What to do in case of pet grief – Part 2

Well, here we are, three months later…the worst thing a blogger can do is leave an unreasonable amount of time between posts, so if you are still with me, I am truly grateful and honored.

The original Angel of Grief in Rome.

The original Angel of Grief in Rome. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You can get up to speed by reading my last post, “What to do in case of pet grief – Part 1.”

As suggested by one of dear Rumpydog’s followers, I located a grief counselor, named Crystal Bailey. She was not a pet grief counselor but a counselor re the death of humans and was connected to Bailey’s Funeral and Cremation Care in Yorkton, Saskatchewan. Actually, she had been recommended to me by one of the provincial health therapists.

I was really nervous at our first Skype meeting — there sat a rather pretty, rather youngish (to me, anyhow) woman, with a gentle voice, who looked just as ill-at-ease as I felt. That’s when I started relaxing. So she wasn’t some tiger who was going to pounce on me and preach at me. I didn’t think she was going to judge me either.

Crystal Bailey, Grief Therapist and Celebrant (Photo credit via Bailey's Funeral )

Crystal Bailey, Grief Therapist and Celebrant (Photo credit via Bailey’s Funeral and Cremation Care, Yorkton)

We introduced ourselves, and I explained the situation.  “Are you okay with the fact that the deceased is a dog (just Oreo had passed on back then) and not a person?” I asked. It seemed a little unusual when I found out she was the grief counselor at Bailey’s. The service was no charge and provided primarily as a courtesy to aid Bailey’s clients.

“I’ve never done it before–that is, counsel someone because of a deceased animal–but grief is grief. We can try it and see,” she answered with a kindly smile. I couldn’t help smiling back.

“Where do I start?” I asked.  We only had an hour and I didn’t want to waste her time, but the butterflies were getting restless again.

“I think we already started,” she said. “Why don’t you tell me a bit about yourself.”

That seemed like a pretty good idea. Like most people, I enjoy talking about myself. After an hour of describing how close Oreo and I were and the things we did together and how cute he had been, I realized I had hardly talked about myself at all.

Oreo, putting his paw down on Ling Ling (Photo credit: Sandra Kirchman)

Oreo, putting his paw down on Ling Ling (Photo credit: Sandra Kirchman)

I apologized for straying and tried to bring the conversation back on track. She smiled and told me to talk about whatever I wanted to, that I seemed to be dealing with the healing very well on my own. That heartened me, and pretty soon I was babbling away a mile a minute about how Oreo was such a gentle being but could put his paw down with “the girls” when he thought it necessary. Most of the time he let Ling Ling be top dog because he loved her, but he wouldn’t let her get away with EVERYthing, especially not a brand-new chew stick.

Time was up.

I was amazed at how quickly it had gone. And I still hadn’t talked a whole lot about me but did talk a whole lot about the three dogs and especially Oreo. It was the first time since Oreo had passed that I had been able to talk about him so extensively, and I told Crystal so.

“That’s good,” she said, “but you have to remember to take care of yourself.”

I paused, then nodded thoughtfully.

“If you want to, we’ll continue this next week, same time,” Crystal said. “In the meantime, you might want to practice being kind to yourself and taking care of yourself.  There’s not too much anyone can do about preventing someone’s death, but we can choose how we deal with it.  You could start thinking about how you want to deal with Oreo’s passing, and we’ll talk about it next time.  Also, why don’t you write a letter to Oreo telling him all the things you didn’t have a chance to say when he was here?”

That was a new thought for me.  Actually the whole thing was a new thought for me.  Crystal sat there smiling, and I waved until the screen went blank, and I was alone, except for Ling Ling snoring in her basket behind my desk.

We’ll continue Part 3 next week (or as soon as I can get to it). If I can, I will also fill you in on what has happened this last three months.  See you then!

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    Copyright © 2015 by
    Sandra Bell Kirchman.
    All rights reserved.
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