About this site

This is just a collection of items I’ve seen which I’ve found useful

On categories….
Dog / Cat / Rabbit Specific
Means that the article is specific to the particular type of animal

Memorial ideas
Ideas on how to celebrate or remember your companion animals life

It’s poetry, what more can you say?

Terms used here.
Companion animal
I use the term Companion Animal in preference to “Pet”.

Some books on pet loss–other

The Loss of a PetThe Loss of a Pet: A Guide to Coping with the Grieving Process When a Pet Dies
This award-winning book has been hailed as the seminal work in the field. And now the fourth newly revised and expanded edition offers so much more to the bereaving pet owner. This edition also includes a significant new way of considering the meaning of afterlife for us and our pets. It discusses the topic from a twenty-first century scientific perspective that is very different from existing religious or metaphysical ones, offering a new comfort to skeptics and agnostics as well.

When Pets Die[8]When Pets Die: It’s Alright to Grieve
The grief for a pet is explained in a commonsense, practical and very sensitive way. Just what you need when your pet companion has died and it seems that no-one understands. The author explains that it is not unusual to feel overwhelming grief at the loss of a pet and gives help and advice on how to cope.


Saying Goodbye to your Angel AnimalsSaying Goodbye to Your Angel Animals: Finding Comfort after Losing Your Pet
In this thoughtful book, Allen and Linda Anderson walk you through the numbing pain and dreadful sense of loss that arise when a beloved animal dies. They offer solace to help you deal with grief, remember and honor key moments in the animal’s life, find comfort through groups and with professionals, and get past the depression.

How Animals GrieveHow Animals Grieve
From the time of our earliest childhood encounters with animals, we casually ascribe familiar emotions to them. But scientists have long cautioned against such anthropomorphizing, arguing that it limits our ability to truly comprehend the lives of other creatures. Recently, however, things have begun to shift in the other direction, and anthropologist Barbara J. King is at the forefront of that movement, arguing strenuously that we can—and should—attend to animal emotions. With How Animals Grieve, she draws our attention to the specific case of grief, and relates story after story—from fieldsites, farms, homes, and more—of animals mourning lost companions, mates, or friends.

A PetA Pet (Saying Goodbye to)
The “Saying Goodbye To” series aims to help and support children going through the difficult and upsetting stages of bereavement by helping children to understand their feelings and the natural process of emotions of the loss of a loved one.


Blessing the BridgeBlessing the Bridge: What Animals Teach Us About Death, Dying and Beyond
Like a hospice worker, author Rita M. Reynolds cares for sick and dying animals, helping them comfortably cross the threshold into death. She shares stories about dogs, cats, a donkey, a cow, ducks, goats, and even baby wild mice she cares for as they die. Reynolds teaches basic skills in respectfully handling a dying animal, whether it’s a newborn bird that’s fallen from a tree or a beloved dog that is terminally ill. Her new edition includes blessings and prayers for animals, whether in the process of dying or who have already passed over. Reynolds believes in divine and angelic influences when it comes to helping animals cross over. She believes animals possess unique souls that transform into an afterlife. She even tells of seeing the spirits of dead animals and messages they bring her. Many of Reynolds’ lessons are conveyed through real-life stories, where the reader witnesses how she simultaneously releases and embraces dying animals. Like The Tibetan Book of the Dead, this book has functional appeal and longevity. This book appeals to anyone grieving and looking for comfort.

Goodbye Dear FriendGoodbye, Dear Friend: Coming to Terms with the Death of a Pet
In this remarkable and much needed book, agony aunt Virginia Ironside recounts some of the experiences of those of us – from ordinary people today to Freud and Sir Walter Scott – who have loved, and lost, a pet, and lifts the taboo that can cause enormous distress to grieving pet owners. It’s not odd, crazy or maladjusted to cry and feel utterly lost when a pet dies. Often that pet has been a close friend – uncritical, loyal and devoted. It never answered back, has played in a way that friends wouldn’t, and has never left home like children do.

