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Do animals go to heaven? Do they have souls? I’ve been asked to weigh in, in my capacity as an animal chaplain and author of “Good Grief: Finding Peace After Pet Loss” as, together, we ponder these and other spiritual questions on “The Honoring Hour.”

Please join me and host Lynn Allen for “The Honoring Hour” Blog Talk Radio show tomorrow (Wed., April 6) at 10 a.m. Central/11 a.m. Eastern. Click on the link for the show now to get a reminder sent to your email or call in at 347-838-8944.

Here’s a description of this show from its website:

The Honoring Hour is a radio show on blogtalkradio.com respecting the collective One of all beings.  The show is here to foster personal transformation by offering a variety of different teachings, techniques, perspectives and tools that help create change supporting peace on Earth. We recognize the innate perfection of every individual as the embodiment of Love, Peace, Joy and Prosperity.

The Honoring Hour will include interviews and discussions that support Divine Light and Love.  Through offerings of service and wisdom, we seek to assist our listeners on their journey of  contributing to the global awakening of consciousness and the manifestation of Heaven here on Earth.  We honor all paths to God and look for the Truth that we all have in common rather than that which would keep us feeling separate.

We are dedicated to helping people experience and celebrate the power of Universal wisdom actively working in their daily lives. This show was created with the desire to support people in finding and pursuing their passion and life purpose.

Our Mission:

To awaken our Consciousness to Love’s Presence in each moment, person and encounter
To encourage each other in recognizing that true power lies in taking responsibility for the creation and actions of our own lives
To provide a variety of information to support the empowerment of each individual in taking the steps to create the life of their dreams, knowing that this is truly supporting everyone and everything
To live in Faith in all we do and support others to do the same
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I was delighted to learn recently that not only is my book, “Good Grief: Finding Peace After Pet Loss,” being used for the Animal Chaplaincy component of the curriculum at Emerson Theological Institute, but it’s also recommended for the training offered by the American Institute of Health Care Professionals’ Pet-Loss Grief Recovery Specialist Certification Program!

First of all, I’m thrilled to know organizations are beginning to include this subspecialty, then to find my work is instrumental in people’s pursuit of this training pushes me over the moon! I am truly grateful that the ripples of compassion are becoming so far-reaching. Many thanks to the administrators of those two fine programs!—Sid

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Good Grief, a Book that Helps the Healing

Recently I was contacted by author and fellow Pet/Animal Chaplain Sid Korpi. After she found our Pet Chaplains website www.petchaplains.com.au. As a result of this contact I was made aware of a most helpful and heart rendering book she has published “Good Grief” in it she shares not only her experience dealing with tragedy but also a range of other peoples experiences with the effect of Loss and over coming the loneliness. Finding the void being replaced and the experience of many pet owners having contact with their deceased pet from beyond the veil.

This book I highly recommend; not only for those of you that have the misfortune to be coping with the grieving process at present. But for anyone who has a pet or is close to another that has an animal in their lives.

This book is entertaining as well as powerful enough to pass on to anyone the tools and support strategies required to assist others that maybe going though the stress of lifetime separation from a loved animal whether pet or workmate.

****

About Me

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Rev. Steve
I have been interested in all things Spiritual since I had a life changing experience and as a result have been gifted with, among other things , the ability to tell stories and to commit them to paper. “The Awakening” is one such title others are “The Tung Fu Document”, “The Reluctant Millionaire”, “The Apartment” Also I have been given many poems and other ideas that are for the benefit of mankind. I have been a Minister of a Spiritual Church and from time to time fill in as a Guest minister for other Churches that require assistance. I also have started a Pet Chaplains service where people can go and gain some comfort for themselves when having to deal with the grief that is associated with the loss or impending loss of a pet or animal companion.

View my complete profile

There for You: Sid Korpi is a new kind of chaplain

October 1st, 2010 By Meredeth Barzen

Animal chaplain Sid Korpi in her special pet vestments with three of her four Westies and one of her two cats.

At animal events all over the Twin Cities, four little white Westies are one woman’s calling card and true calling: Sid Korpi, animal chaplain, at your service. So what does an animal chaplain do, exactly? “Everyone who calls him or herself an animal chaplain may have an individual scope of services that differs from mine,” Sid says. “For instance, many offer animal communication and healing touch or Reiki. My focus is on the animal lovers themselves for the most part. I help people prepare for, cope with and move on after pet loss. I’m sort of a grief counselor for pet owners.”

And how does one become an animal chaplain? Well, for Sid, it came naturally: ”Animal chaplaincy is a new field of endeavor with no legal licensing requirements to allow people to perform blessings and the like,” she says. “I researched organizations offering so-called ‘certification’ in animal chaplaincy and found, in one instance, the whole requirement was to read five pet-loss books and write reports on them… oh, and pay them $300. I had already read 40 such books in researching and writing my own pet loss book, Good Grief: Finding Peace After Pet Loss, and I’d been volunteering for rescue organizations for years, so I decided I was amply qualified. I’ve also been a nonsectarian minister/wedding officiant (Nonconformist Nuptials) for nearly a decade, so writing and performing meaningful, spirit-based ceremonies and even eulogies comes naturally to me.”

