Marianne Williamson (of “A Course in Miracles” fame) wrote: “Rites of passage provide structures of energy by which we alchemise our experiences, of the most significant junctures in life. They fortify our spirits, that nobility and transcendence might be more than just words. They remind us of our oneness, and form society’s connective tissue. As extensions of prayer, they are words that take us beyond words.”
As most of us who are animal lovers know, the death of a precious pet can be a shattering experience, triggering all kinds of feelings and fears around the subject of death and dying and grief and loss. Our pets are not simply animal additions to our lives. They are our companions and our friends, our family even.
Reflecting on this led me to thinking about how much animals add to our lives, how painful it is to lose them and how it feels to find ourselves in the incredibly difficult position of having to play God, as we struggle with the humane, moral, ethical and spiritual decision of whether or not to end their suffering and their lives by means of euthanasia, how the loss of a precious animal friend so often triggers unresolved feelings of grief and loss in so many other areas of our lives.
Loss of course is not necessarily confined to dying, although the death of a loved one, be they human or animal, has the power to impact every aspect of our physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual well-being and functioning.
So, as an animal lover and counsellor in private practice, I offer counselling to those who are experiencing the loss of a pet or are faced with a difficult decision, as well to offer a ritual / ceremony, a rite of passage if you will, to say goodbye to, and to honour their lives and their passing.
As one of my favourite psycho/spiritual teachers, Ram Dass says and I quote: “The reward, the real grace of conscious service, then, is the opportunity not only to help relieve suffering, but to grow in wisdom, experience greater unity and have a good time while we’re doing it.”
For more information about dealing with the loss of a pet, please see under ARTICLES.
Sinbad, died 12th June 2013 –
The most precious being I’ve ever had the privilege to know –
I miss you terribly – In Loving Memory.
IMAGO Relationship Coach & Clinical Counsellor in Private Practice
Registered with the Council for Counsellors. Reg. No. IR 1660