Good Grief - Finding Peace After Pet Loss - Personal and Professional Insights on the Animal Lover's Unique Grieving ProcessGood Grief: Finding Peace After Pet Loss: Personal and Professional Insights on the Animal Lover’s Unique Grieving Process
Who thinks you’re the most wonderful, irreplaceable being in existence (even when you’re cranky, have bed head, or have put on a few pounds)? Who loves you unconditionally? Who among your best friends will you likely have to make the unthinkable, heartbreaking decision of when they must die when ill-health/pain dominates their life? The answer is: our animal companions. We share an intense emotional bond with them, yet when grieving their passing, many of us still feel we must suffer in silence or be labeled somehow defective.

Goodbye, Friend - Healing Wisdom for Anyone Who Has Ever Lost a Pet Goodbye, Friend: Healing Wisdom for Anyone Who Has Ever Lost a Pet
From the moment pets come into our lives, we know the day will arrive when we have to say farewell. Still, we are never emotionally prepared for the last adieu.  In Goodbye, Friend, Gary Kowalski takes you on a journey of healing, offering warmth and sound advice on how to cope with the death of your pet. Filled with heartwarming stories and practical guidance on such matters as taking care of yourself while mourning, creating rituals to honor your pet’s memory, and talking to children about death, Goodbye, Friend is a beautiful and comforting book for anyone grieving the loss of a beloved animal.

Pet Loss - A Spiritual GuidePet Loss: A Spiritual Guide




Pet Loss and ChildrenPet Loss and Children: Establishing a Health Foundation
Explaining the concept of death to a child is a very difficult, confusing, and uncomfortable experience for a parent, educator, or therapist, and it is a topic that is often first introduced by the loss of a pet – sometimes a child’s earliest exposure to loss and grief. There is an undeniably special bond that develops between people and their pets, especially between animals and young children, and while the death of a pet can be devastating to an adult, children are often deeply affected by such a loss. Without readily available outlets for their feelings, the trauma of pet loss can remain with a child for life, and without help many adults feel inadequate and not up to the task. The aim of this book is to provide therapists, counselors, educators, parents, social workers, veterinarians, and physicians with resources to help children cope with the loss of a pet.

When a Family Pet DiesWhen a Family Pet Dies: A Guide to Dealing With Children’s Loss
Pets are often felt to be “one of the family” and a companion for children when they are growing up – an individual who is loved in life and greatly missed in death. When a pet dies, it can have a huge impact on children, and it is important that parents are equipped to understand and support their children. JoAnn Tuzeo-Jarolmen explains that children grieve for a dead or missing pet as they would for a family member, and gives guidelines on how to identify signs of grief in children. She describes the differences between child grief and adult grief, and takes the reader through the major developmental stages in a child’s grieving process, explaining the common types of behavior and emotions experienced at each stage. She also discusses whether or not pets should be replaced and how to encourage children to “move on.” This easy-to-read guide to children’s grief suggests methods for sensitively addressing the emotional needs of children and gives age-appropriate strategies. It is an informative resource for parents and carers as well as counselors and those in the caring professions.

When Your Pet Dies - A Guide to Mourning, Remembering and HealingWhen Your Pet Dies: A Guide to Mourning, Remembering and Healing
Affirming a pet owner’s struggle with grief when his or her pet dies, this book helps mourners understand why their feelings are so strong and helps them overcome the loss. Included are practical suggestions for mourning and ideas for remembering and memorializing one’s pet. Among the issues covered are understanding the many emotions experienced after the death of a pet; understanding why grief for pets is unique; pet funerals and burial or cremation; celebrating and remembering the life of one’s pet; coping with feelings about euthanasia; helping children understand the death of their pet; and things to keep in mind before getting another pet.

When Your Pet Dies - A Healing Handbook for KidsWhen Your Pet Dies…: A Healing Handbook for Kids



Blue JuiceBlue Juice: Euthanasia in Veterinary Medicine (Animals Culture And Society)
How veterinarians and pet owners manage companion animal euthanasia



Pets People PragmatismPets, People, and Pragmatism
Pets, People, and Pragmatism examines human relationships with pets without assuming that such relations are either benign or unnatural and to be avoided. The book addresses a lack of respect in pet-people relationships; for respectful relationships to be a real possibility, however, humans must make the effort to understand the beings with whom we live, work, and play.


