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Dr. Diane Pomerance

 
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ANIMAL COMPANIONS AND THEIR PEOPLE
AND COPING WITH PET LOSS AND PET DEATH

“Animal Companions and their People” is dedicated to fostering and furthering an increased understanding of as well as respect and appreciation for the animals with whom we share the earth. It is designed to help us recognize the purposefulness, sacredness and interconnectedness of all creatures. Its purpose is to elevate our consciousness and recognize that animals experience life and death and share many of the same emotions we have. It also seeks to improve our awareness of and expand communications between our animal companions and us.

In particular, this site is devoted to all aspects of pet ownership or as we prefer to call it “pet guardianship” or “pet parenthood.” We view our animal companions as integral and vital friends, companions and beloved family members with whom we share our hearts, our homes and our daily lives. They are fellow travelers on the path of Life and their journey is interwoven with our own.


The decision to adopt a pet or pets is an important one and not to be taken lightly. Although shorter-lived than humans, dogs or cats can live from 10-20 years while others such as tortoises or parrots and macaws can live well over 50 years! These are sentient beings who require love, interaction, exercise, proper nutrition, veterinary care and grooming.  They require our time, attention and affection. In return, they provide us with an opportunity to provide loving care for one vulnerable and dependent upon us.  Many of them need to be obedience trained and socialized. They repay our efforts with undying love and devotion.

When we adopt a pet, we make a commitment to care for him for the rest of his life. Our pets provide us with unconditional love and acceptance and are true and loyal friends, teachers, guides, healers and confidants. They offer us a safe haven and the opportunity to be who we genuinely and truly are without façade or pretense or affectation.  They allow us to lower our guard and to display emotions and share feelings we might not feel comfortable sharing with another human being.

Our animal companions provide us with physical as well as emotional and spiritual benefits.  They are a link with Nature and the natural world and elevate our spirits.  They lower blood pressure and improve our heart rate.  They decrease worry, fear, stress loneliness, anxiety and depression.  Simply petting an animal companion has a calming, soothing effect. In addition, our pets afford us the opportunity to nurture and provide care for a loved one.

They teach us spontaneity and to “live in the moment” rather than in the past or future.  Their presence not only improves our physical and emotional health but it even increases our longevity.
 

Through our animal companions, we learn much about ourselves  - of life and death and of mortality and immortality. We observe our pets as they grow from infancy to childhood to adolescence, adulthood, maturity and old age.  We note the many illnesses and infirmities they experience as they age – so many similar to those we face ourselves.  Ultimately, our beloved animal companions confront the inevitable – death – whether by accident, illness, euthanasia or natural causes. Euthanasia is a very difficult and complex issue – perhaps one of the most heartrending and difficult we will ever make.

“Animal Companions” provides insight into the grief associated with the loss or death of a pet.  It addresses the issues of pet aging and illness, pet death, pet grief, pet loss and offers the tools to help those mourning the departure of a beloved pet cope with and recover from the pain, sorrow and grief associated with the loss of a pet. Many people who do not have pets are not aware of the powerful emotional and spiritual connections that those of us who know, live with and love them share with our animal companions.  Grief is the normal, natural and healthy response to loss of any kind, and we offer help, comfort and support to those who have lost a beloved animal companion.  We offer the tools to help people recover from pet loss as well as grief over any loss.

Above all, we respect and appreciate the beauty, nobility and grace of our animal companions and the gifts they bring us.  We gratefully acknowledge the joy and many blessings, friendship and camaraderie, and unconditional love and acceptance they provide us


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