canine grief

Pet Grief: Integrating it one Pauseful Moment at a Time

Pet Grief: Integrating it one Pauseful Moment at a Time

It’s been a little over two months since Kylie left her earthly trail and now travels among the stars. With the full moon last night, driving home from date night with John, I couldn’t take my eyes off that mystical and magical glow in the night sky.

Alone in my thoughts I felt the presence of Kylie now a part of the vast universe and that exquisite orb so full of wonder and mystery. I’ve thought about her everyday since she moved on, and Tuesday afternoon on a saunter through the woods, I carried in my pocket a portion of her ashes to scatter.

It was a part on the trail I remember well and can still see Kylie standing there waiting for me in the early fall of 2013. It was a sacred and special time between her and and I when I took a two month sabbatical after my dachshund Joie, passed away. We formed a bond during that time which was magical and needed.

Scattering part of her ashes at this spot on the trail had been nudging at my heart for quite a few weeks now. But I wasn’t ready until now. In part, because I’ve been working through some things I needed to understand, and how her last days unfolded.

I don’t want to live in “what if’s” or regret, but instead honor her life by the many gifts she was to me and John, and also the gift of her legacy, which has come into full view with the help of two friends who have been thoughtful reflections for me the last few weeks.

So as I stood at this spot in the woods where I fondly recalled many happy days walking with Kylie and where our bond grew by leaps and bounds, I invoked an ancient Hawaiian practice a friend recently told me about. It spoke to me as the final piece I’d been waiting for to guide me to close the gap of healing that needed to take place.

It’s called Ho’oponopono and can help restore harmony within, and with others by saying, ‘I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you, I love you.’

And so with each statement, beginning with ‘I’m sorry,’ I talked out loud to Kylie surrounded by the trees, standing on the very spot of the earth where I still see her face so full of joy and her heart bursting with love.

While what I talked to her about is private and between her and me, there were tears that I was finally able to release that had been whirling around in this inner black void.

As I shared with Kylie some things I was sorry about and wished I could have done differently, a hawk swooped across the trail about ten feet in front of me. It happened so fast, but yet it was as if time stood still as I was in complete awe.

Hawk’s appearance for me in that moment and what I’ve percolated in what I feel it meant, is that I believe Hawk symbolized not dwelling in the sorry, but to understand the deeper and true message of my life with Kylie. I take it as I was meant to swiftly move into the statement that was the hardest for me which was, ‘please forgive me.’ 

And once I did, and worked through that sharing with Kylie, this abundance of joy flooded my whole body as I then thanked her for all she was to me, and still is.

The final statement, of which is never truly final, and that of ‘I love you,’ opened the floodgates of pure, unconditional love. It brought me to this new place of healing for having taken the time to pause and remember that we truly can connect with those that are no longer physically here. And we can ask for what we need and say what we need to say, and know that it was heard and understood, just as the practice of Ho’oponopono teaches.

Integrating this piece of the healing into my being, I now understand on a new and needed level as Kylie’s legacy which speaks so beautifully to the depth of love she was not only for me, but for all those that loved her.

With some of her ashes now scattered in those tiny woods only five minutes from my home, I feel at peace knowing part of her spirit frolics among the trees. While I can be with her anytime I pause and take the time to do so, it’s that part of the trail that is now that much more sacred. I know I’ll be called to visit often and it will be the greatest honor to do so. 

I’ll see you soon sweet girl.

Lastly, I share this quote from the book, The Inner Life of Cats by Thomas McNamee’s. While I didn’t read the book, I appreciated the quote which I recently read on a fellow blogger’s website. While Thomas speaks about cats, I feel this quote really hits home the beauty and love and our dog companions, too.

“We love our cats with a purity and grace not possible in our love of our spouses, our parents, or even our children. People are too complicated for love as simple as what we bear to our cats. It is not agape, phileo, caritas, amor, or eros (roughly: selfless love, brotherly love, love of humankind, romantic love, and erotic love, respectively). I believe it has never been named. The kinship between our cats and ourselves reaches deep beneath consciousness, to a place before history, perhaps even before the development of self-expressible human intellect … It is devotional, like prayer, and like prayer it is met with silence. Our devotion is what gives cats their power.”



Joie Joins Frankie in the Garden Outside My Writing Cottage

Joie Joins Frankie in the Garden Outside My Writing Cottage

I only knew Joie (pronounced Joey) for ten months. But my breath still caught in my chest this morning when I opened the box that contained her ashes. Joie passed away four years ago today.

After scattering Frankie’s ashes on the fifth year of her passing on June 21st this year, I knew I’d want to do the same for Joie.

