Nurturing the Animal Human Bond

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Mourning Mitzie

short haired gray tabby cat with white chest and nose

As many of you are aware, my cat Mitzie transitioned the other day, after 22 years (or so) of feisty, sassy, giving-the-stink-eye-life on Earth.

She is missed greatly. Who would have thought that 5 pounds of vim and vinegar could leave behind such a gigantic, empty hole?

It is bittersweet when I physically see the energetic imprint she left behind in her favorite places, like on the couch and by the kitchen table. I automatically go to pick her up but she’s not there. Is she a ghost, already coming back to haunt us? No, it’s just some energy that’s left behind. Knowing Mitzie, she will be back to visit in her own time, in her own way.

Blonde Moments

Blonde Moments

I have given myself a couple of days to fully grieve Mitzie, using the crash and cry as well as the tears and tea methods that work so well for me. I was planning on beginning to return to a regular schedule yesterday, easing into it by doing some audio editing which I dearly love and which always relaxes me.  I simply could not do it.  I was ‘floatey’, I couldn’t focus or think. I was spaced out. Actually, the best way to describe what I was feeling (with sincere apologies to all blondes I know): I was having a continuous blonde moment.

I have experienced grief many times in my life – not only with my own animal family, but with my animal and human clients as well. I have learned that grief shows up in its own way, in its own time, irregardless of what I might have scheduled as ‘grieving time’ on my calendar..

It is important to remember that grief doesn’t always show up wearing tears and sadness.

Grief has shown up for me as having wild fits of giggles at inappropriate times, and as it did yesterday, it showed up as a continuous stream of blonde moments. Grief will not be denied, but will come forward in some way, shape or form. Our culture and society denies death, dying and grief of humans, let alone our animal family. It is to our own well-being that we accept grief and let it work it’s healing energies on us. As difficult as that can be.

When my dog Teddy transitioned, I wrote:

When we experience a death of a beloved one, our grief is a way to help us integrate that death into our lives.  We do not forget the loved one, but we learn to live a new life without the loved one.

Our grief is also a way to honor the loved one and their passing.  We honor all momentous occasions in life, and death is no different.  As we honor the loved one, we begin to remember their true self, their true essence.  This brings emotional and spiritual healing to us.

The other day as I was contemplating Teddy’s death, this thought came to me: With Teddy gone, I keep seeing spirals, reminding me of the wheel of life.  My critters and I continue to move in this way we always have, Teddy is moving on the wheel of life in a different place.  We are still all on the wheel of life.

That has been a great comfort to me.

One of the things I constantly tell my human clients, and which I am constantly reminding myself of now at this time of Mitzie’s transition: “you don’t have to go through this alone”. Reach out to those who understand that your animal IS family, and that you are mourning the death and transition of a family member. By all means, if you need professional help, reach out for that also.

While our animals never leave us, they do leave the physical plane, which leaves an empty place in our hearts and in our lives. Yet this is natural, this is part of the circle of life. This is the way of Life. A special blessing to all of you who have recently experienced the transition of your dearly beloved animal pal(s).


Janet Roper

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  1. Grieving the Loss of Your Pet: November Themes for #PetGrief, a Pet Loss Support Group | Talk2TheAnimals - November 1, 2013

    […] group got its start when earlier this year I lost two of my beloved animal pals, Mitzie and Emmie, in a relatively short period of time. I knew from past experience that I needed […]

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