MAGGIE: the dog who changed my life

MAGGIE: the dog who changed my life
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Monday, April 4, 2011

Losing Your Pet Redefines You: Finding Yourselves and Your Lives Again

Posted By Dawn Kairns, Author of MAGGIE: the dog who changed my life

The Queen ... Ms. Cinnamon
This is a continuation of my April 1, 2011 post, Losing Your Pet: Grief Responses That May Surprise You, where I adapted information from a Hospice support group I attended to apply it to the intense grief most of us feel when we lose a beloved pet.

You go, girl -- in camper, just weeks before Cinnamon passed
Losing your pet is a life-changing event. Please refer to my earlier post to learn more about the vast range of grief responses  that may experience in the early stages of grieving. Thankfully, healing does begin in time, and we are eventually ready to move forward with our lives; though we never forget our beloved pet who has passed. Although I lost Cinnamon in August, 2010, I still "see" her in so many places, still feel her presence often, still cry at times. We never, ever forget. But we can also honor our loved pets in the choices we make as we move on in our lives ...

Positive things to lead you in the direction of appreciating life again:
  • focus on the people who love you and need your love
  • try not to please everyone
  • notice your good and peaceful moments
  • bring comfort or joy to someone elses' life. Helping homeless animals really helped me heal after my dog, Maggie died
  • set a new goal that interest you
  • continue to remember your beloved pet in your own special ways
  • live each day with the awareness of all that your beloved pet (and people too) has given you to enrich your life
Redefining Yourself, Roles and Relationships

When someone or an animal loves you, they are a mirror for you, reflecting back to you who you are. When a loved one or beloved animal dies, the mirror is broken and your self image may be shattered. your role changes as you have lost a sense of who you are in the world. You may find yourself wondering "who am I?"

One task of grieving is to create a new self-image and look for new ways of being in the world. Changing your roles, relationships, and patterns takes time so be patient with yourself as you find the strength and resources within yourself and in relationships with other animals (when the time is right). You will always be influenced by the effect of the relationship that you had with your lost pet.

My thanks to these animals who have touched and inspired me and helped me move through loss:

My Maddie

Marky, who we rescued in SouthTexas

"Flash"  -- a very special street dog in Chile

Name unknown, but he melted my heart   

In Chile on a farm -- sent by Cinnamon so I could cuddle her and hear a purr again.


Ingrid King said...

This is beautiful. I think there's no better way to honor the memory of our lost loved ones than to make some positive changes in our lives.

Dawn Kairns, Author of "MAGGIE" said...

Thank you, Ingrid. And when it isn't easy to make those positive changes, sometimes animals find their way to us, even if only for a few moments, to help us along the path...