time frame.
The course of grief is unpredictable and uneven, with no specific time frame.
How we express our grief will vary among individuals,
but we all get through it in personally meaningful ways. 

To have our grief recognized by others as significant and legitimate.
Since grieving over animals isn৥nerally accepted in our society,
we may feel uneasy or embarrassed, as if we have no right to feel or express our grief
because our loss is uk replica watches not significant enough. But we堮ot grieving 峴 an animal༢r> Since we場he only ones who know how much our animals meant to us,
when they堧one we場he only ones who can measure how very much we堬ost. 

To feel supported by others in our grief.
When our companion animals die,
there are no formal, public rituals
where we can express and share our sorrow,
talk about our loss and obtain the sympathy and support of others.
At the very time when we need to be with others who understand,
we feel isolated and alone.
We need to find someone with whom we can openly acknowledge our feelings,
express and work through our pain, and come to terms with our loss.  

To honor the memory of our pets in whatever way we see fit.
To memorialize our beloved companion animals
is to honor and acknowledge the important role they played in our lives,
 to bring comfort to ourselves and to help us keep their love and presence in our hearts.
Among other things, we can memorialize our pets by writing about them,
making an album or a scrapbook, planting a living memorial in our garden,
having a meaningful memorial service, funeral or ritual,
or making a donation to a charitable animal organization in our pet͊ name.

Copyright ⰰ3 -2007 by Marty Tousley, APRN, BC, FT, Bereavement Counselor, Hospice of the Valley
and Mental Health Consultant, Pet Grief Support Service
All rights reserved
Web site:  
Mail to:  

Download the Bill of Rights for Grieving Animal Lovers in PDF format

Key Points about Grieving for Your Pet

Grief is a universal response to significant loss. 

How we express grief varies among individuals. 

We all get through it in personally meaningful ways. 

Certain feelings and behaviors are typical, but not universal,
such as crying, anger, guilt, disinterest, trouble concentrating,
relief that the suffering is over, or disrupted sleep and eating patterns. 

Certain emotions are common, such as longing for your pet,
or believing that you堳een, felt, smelled or heard your lost pet. 

The course of grief is unpredictable and uneven, with no specific time frame. 

Everyone৲ief pattern differs, even among family members. 

Memorializing helps, such as writing about your pet;
making an album or scrapbook; planting something in your garden as a living memorial;
having a memorial service or funeral;
or making a donation to a charitable animal organization in your pet஡me. 

Additional support is available if you need it. 
The Pet Grief Support Service Helpline is available to you at no cost,
at 602-995-5885

The Pet Grief Support Group meets on the first Saturday of the month,
from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.  Please call the Pet Grief Support Service Helpline,
at 602-995-5885 further information. 

Copyright ⰰ3 -2007 by Marty Tousley, APRN, BC, FT, Bereavement Counselor, Hospice of the Valley
and Mental Health Consultant, Pet Grief Support Service
All rights reserved
Web site:  
Mail to:  


Rainbow Bridge 

There is a bridge connecting Heaven and Earth. It is called the Rainbow Bridge because of its many colors. Just this side of the Rainbow Bridge there is a land of meadows, hills and valleys with lush green grass.

When a beloved pet dies, the pet goes to this place. There is always food and water and warm spring weather. The old and frail animals are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. They frolic and romp all day with one another.

The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing. They each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They run and play together, until the day comes when one of them suddenly stops playing and looks off into the distance. The nose twitches. The ears are up. The bright eyes are intent. The eager body quivers. Suddenly this one runs from the group, faster and faster, leaping and flying over the tall green grass.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you take him or her in your arms and embrace, clinging together in joyous reunion. Happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your cherished pet, so long gone from your life, but never absent from your heart.

And with your pet beside you once again, you cross the Rainbow Bridge together. 

Author unknown. Source: Abigail Van Buren,  Arizona Republic,  February 20, 1994

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To see a beautiful flash animation rendition of The Rainbow Bridge, click here.

The Animals夥n 

The Animals튠 Eden is a huge, beautiful walled garden where all pets go until such time as their human companions can join them. (Although only pet animals go to this walled garden, there are other special places for all the other animals, and especially beautiful places for animals who have suffered while on Earth, since their souls need peace and healing before they can move on.) The garden is full of lawns and hedges, flower borders and shrubs, wildflower meadows and red brick patios. All of this is surrounded by a beautiful decorative wall, just like an English garden from the Middle Ages, but much, much larger -  so large that none of the animals feel as though they are in any way enclosed. All the pets who have passed into the Animals夥n and are waiting for their special humans are free to do whatever they want, and because it is a heavenly place, none of them wants to do anything that would harm their animal friends. The horses and ponies graze and gallop in the meadows. The dogs romp on the lawns and sniff in the shrubberies. The cats lounge on the patios, basking in the sunshine, or take their ease in the dappled shade of the great oak trees. Birds are no longer caged, but fly free in the trees, eating the plentiful fruits and berries. None of them actually feel hungry, but are provided with heavenly food if they wish, so long as they can eat without harming the others waiting alongside them. The garden has every kind of animal who has ever been a pet and who has someone special to wait for. There is a beautiful arch is the garden wall, the sort of brick arch that might have held a wrought iron gate in earthly gardens. Sometimes one or more of the animals gets a funny feeling, a bit like butterflies in the tummy. Those animals stop their playing or basking, and make their way to the archway. They sense that something special is about to happen. When they reach the gate they can see that their special human is walking toward the archway. Then, because the Animals夥n is a place for animals only, those animals can pass through the arch to join their human friends, and walk together in the sunshine on the next stage of their souls꯵rney. For although the garden is a beautiful and happy place, there is nothing more joyful than a reunion between dear friends who have been apart too long. 