The Understanding Your GriefThe Understanding Your Grief Support Group Guide: Starting and Leading a Bereavement Support Group
This guide to facilitating support groups offers bereavement caregivers practical strategies for creating and maintaining a productive environment for mourners. Logistical considerations such as setting up and publicizing a new group are discussed, as is the importance of prescreening new members. Tips for creating a set of ground rules are provided, and the pros and cons of creating structured and unstructured meetings are considered. Responding constructively to problems in the group is also discussed, with helpful, time-proven models provided for evaluating group and individual progress.

Bereavement Support GroupsBereavement Support Groups: Breathing Life Into Stories of the Dead
This book, BEREAVEMENT SUPPORT GROUPS, fills the gap between the challenges to conventional grief psychology and the practice of bereavement counseling. The deceased person has often been left behind in counseling conversations, requiring the bereaved to distance themselves from honoring memories that could soothe their heartache. Ironically, the stories of the dead person have not featured prominently in the grief experience. This book offers a structured guide for facilitating bereavement support groups, but is intended as more than a simple “how to” book. It will also inspire readers with invigorating practice ideas. This new way of thinking includes the stories and love that remain after death. Here is a model for folding the deceased person’s values, legacies, meanings, and connections into the lives of the living. The book shows how to utilize the metaphorical presence of the deceased, accessed through stories, actions and rituals, to affirm the relationship with the deceased as more than a lost memory to be shelved next to dusty old photo albums.

Some books on pet loss–Picture books

Picture books – Cats

The Best Cat in the WorldThe Best Cat in the World
A young boy deals with the loss of his beloved cat Charlie, eventually accepting the arrival of another, very different cat.


The Tenth Good Thing About BarneyThe Tenth Good Thing About Barney
“My cat Barney died this Friday. I was very sad. My mother said we could have a funeral for him, and I should think of ten good things about Barney so I could tell them…”
But the small boy who loved Barney can only think of nine. Later, while talking with his father, he discovers the tenth — and begins to understand.

Goodbye MogGoodbye Mog
Mog was tired. She was dead tired…Mog thought, ‘I want to sleep for ever.’ And so she did. But a little bit of her stayed awake to see what would happen next.
Mog keeps watch over the upset Thomas family, who miss her terribly, and she wonders how they will ever manage without her. Nothing happens for some time…then suddenly, one day, Mog sees a little kitten in the house. The kitten is frightened of everything – noise, newspapers, bags and being picked up. Mog thinks the kitten is very stupid.
But then Mog realises that the nervous kitten doesn’t know how to play and just needs ‘a little bit of help’. And so, Mog pushes the surprised kitten into Debbie’s lap, where it finds it actually likes being tickled and stroked.
The new family pet is settled in at last. But Debbie says she will always remember Mog.
‘So I should hope,’ thinks Mog. And she flies up and up and up right into the sun.

Desser the Best Ever CatDesser the Best Ever Cat
A heart-warming and cathartic book for anyone who has ever loved, and lost, a cat.



Picture books – Dogs

Toby Toby
Sara and her younger brothers all have their own ways of handling the increasing age and infirmity of their beloved dog, Toby.


Dog HeavenDog Heaven
This Newbery Medalist makes her debut as an illustrator in a warm, whimsical picture book about the wonderful place where all good dogs go for an endless supply of ham biscuits, good meals and lots of petting.


Harry and HopperHarry & Hopper
When Harry’s beloved dog Hopper dies, he has a hard time letting go, as Harry sees Hopper still in his life. Are Hopper’s visits to Harry the boy’s imagination, or is the dog truly leaving Harry gradually, once he makes sure his boy will be all right? Eyes will not stay dry as readers experience this beautifully written, gently illustrated story about losing a dear pet.

