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“I was honored to be Duke’s person for the length of his life,” said Eileen Gordon of her pit bull that passed away this year.

“I was the lucky one because I was able to love them and care for them for 14 wonderful years,” said Tony Brewer of his two precious pups Okie D and Delph.

have lost a child. I believe that our innate maternal/paternal love can be given wholeheartedly to a pet, especially if the pet is being cared for as the main companion in your life. Your dog was put in your life for a reason, and your relationship was exactly what it was supposed to be. I imagine, you took care of

each other, and you have been better because of that. May you have blessings of hope, peace and gratitude in the days ahead. And don’t worry about those people who think you are a Crazy Dog Person – I am too, and they don’t know what they’re missing.

So, what to do from here? Take some deep breaths, hug yourself from within and go easy on yourself. This may have caught you by surprise, and a little input might help you find your way. Here are a few tips to get you through this time: • Wait for a couple of months before you get another pet. Let your grief have its place and then decide what type of pet would be the best fit for this next season of your life. It is recommended that you not search for a “look-alike” pet or use the same name, but rather start with a new animal with its own special place in your world. • Give yourself a break for feeling such intense emotions. It is normal to experience feelings of guilt, depression, anger, confusion and denial, as these are natural stages of the grieving process. Take care of yourself as you mourn by eating well, getting sleep, not isolating, doing gentle exercise, and turning to your spirituality for strength and hope. • Pay tribute to your pet in some way. Recognize her life and have a memorial service. Put a marker or a symbol somewhere to honor the relationship that you shared, or make a donation to a shelter in your pet’s name. • Reach out to others who have had similar experiences. This will keep you from feeling isolated and create feelings of validation and connection. • Go for a walk in a new place if your old path is too painful for now, and ask a friend to join you. When you are ready, you will be able to walk in her old paw-steps and feel okay about your memories – even if it means a few tears may fall. • If you had to put your dog to sleep, know that you made the most loving choice for your animal. Trust

that if the veterinarian advised it, there was nothing else that they could do to improve your pet’s life. You gave your pet a compassionate gift. Find comfort from others who have been there and ask loved ones for support over your decision. Avoiding grief does not make it go away; let yourself cry. Letting your emotions out is the most important piece of moving through the grieving process – cry, kick, scream and talk it out. Remind yourself to step back from the tears at times and feel joy and gratitude for the bond you shared. Recollect the playful times, and try to find a healing laugh over something comical she used to do. Your body will thank you, and your spirit will be blessed. Ask for what you need. Tell those who you trust what they can do to help, whether it be a “no judgment rule,” time to heal, a meal, a movie date, an ear to listen, help cleaning her things, a good laugh, or some time away. Be honest with those who love you and take a break from those who don’t understand for now. If you are not feeling somewhat better in a month or two, turn to a counselor who can help you with your grieving process – believe me, this is not uncommon and a very healing experience. Sometimes new grief can bring up old pain and keep us stuck, and getting some extra support is the best thing we can do to help ourselves move forward.

Southern Seasons Magazine

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Southern Seasons Magazine Spring 2013- Cover 3  

Third cover of Spring 2013 issue for better newsstand coverage on sale May 2013.