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Good Grief: Finding Peace After Pet Loss: Personal and Professional Insights on the Animal Lover's Unique Grieving Process Paperback – August 24, 2009
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From the Inside Flap
Who thinks you're the most wonderful, irreplaceable being in existence (even when you're cranky, have bed head, have put on some pounds, etc.)? Who forgives you virtually anything, never holds a grudge, and loves you unconditionally? The answer to all of the above is our animal companions. With them we share an intense emotional bond. So why is it that, when grieving their passing, many of us still feel we must suffer in silence or be labeled somehow defective? Good Grief: Finding Peace After Pet Loss shows you how to: How to emotionally prepare for a pets euthanasiaunderstanding when its time; How to take care of yourself while around people who just dont understand your pain; How to view death not as an ending, but (as animals see it) a natural transformation; How to memorialize and celebrate your pets life; and How to move on after your loss and love again. Endorsements: "Fellow creatures can teach us how to love, and when they move on they leave a great hole that this book will help to fill." Dr. Michael W. Fox, author and syndicated Animal Doctor columnist and "The animals in our lives already have the knowing that the end of their life is another transition, and all the love that is exchanged between us lives on forever. This book has great testimonies to try to help pet lovers cope with the deep loss of their beloved companions." Lydia Hiby, animal communicator
About the Author
Sid Korpi has combined her decades of varied professional experienceas an editor, writer, journalist, English teacher, actor, ordained minister/animal chaplain and member of the Association of Pet Loss and Bereavementwith her lifelong devotion to the animal companions who have blessed and shared her life in creating Good Grief: Finding Peace After Pet Loss. Surviving a tsunami of loss in her own life led to her discovery of spiritual truths that brought her strength and facilitated her hearts healing. She felt compelled to share these things with others who sufferoften in isolationfrom the passing on of their very dearest nonhuman friends, their pets. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with her husband Anthony Kaczor and their six animal friends/family members: Blanche, Ambrose, and Keely (Westies); Giles and Xander (cats); and Atticus and Scout (finches).
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Because this book is so comprehensive, I think some readers may find it difficult to absorb so much material, especially in the time immediately surrounding a loss (I'm thinking of someone in the freshest throes of grief, when the attention span of the bereaved is so short that it's difficult to concentrate) - but overall I think it's a fine contribution to the pet loss literature and one that (as a grief counselor who also specializes in pet loss) I will be pleased to recommend to my clients and colleagues. I'm sure it will help many people better understand the strength and power of the human-animal bond and the deep sense of loss that is felt when a beloved animal companion has died.
This title is now listed on the Articles ~ Columns ~ Books page of my GriefHealing Web site (under the Books about Pet Loss category) as one that I've read and personally recommend.
Introducing the book Korpi asks what is a pet owner to do when those around them fail to understand the enormity of their loss. She argues that "Grieving the loss of a loved one, whether he or she is human or an animal, is arguably the most difficult task we must all inevitably endure." Significantly she also acknowledges however that "the pain of loss is compounded by the withdrawal/rejection you may feel from those who value the human/animal bond substantially less than you do." She very importantly points out that there is "something unique about relationships with animals" describing their unconditionally loving natures and lack of judgment. Korpi concludes her Introduction by stating that "This book is is intended to share stories of the miraculous ways in which that bond remains intact beyond death."
Part One: The All Important Grieving Process includes two informative charts--one on CHARACTERISTICS OF BEREAVED PET OWNERS from New Perspectives on Our Lives With Companion Animals and another LEVELS OF HUMAN BONDING WITH ANIMALS from The Loss of a Pet. I especially love Korpi's suggestion on how to address those insensitive to pet loss taken from Eleanor Harris' book Pet Loss: A Spiritual Guide" In my opinion you are not an animal person and have probably never experienced the special bond you can have with a pet. You do not understand the love...and companionship my pet gave my life. Please do not be so judgmental and intolerant, as I feel deep personal loss at this time." Also as Dr Michael Fox, the Animal Doctor, so aptly pointed out: "Many people say they have mourned the loss of a devoted, affectionate pet that brought joy and unconditional love into their lives more than that of a close relative."
Parts Two: Afterlife Connections-Humans and Three: Animals and the Afterlife could arguably be challenged by those of some religious faiths. Notably, however, even evangelist Billy Graham once said (as Korpi quoted): "I think God will have prepared everything for our perfect happiness (in Heaven). If it takes my dog being there, I believe he'll be there."
Personally I feel that Part Four: Memoralizing Methods was probably the most important section of the book. HOW DO I LOVE THEE? NUMEROUS WAYS TO HONOR YOUR BELOVED ANIMAL COMPANION'S LIFE is a compilation of suggested ideas Korpi collected to help people memorialize and honor their pets. There are over sixty (60) suggestions offered here from writing poems, songs, stories and books about your pet to drawing or painting pictures of your pet to embroidering a pillow with a likeness of your pet to joining pet loss support groups and including your pet in your daily prayers to donating to an animal rescue organization in your pet's name, volunteering in animal shelters, as a foster family for no-kill pet rescue organizations, etc. Korpi even includes a list of songs inspired somehow by our animal companions, my favorite being "Mr Bo Jangles" by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band: "The dog up and died. he up and died. And after twenty years, he still grieves." Tenderly noted also are the lyrics from "Holly's Favorite Things" a song submitted by Erika Thorne of Minneapolis, Minnesota.
The concluding sections of the book are Parts Five, Six and Seven: All Things Considered, The Role of Philosophy, Religion and Spirituality in Healing and Moving On After Loss.
There is SO MUCH in this book. It is so well researched. There are numerous submitted stories lovingly included with photographs of many precious companion animals--dogs, cats,horses, rabbits, parakeets, etc.--(now deceased) attached. It was so touching to see how deeply these pet owners loved their companion animals. I found myself in tears many times. The human-animal bond is indeed a very special one no person should take lightly. I therefore strongly recommend this book to all--pet owners and non pet owners alike.