Up in HeavenUp in Heaven
Daisy is Arthur’s dog, and she’s devoted to him. But she’s very old, and lately she’s finding it hard to keep up with Arthur. One night, after she goes to sleep as usual, she wakes up in heaven. Heaven is a wonderful place, and Daisy loves it there. But she knows Arthur is sad and misses her. So Daisy finds a way to let Arthur know she’s happy—and that’s the first step toward making him happy again, too.

Samsara DogSamsara Dog
Based on Buddhist concepts of Samsara and Nirvana, this moving story about love and life, death and dying, will touch every reader.


Saying Goodbye to LuluSaying Goodbye to Lulu
A young girl and her lovable dog, Lulu, are the best of friends. They play games together, explore their neighborhood, and even cuddle up to read bedtime stories each night. Lulu is the best dog a girl could ever hope for, but when she grows older and gradually becomes weak, the little girl must face the sad possibility of losing her dear friend, and inevitably, cope with the death of her canine companion. Though she is deeply saddened by Lulu’s passing and misses her very much, over time the little girl discovers that the sweet memory of her beloved Lulu will live on forever… in her heart.
With realistic, hopeful illustrations by Ard Hoyt, this tender tale offers an accessible lens to young children learning to understand and cope with the mixed emotions that come with the loss of a loved one.

Cat HeavenCat Heaven
The way to Cat Heaven is a field of sweet grass, where crickets and butterflies play!”
With a gentle, playful rhyme, Newbery Medalist Cynthia Rylant explores all the ways our beloved cats enjoy Cat Heaven, as she did for dogs in the bestselling companion book, DOG HEAVEN. Her shining artwork illustrates a world of peace for cats in Heaven, where no tree is too tall for exploring, where there is no lack of angels’ laps for sleeping.
If your child wonders where his or her kitty goes after a happy life on Earth, they can rest assured that all cats “know where the angel cats fly. They’ll run past the stars and the moon and the sun . . . to curl up with God in the sky.

Missing JackMissing Jack
Toby’s cat, Jack, is the best cat ever. But Jack is getting old, and Toby will miss his furry best friend terribly when he’s gone. Then Toby meets a crazy cat called Humphrey. In this charming and beautifully illustrated picture book Rebecca Elliott addresses the difficult subject of a child’s first experience of the death of a pet with warmth, sensitivity, and well placed humor.

Tough BorisTough Boris
Boris von der Borch is a mean, greedy old pirate–tough as nails, through and through, like all pirates. Or is he? When a young boy sneaks onto Boris’s ship, he discovers that Boris and his mates aren’t quite what he expected


Picture books – Other

Badger's Parting GiftsBadger’s Parting Gifts
Badger’s friends are sad when he dies but treasure the memories he left them. “The gentle message holds particular validity for children and is conveyed in a tenderhearted. ..manner.”—Book1ist.


The Goodbye BookThe Goodbye Book
Through the lens of a pet fish who has lost his companion, Todd Parr tells a moving and wholly accessible story about saying goodbye. Touching upon the host of emotions children experience, Todd reminds readers that it’s okay not to know all the answers, and that someone will always be there to support them. An invaluable resource for life’s toughest moments.

LifetimesLifetimes: The Beautiful Way to Explain Death to Children
When the death of a relative, a friend, or a pet happens or is about to happen . . . how can we help a child to understand?  Lifetimes is a moving book for children of all ages, even parents too. It lets us explain life and death in a sensitive, caring, beautiful way. Lifetimes tells us about beginnings. And about endings. And about living in between. With large, wonderful illustrations, it tells about plants. About animals. About people. It tells that dying is as much a part of living as being born. It helps us to remember. It helps us to understand.
Lifetimes . . . a very special, very important book for you and your child. The book that explains—beautifully—that all living things have their own special Lifetimes.

My bunny has died, and I have no idea what to do

If your bunny is part of a bonded pair/trio/group.
Leave your deceased bunny with the other rabbits for a few hours so they can understand that their friend has passed on.