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Don৲ieve for me, for now Iলee.
Iযllowing the path God laid for me.
I took His hand when I heard Him call.
I turned my back and left it all. 

I could not stay another day,
To laugh, to love, to work or play.

Tasks left undone must stay that way.
I found that place at close of day. 

If my parting has left a void,
Then fill it with remembered joy.
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss,
If able, these things I too will miss. 

Please don't be burdened with times of sorrow.
I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow.
My lifeࢥen full; I savored much:
Good friends, good times, a loved oneയuch. 

Perhaps my time seemed all too brief.
Don࣯nsume yourself with undue grief.
Lift up your heart and share with me.
God wanted me now; He set me free.

Copyright ṹ8 - 2005 by Julia Napier    All rights reserved
Used with permission of the author

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May I Go?

May I go now?
Do you think the time is right?
May i say good-bye to pain-filled days
and endless lonely nights?
I堬ived my life and done my best,
an example tried to be.
So I can take that step beyond
and set my spirit free?
I didn෡nt to go at first;
I fought with all my might.
But something seems to draw me now
to a warm and loving light.
I want to go.
I really do.
Itऩfficult to stay.
But I will try as best I can

to live just one more day,
To give you time to care for me
and share your love and fears.
I know you堳ad and afraid,
because I see your tears.
I젮ot be far,
I promise that, and hope you젡lways know
that my spirit will be close to you,
wherever you may go.
Thank you so for loving me.
You know I love you too;
That෨y itਡrd to say good-bye
and end this life with you.
So hold me now, just one more time
and let me hear you say,
because you care so much for me,
you젬et me go today.

By Susan A. Jackson
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Let Me Go 

When I come to the end of the road
And the sun has set for me,
I want no rites in a gloom-filled room.
Why cry for a soul set free? 

Miss me a little ~ but not too long
And not with your head bowed low.
Remember the love that we once shared.
Miss me ~ but let me go. 

For this is a journey that we all must take
And each must go alone.
It࡬l a part of the Master plan,
A step on the road to home. 

When you are lonely and sick of heart,
Go to the friends we know
And bury your sorrows in doing good deeds.
Miss me ~ but let me go. 

Author Unknown
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Where to Bury A Dog

There are various places in which a dog may be buried. We are thinking now of a Setter, whose coat was flame in the sunshine, and who, so far as we are aware, never entertained a mean or an unworthy thought. This Setter is buried beneath a cherry tree, under four feet of garden loam, and at its proper season the cherry tree strews petals on the green lawn of his grave. Beneath a cherry tree, or an apple, or any flowering shrub is an excellent place to bury a good dog. Beneath such trees, such shrubs, he slept in the drowsy summer, or gnawed at a flavorful bone, or lifted his head to challenge some strange intruder. These are good places, in life or in death. Yet it is a small matter. For if the dog be well remembered, if sometimes he leaps through your dreams as actual as in life, eyes kindling, laughing, begging, it matters not at all where the dog sleeps. On a hill where the wind is unrebuked, and the trees are roaring, or beside a stream he knew in puppyhood, or somewhere in the flatness of a pasture land where most exhilarating cattle graze. It is all one to you, and nothing is gained, and nothing lost 馠memory lives. But there is one best place to bury a dog.

If you will bury him in this spot, he will come to you when you call 튠 come to you over the grim, dim frontiers of death, and down the well-remembered path, and to your side again. And though you call a dozen living dogs to heel, they shall not growl at him nor resent his coming, for he belongs there. People may scoff at you, who see no lightest blade of grass bent by his footfall, who hear no whimper, who may never really have had a dog. Smile at them, for you shall know something that is hidden from them, and which is well worth the knowing. The one best place to bury a dog is in the heart of his master. 

From a Portland Oregonian editorial by Den Iiur Lampanon, in response to a
subscriber̥tter to the Editor asking, 襲e shall I bury my dog?奄

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Eulogy for a Companion Animal 

Our Father in heaven, we thank you for all creation, for flowers of field and garden, for friends and family voices, and especially for our faithful friend and constant companion, [pet஡me]. 

This beloved pet, though unable to speak, told us in many ways that we were loved by one of Your creation. It has been said that actions speak louder than words. In many ways, [pet͊ name] spoke of his/her constant love, respect and loyalty to us. Would that mankind could do likewise. 

We have come here to say farewell to a true friend and loving member of our household. We thank You, Lord, for sending us this beloved companion. [Pet஡me] will not be forgotten. 

Author Unknown
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A Graveside Prayer 

Dear Ones,

We have gathered here today to express our love for our faithful friend and companion, [PetΡme], as we lay [his or her] [little] body to rest in this grave.

We thank God, the Creator of all life, for the years we were privileged to enjoy our [furry] friend, and for the happy memories [s/he] gave us. Each of us can recall some loveable way [s/he] endeared [her/himself] to our hearts. Letഡke a few moments now to recall some of those loveable traits which endeared [her/him] to us. (Moments of Reminiscence)

These happy memories should gladden our hearts for many years. [PetΡme] has fulfilled the purpose for which God gave [her/him] to our family.

[S/he] shared our laughter and our tears, our moods and our meals, our walks and our talks. Now, from grateful hearts, we give [her/him] back to God, Who gave [her/him] to us to love and cherish.

Rest in peace, little friend. Let us pray.

Heavenly Father, we thank You for giving us [PetΡme] to love and care for. Now that[ her/his] life among us is over, we give [her/him] back to You, Who gave [her/him] life and breath.

We are grateful for all [her/his] endearing traits, and for the ways [s/he] brought happiness into our home and laughter into our lives. Grant us pleasant memories of this dear [little] friend who shared our family life and gave us happy years. Good bye, faithful friend.  Amen.

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