So much has transpired in my growth and understanding since those two wheelie dogs blessed my life. I’ve come to understand from Frankie that if we can see our challenges in a positive way, we can evolve and learn so much from them. From Joie, I came to understand that in transition there are blessings if we can find the courage and strength to open to them.

Their ashes from the physical beings while they graced this earth, while I loved more than anything to hug them, hold them, and kiss them, I understand now more than before that their spirit lives on forever. What I once shared with them of so much love and joy is still here.  All I have to do is sit in stillness and connect with them to feel that joy and love again that they brought to my life while they were here in physical form.

And the teachings…oh, the teachings they provided me. I feel so blessed for all I’ve learned from them. While we all learn the lessons of life in different ways, God knew for me that it would be the animals that would (and continue to!) help guide me. I still marvel at God’s work of creating all the animals!

So my dear Joie, I give you back to the earth, alongside Frankie, as you both now grace me with your presence in the wind, the sun, the rain, the blooming of flowers, and the ever transitioning of my gardens.

Thank you for being my friend. 

Thank you for sharing and subscribing to my blog updates.

Do Pets Grieve the Passing of Another Pet?

g outsideDo pets grieve the passing of another pet? My honest answer to that is that I truly don’t know. I’ve personally not experienced this with any of my dogs, but I’ve read where others truly believe their pet is grieving.

I’ve gotten emails now and then asking me how Kylie has dealt with the passing of Frankie and then Joie. If she was missing them, I didn’t witness it. I recalled after Frankie passed away, and then Joie ten months later, that when I posted a photo of Kylie shortly afterwards, some people said she looked sad – that she must be grieving. But honestly, Kylie just has that kind of face. Ever since she was a pup, people have said she looks sad. But from what I could tell and see, she didn’t seem to be at a loss with Frankie and Joie gone.

K emailed me today asking this question again wondering about Kylie and how she did after Frankie and Joie died. She shared with me that two months ago she lost her beagle mix due to complications of liver cancer. She was 14.5 years old. Her other dog, Pixie, a golden retriever who is 11 years old she said has been having a hard time without the beagle mix. She stated that Pixie has always been a momma’s girl and a “velcro pup” and that she relied on KC for her confidence. She said it now seems that Pixie is sad.

K has a two hour commute to work daily and getting another dog as others have suggested, does not feel right to her being that she is gone so much for her job. She felt that me being home more with Kylie is what helped Kylie with any difficulties when Frankie and Joie passed away. Again, I personally didn’t witness any difficulties for Kylie.

So while I don’t have a definitive answer to this and how to best help, I’ve come to see and understand something about animals I didn’t always see. I believe that our pets are often times a reflection of what is going on inside of us. If we are sad, they will pick up on that. If we are anxious, nervous, or concerned, they will pick up on that, too. Is this always the case? No, I don’t believe so. But I do think it is in more cases, than not. In Kylie’s case, I grieved deeply the loss of Frankie and Joie, but she seemed to be fine. Maybe another dog wouldn’t have been. I don’t know.

I don’t know that they grieve like humans do, but I do believe they feel things. They may miss the presence of a pet that was their companion. I also believe that animals aren’t afraid to die.

In regards to Kylie, I actually think she enjoyed the one on one time with me in-between the loss of Frankie and then Joie, before I adopted Gidget. But she has also been great in adapting each time I brought a new pup into the household.

So I know I’m not really answering the question directly, as I do believe we each know our pets best. If you feel they are sad, perhaps taking them for an extra walk or playing with them more often than usual will help them as they adjust. I also read an article where it said to keep their schedule to as normal as possible. This makes sense to me.

While K said to me she couldn’t afford to talk with an animal communicator right now, which is a suggestion of mine, I do strongly believe it can hold valuable insight not only for your pet, but for the pet owner, too. I’ve personally experienced animal communication in powerful ways that healed me in ways I never expected. I also believe that has helped me be a better person for my dogs.

You can certainly take to the Internet and ask this question via Google and get a wide variety of answers. But I come back to what I believe about pets and that they are here to help us be better people. This means being open to looking inside ourselves and what we may be reflecting out into the world that we may not even be aware of.

My other suggestion is to seek out a pet loss support group (check with your vet’s office). For years I was a volunteer for a local group in my area. While they are usually there to support humans through the grieving process, they may be able to offer resources or suggestions in regards to pets grieving the loss of another pet.

Lastly, I know there will be a huge differing of opinions to this question. But I also think it is a great time to be with the question and really look at it within your own life and what you can learn from it.