Like you, your other bunnies will be grieving.  Make sure that they are still eating and drinking.  Consider a visit to the vet for a health check-up.
A stuffed animal may help your bunny recover their appetite quicker:

And, there is a simple, perhaps silly-sounding thing you can do that will make a difference to your grieving rabbit. Get a stuffed animal, close in size and softness to a rabbit. We have had incredible success making the stuffed animal appear to come alive, groom, and hop around after the surviving bunny. It has cut down the lack of appetite to hours instead of days.

“You will feel better yourself knowing your bunny is comforted.”

Rub the stuffed animal over the fur of your surviving bunny to transfer his scent to the toy. It may be necessary to distract him first by petting his head. Then, guide the stuffed animal through the motions of a companion bunny. Make the stuffed animal cuddle up to your rabbit, groom him, and even follow him into the litterbox. We have seen the surviving rabbit respond by licking the stuffed animal for hours.

Do this immediately after your rabbit’s friend has died. Let this toy, stuffed animal come to the rescue. You will feel better yourself, knowing your bunny is comforted. Through your job of daily animating the stuffed animal to mimic the mannerisms of a real bunny, you will also offer your rabbit your own love and companionship. Later on, a new rabbit companion may be in his future.
(Margie Wilson, House Rabbit Journal Vol. 4, No. 7 – Summer 2002)

It’s ok to cry.
You’ve just lost a loved member of your family, so it’s ok to cry and grieve over your loss.  There is nothing wrong with that.  And it’s also ok to talk to your bunny.

What to do with your bunny’s body.
Wrap your bunny in a towel or blanket.  It’s ok to spend time with your bunny.  Some people take comfort by grooming their bunny.  Place your bunny in a cool dry place until you arrange their burial or cremation.

Home burial or cremation?
This really is individual choice.   Here are some thoughts.

Home burial
If your bunny had a favourite part of the garden, perhaps a burial in the garden would be appropriate.  Invite understanding friends and family to help you with the burial.

If you don’t have a garden, or just want to have your bunny with you, cremation is a good choice.  Speak to your local vet or one of the cremation providers listed below.

Whatever you decide, the decision you make will be the correct decision for you and your bunny.

Keeping remembrances.
Your might like to make a clay print paw or a small piece of bunny’s fur.  You can purchase sculting clay from “craft” stores.

Cremation Services
Your vet will be able to provide you with advice.
Cremation services in Melbourne, Australia are:

Other support sites:
Bunspace – Rainbow Bridge Forum

From A Canine Friend to Those who Love Him

You’re giving me a special gift
so sorrowfully endowed
and through these last few cherished days
your courage makes me proud.

But really, love is knowing
when your best friend is in pain
and understanding earthly acts
will only be in vain.

So looking deep into your eyes
beyond, into your soul
I see in you the magic, that will
once more make me whole.

The strength that you possess
is why I look to you today
to do this thing that must be done
for it’s the only way.

That strength is why I’ve followed you
and chose you as my friend
and why I’ve loved you all these years
my partner ’til the end.

Please understand just what this gift
you’re giving means to me
it gives me back the strength I’ve lost
and all my dignity.

You take a stand on my behalf
for that is what friends do
and know that what you do is right
for I believe it too.

So one last time, I breathe your scent
and through your hand I feel
the courage that’s within you
to now grant me this appeal.

Cut the leash that holds me here
dear friend, and let me run
once more a strong and steady dog
my pain and struggle done.

And don’t despair my passing
for I won’t be far away
forever here, with your heart
and memory I’ll stay.

I’ll be there watching over you
your ever faithful friend
and in your memories I’ll run
a young dog once again.

-Author unknown

Dear Friend

© 1998, Juliet Brown

Dear Friend,

You have just experienced a most terrible loss. The relationship you had with your beloved pet was unique and special. You shared intimate times, both happy and sad, and now there is a gap in your life where once the presence of your precious friend warmed your heart and brightened your days. How many of us have faced such a loss which, at the time, seems insurmountable? Your grief, intense and perfectly valid, may be misunderstood – even ridiculed – by those around you. But there are people who understand the pain, the disorientation and devastation, of losing a treasured animal companion. You are not alone.

