A PLACE IN MY HEART, When a Pet Dies

I’ve written a new booklet. A Place in My Heart, When a Pet Dies.
A booklet to guide pet owners through the challenges of a pet’s final illness, approaching death, and the grief that follows. I’ve thought about writing this booklet for several years but it didn’t get written until I got a very sad letter from a gentleman telling me about the death of his beloved dog and his difficulty understanding his grief. As I wrote back to him I decided now was the time to write the booklet I had thought about for so long.

We can be as much at a loss when our pet is dying as we are when a person is dying but there doesn’t seem to be the support and guidance available for when a beloved pet is dying hence this new booklet.

I see A Place In My Heart as being the Gone From My Sight for families with animals. A booklet to guide someone through the dying and grief experience when an animal is involved.

We humans when we are dying a gradual death from old age or disease go through a process--not eating, sleeping more, withdrawing. Animals do something similar. With animals there is the issue, unlike humans, of euthanasia. When is suffering and treatment enough? Then there are burial decisions to consider and finally grief.

Grief presents itself in the same manner as grief for a person but often there isn’t the same support from others that is given when a person dies. Many think “it is just an animal. What is the big deal?” Grief for our animals is a “big deal”. For many of us our animals are family, an important part of our lives and we grieve for them deeply. Often our animals take the place of children, they become our children. Our animals give us unconditional love, unless they are cats then we give them unconditional love. Animals are our port in the storm as we face life challenges. They bring us joy, humor, and comfort. They focus our attention outside of ourselves and make us less self centered.

I’ve written A Place In My Heart in the same thorough and direct yet gentle manner as my other booklets on end of life. My hope is that it will bring direction and comfort to those facing the death and grief of a much loved pet.

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Dottie Coleman
I have shared personalized versions of this prayer with many friends who have lost animal companions. It always seems to provide comfort. I share it here in keeping with the intention of your book. A Prayer for Monique

Creator of all Creatures Great and Small, we come to you asking that you receive today the spirit of our beloved Monique. As with every living thing, you imprinted her with wonderful uniqueness. From her beautiful white fur, to the glow of her loving blue eyes, to the welcoming sound of her bark, to the dedication of her energy in service to those needing cheering – we are grateful that she has been so much a part of our lives. She has extended herself to us and been a joyous addition to our family, both at home and at Magnolia, for almost two decades.

Our hearts are heavy with sorrow as we come to this place of parting. We have watched as her life has diminished each day. So as our final act of appreciation, compassion, and love, we give her the gift of ending her struggle now. Accept this as our most profound expression of love for all she has given to us and to so many. As she breathes her last here, let her breathe the new and healing air that is found in your presence.

Hold us close to you as we let the empty space in our lives be expressed with our tears and sadness. Along with the grief, let our memories be flooded with images of the many happy days we spent with Monique. Thank you with all our hearts for allowing us to come together for each of the days she brightened for us and for so many others.

Godspeed, Nicky, until we meet again. You will live forever in our hearts and souls in that special room called Remember. Accept her now, Lord. And may she hear you say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” Amen.

Dr. Walter S. Coleman, Chaplain

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