Pets bring emotional benefits, even from the grave

By on January 5, 2015

Psychology Today, perhaps the most popular magazine available on the human mind, recently told a story detailing the effects animals can have during life, but also after their passing. The article, which can be seen here, details research about the positive impacts that animals have on people and indicates that pets can bring emotional benefits even after they are gone.

We are lucky to have a Pet Partner, Cherie Fry of Paws to Angels Pet Loss Center, who is steeped in this notion and we asked her to comment on the benefits that pets have during and after the time with us. Here’s what she shared:

“Pets play an important role in our lives; they bring companionship and love to a home creating a strong emotional bond with their owners. Having a pet in our lives means, yes, someday we will have to walk that grief journey, but for me even though the grief can get overwhelming at times it’s a walk I am proud to take. I wouldn’t trade the tears for any moment in my pets life. The joy and the unconditional love that they bring to my life are worth every tear.  In fact, my life’s work is because of two very special fur babies Mollie and Chadz. They are the inspiration behind Paws To Angels and through their memory I walk families through their darkest hours and help them to honor the lives they shared with their pets.

The important thing is that we don’t try to act like they weren’t a part of our lives or that they aren’t still so important to us. The connection that you have with your pet you truly love never goes away. There are no short cuts for healing soul wounds. We know now that the goal of mourning is not to forget, but to remember in ways that honor our deceased and our relationship with them. Although the relationship changes when our pets are no longer present, the love never goes away. Tears of sorrow and tears of joy come from the same place  ‘in the heart.’

Many people have heard me speak about the three days in a pets parents life that will change their life forever and when that third day arrives, it is a day we dread, a day of shock and grief and a day of wondering ‘how will I ever get through this?’ Somehow you do. But there is a fourth day in a pet parents life I’d like to quote Martin Scot Kosins ‘But there will be, I assure you, a fourth day when–along with the memory of your pet–and piercing through the heaviness in your heart–there will come a realization that belongs only to you. It will be as unique and strong as our relationship with each animal we have loved, and lost. This realization takes the form of a Living Love–like the heavenly scent of a rose that remains after the petals have wilted, this Love will remain and grow–and be there for us to remember. It is a love we have earned. It is the legacy our pets leave us when they go. And it is a gift we may keep with us as long as we live. It is a Love which is ours alone. And until we ourselves leave, perhaps to join our Beloved Pets–it is a Love we will always possess.’ (The first day is the day you get your pet, the second is the day you realize your pet will someday be gone).                   

The lessons that our pets teach us from beyond the grave and the love they leave in our hearts stays with us forever, but the memories they leave behind are their most precious gifts of all.

After all, ‘they were the best pet ever.’

Cherie Fry is a Certified Pet Loss Professional. Paws To Angels Pet Loss Center is located on the north side of Dodge at 118th Street. Her business helps pet owners through the death of their animals, providing counseling, cremation services, support groups and more.

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