5 Tips for Surviving Pet Loss
The second Sunday of every September is National Pet Memorial Day, created by the International Association of Pet Cemeteries and Crematories to remind us to honor or pets, both past and present. I’ll be taking some time to light a candle in memory of my heart dog, Byron.
He was my first dog that really brought me into the “dog world.” I often say he turned me from a dog admirer to a Dog Lover. It all began on a beach as an arranged date by his family that wasn’t able to keep him. He had me at “Woof,” as they say. From age two to nearly 14, he was my rock. He was with my support through a divorce, lied by my side every day when I played the piano and took countless vacations with me, where we enjoyed swimming together in lakes and rivers for hours on end. After his passing, his picture stayed on the piano in the recording studio when I made my first album to calm dogs. In the acknowledgements, I wrote… “In memory of my beloved soul-dog, Byron. You remain forever in my heart.”
It’s been 12 years since his passing. He still lives in my heart and often feels like my rock. And, I know he’ll be there to welcome my 12-year-old Lab, Sanchez, when his time comes. In preparation of that time, I’ve been reading Heart Dog, Surviving the Loss of Your Canine Soul Mate by Roxanne Hawn. She offers invaluable tips for surviving pet loss. Here are a few of my favorites:
1. Grief Candle
Lighting a candle reminds us to be still and take time to recall cherished memories with our pets no longer seen. For me, it’s a time to slow down, bring in calm and nurture our connection that remains, even though Byron is now in spirit.
2. Photos or Artwork
I have cherished photo albums of Byron. On National Pet Memorial Day, I’ll be enjoying looking through every picture and recalling memories I may have forgotten. Some will make me laugh, others cry, and all will fill my heart with a reminder to honor our connection.
I chose to spread Byron’s ashes in several areas that we frequently visited. One was our favorite local beach. Taking some time to walk on the beach with my current dogs, Sanchez and Gina, will remind me that Byron is a part of their life too, even though they never met. My time with Byron actually helped prepare me of the unseen gifts ahead with Sanchez and Gina.
4. Remembrance Music
All of my dogs have a special piece of music that is unique to our relationship together. Byron’s was a Chopin Etude that I played every morning on the piano. As soon as I started, he’d always take a front row seat (or bed) to his private concert ahead. It wasn’t unusual to find his nose on my pedal foot. He was a Golden and loved being close.
5. Do Something
After Byron’s passing, I wasn’t ready to make a life-time commitment to a new dog for quite awhile. So, I decided to pet sit, foster, and then became a volunteer puppy raiser for Guide Dogs for the Blind. On National Pet Memorial Day, do something that helps other pets in need. It will improve the life of a pet in need, make you feel better and is a great way of honoring your pets no longer with you.
What pets are you honoring, past and present? Thanks for telling us about them in a comment below.
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