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Goodbye, Friend: Healing Wisdom for Anyone Who Has Ever Lost a Pet Paperback – March 13, 2012
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Dr. Michael W. Fox, veterinarian and syndicated columnist
Saying goodbye to a pet soulmate is something we dread but must inevitably accept. Goodbye, Friend offers answers that are woven into a tapestry of care, compassion, and unconditional love for the pets with whom we’ve shared our hearts and homes. Then, we can become much more than our pet’s best friend we can become healers, teachers, and angels for our friends and family when they, too, lose a beloved pet.”
Marty Becker, DVM, coauthor of Chicken Soup for the Pet Lover’s Soul
The death of a beloved pet is one of the hardest things to bear. This insightful and compassionate book will help readers accept the grief and move on in their lives.”
Philip Gonzalez, author of The Dog Who Rescues Cats
Uplifting, comforting, spiritual. If you have an elderly or ailing animal companion, please read this book!”
Alex Pacheco, cofounder of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)
From the Author
As a parish minister, I often counsel those seeking comfort in time of loss. And as an animal lover myself (having accompanied two fine dogs to the end of the trail and helped my children struggle with the loss of an assortment of parakeets, rodents, and goldfish) I know the emotional roller-coaster firsthand.
There are no timetables for healing. There are no easy repairs for an aching heart. While I can't offer any way around the pain, I can share what's helped me and assisted others in finding peace, for you are not alone on this journey. Through the centuries, people of varied faiths (as well as poets, physicians, veterinarians and philosophers) have accumulated insights that help us face death with hope and wisdom, with gratitude for the years we share, with trust in the mystery that is at once beyond our ken and present in every living creature.
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My beloved cat and best friend was only 5 years old when she was tragically killed by a car a few weeks ago. This book mainly focusses on comforting those who's animal has lived a long full life and has now passed on. There are only a few pages devoted to sudden, accidental death of a young animal who should have lived much longer. I needed more comfort than this book could give, for this case. It is a lovely book, but it did not help much in my situation.
Recommended as a short, comforting read for those who's animal has aged and died (or had to be euthanized), but not recommended for someone in the shock and extreme grief of suddenly losing their animal in the prime and vitality of it's life.
After talking to my friends for weeks and finding it difficult to discuss how upset I was without tearing up (or bursting into tears completely, depending on how my friends reacted to the news), I found this book by chance and it really made a difference.
For some time, I was "upset that I was so upset," since I had been able to process deaths of family members and move on quickly, while this one struck me as a lingering sadness. Mr. Kowalski's book made me realize that there are reasons for this reaction, and, more importantly, that they are a natural part of human emotion (SPOILER ALERT: We spend every waking moment with our pets, letting them sleep near us, watching us while we get dressed in the morning, and taking them to the mailbox with us, so, yes, it's okay to miss that presence.)
I've read some reviews that fault this book for making them more upset, and I can understand why they feel that way. This is not a book that will make the hurt go away, but it is a book that will make you feel better about being upset, and will give you some comfort in knowing that there's nothing wrong with you or the grief you are feeling. We all process our grief on different timetables, but it's important to remember that it's not a race and it's okay to take all the time you need.
I read this about six weeks after Tallulah left, and while it turned the waterworks on, it did so in a way that was cathartic and helpful. There's even a chapter on when to open your home up to a new pet (and that depends completely on you) that made me realize it wasn't a betrayal, but a tribute to your beloved to do so. In July, we rescued a Lab/Hound mix named Conrad, and while he won't replace our girl, I realize there's enough room in our hearts to love this little guy just as much.
Our pets are a joyous part of our lives. They're steadier in their emotions than we are and accept the fact that they can build their worlds around us and ask for surprisingly little in return. This book acknowledges that whether your pet has four legs, fins, a shell, or scales, when they leave us, they leave a tremendous void that hits us hard. And it let me know that it was okay to ache, because that means they did the job they were sent to do.
The Pet Loss Companion: Healing Advice from Family Therapists Who Lead Pet Loss Groups by Ken Dolan-Del Vecchio might have been a better choice.
The Bible is the foundation for my view on this difficult topic. It's impossible to pick out just one verse that explains it, but read Psalm 104:24-29. We've had five beloved pets pass on, and we simply trust God with our grief, as well as who/what inhabits His new earth.