Allow yourself to feel whatever you are feeling – no matter how painful, or irrational it may seem to you. This is the best way to work through your grief. As you allow yourself to remember the good and bad times, the agony will slowly begin to recede and the memory of the joys you shared with your treasured pet will begin to shine through. Right now, that may feel like a long, long time away. The intensity of your pain and sorrow is testimony to the love you had for your pet – he or she will always hold a special place in your heart.

You may pass through an incredible range of emotions – guilt, anger, denial, depression being among them. This is completely normal. Perhaps the most important thing to remember is to be good to yourself. You have just suffered a devastating loss and it will take time to try to come to terms with it – to work through the emotions until the pleasure of having shared your pet’s life overcomes the agony of the separation. Be kind and patient with yourself; avoid those who don’t understand. In time, when you are feeling stronger, you may want to explain to them why your grieving was natural, to honour your animal friend. But for now, nurture yourself. You may want to work through your grief sitting alone or with a close friend, in places that were special to you and your pet. You may also want to do some things in memory of him or her.

Most of all, do whatever feels right for you. Those close to you will probably take their lead from you – try not to hide your devastation. If you loved your pet so much in life, it is natural to grieve for him or her in death. Grief, though so painful, is the way through a dark tunnel to healing. Allow it to do its work.

Friend, you are a beautiful person because you have taken the time to love and understand another creature. Now, allow yourself to mourn that precious life and to remember all the joys that you shared in your unique relationship. Please don’t rule out having another pet – he or she won’t replace your beloved friend, but will be a testimony to the treasure who has gone from you. Another animal will say to your friend who has gone ‘Sharing my life with you taught me about the delight I receive when I share my life with another creature. You have taught me something of the nature of love’.

Take care, my friend.

From Friend to Friend – Suggestions for those who are grieving

(© 1998, Juliet Brown – http://members.optusnet.com.au/~bundlebliss/suggestions.htm)

Losing a pet is difficult and traumatic for many people. Our pets love us unconditionally, listen to us when we want to talk, and bring us so much joy. When it comes time to say goodbye to a special pet, it can break our hearts. Although some people may not understand the depth of our reaction to our pet’s death, it is important that we allow the grief process to do its work in order to slowly heal the pain.

When your pet dies, there are a thousand daily reminders of old routines and special shared times. The emptiness can be devastating, and the final memories seem too hard to bear, particularly if you saw your pet suffer. Painful as it is, it will help you if you can accept your grief now, and allow it to work its healing course in your life. The extent and intensity of your reactions may at times feel overwhelming, but this is not surprising when you think of all that you have lost in your relationship with your pet.
There may be some things you can do that will bring comfort to you in your time of grief. These may include things such as:

  • having a funeral or memorial service for your pet
  • writing your pet a letter ~ about your memories, and how much you love him/her and miss him/her
  • writing a poem about the times you shared
  • selecting your favourite photographs for enlargement and framing
  • making a donation to an appropriate organisation in memory of your pet
  • placing flowers in places that were of significance to you both
  • lighting a Memory Candle in your pet’s name
  • putting your pets toys, dishes etc. in a special place, such as a Memory Box
  • walking the paths you once walked together

Above all, do whatever is comfortable for you. Rituals can help your healing. as they encourage you to face and mourn your loss, and say goodbye in your own way.

Remember that you are not alone in your grief. Many people are devastated by the death of their companion animals. The pain may be so intense that you decide you do not want another pet. But your pain is a testimony of your love, and the special relationship you shared with your friend. One day, when the grief has eased, having another pet may seem desirable: the wonderful times you shared with your friend may prompt you to share your life with another animal. What greater honour is there of your dear pet’s memory?

Be kind and gentle to yourself, my friend. Don’t be surprised at the intensity or duration of your feelings of grief. Where you love deeply, you will grieve deeply. Allow the grief to teach you how much you loved and valued your animal companion. In time, there will be smiles through your tears, and the treasured memories of sharing your pet’s life will ease the agony of separation. You are a tender person who has taken the time to nurture another creature. And with every precious memory s/he has left you with, your special pet has returned that love to you a thousandfold.