The job comes with its rewards: “To have people say to me, ‘Your book helped me so much when I lost my dog/cat’ means the world to me. I’ve been able to help people get through their pain so they no longer say, ‘I’ll never have another pet. The pain of losing them is just too great.’ Instead, they recognize that if they allow themselves to grieve fully and move on to celebrating their pet’s life, they can honor their pet’s teachings about living in the moment and loving unconditionally by opening their hearts and their homes to a new animal companion when the time is right.”

But, as with anything that centers around the end of a beloved pet’s life, there are hard parts as well: “What I find most challenging is accompanying pet owners to their pet’s euthanasia appointments. Years ago, I’d never have dreamed I’d have the strength to do such a thing. Simultaneously, though, this is one of the most rewarding things, too. I am profoundly honored to be present at this momentous, peaceful transition, even as I cry my eyes out right alongside the owners. I figure the day I can face the death of any animal and witness their humans’ grief without that deeply affecting me is the day I should get out of the business,” she says.

If your pet is “transitioning,” be sure to check out Sid’s book on the subject, Good Grief: Finding Peace After Pet Loss.

Click here to read her guest blog on Sidewalk Dog. And if you know someone who has lost or is in the process of losing a pet, here are a few ideas for locally made gifts to let them know you care:

* Maggie’s Light pet candles from Nelli designs

* Pet reliquary jewelry by Lisa Havelin

* Memorial stones by Marc Clements of Follow the Muse

* End-of-life photo sessions from Sarah Beth Photography, Lucky Mutt Photography and Patrick Nau Photography

Check out the interview I did with the blogger Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen of the Adventurous Writer. She is delving into a number of pet-related jobs and getting insiders’ views on each on her blog. She got to the heart of what being an Animal Chaplain means to me. Hope you enjoy it.

Me in my pet chaplain vestment with my pets Xander, Oliver and Blanche

The following blog entries document the series of emails between Ms. Shelley Strain of Minneapolis and me as she prepared for and went through with facilitating the passing of her beloved 17-year-old orange tabby cat, Rusty. I’m sharing the majority of each of our messages to let you glimpse her process. I believe she was incredibly wise and courageous to prepare in this way so that she could be fully ready for what was to come and learn as much as she could from the experience. I’m grateful she choice to utilize my Animal Chaplaincy Services, as well as honored to have met her and her mom and the awesome Rusty at such a pivotal time in his life and transition.

To her I say: Thank you, Shelley, for so graciously sharing your heart with others (it’s the life coach in you, I’m sure) so they can learn from you how to take care of themselves when they are faced with such a sad time.—Sid

First message on Wed, Aug 4, 2010 at 2:22 PM

Hello Sid,

I have been on several websites today looking for resources, articles, etc. on preparing to euthanize my cat and was getting frustrated until I stumbled upon an article/blog with your name in it. I read about what you do and feel that you are one that can help me.

I’ve had Rusty for 10 years and he has been by my side through divorce, other relationship losses, and everything else that life throws at us! He is a gentle, sweet orange and white tabby, and it’’s killing me to have to let him go.

I’m considering finding a vet to come to my home rather than take him to a cold, sterile environment. I have a psychology degree, run a real estate business, and am a life coach, and can’t seem to “coach” myself through this painful process. I’m a huge animal lover and losing a pet (best friend) has to be at the top of the list of “most painful experiences!”

Can you provide any resources/advice for me. Thanks in advance for your time Sid 🙂

Shelley Strain

MY RESPONSE:

Hi Shelley,

First of all, I am so very sorry for your impending parting from your precious Rusty. I know only too, too well the kind of pain you’re facing now. You are to be applauded for seeking out support beforehand. It is a very wise and courageous thing to do. You are honoring Rusty by acknowledging how very much he means to you in that you know you will be emotionally devastated for a time.

He deserves your tears, so don’t try to stop them up. But that’s only part of it. Along with that devastation, you’ll find small ways to remember and celebrate his life with you. You’ll eventually remember him and smile more often than cry. That is the goal as you take time to heal. You learn to cope with a pet loss, you never completely get over it.

I agree that it is optimal to have a vet come to your home if it is possible. I’ve wanted to do this for my last two Westies, but they chose to need to pass over on the night before Thanksgiving and a Sunday, respectively, both times when no house-call-making vets were available. If you do go this route, make sure the environment is as soothing as peaceful for you both as possible. You may want to light a candle, play a CD of birdsong or music that has meaning to you, etc. Take all the time you need to thank Rusty for all he’s brought you and taught you through his life with you. Let him know how much you’ll miss him, but explain that you’re going to be strong for him so he doesn’t have to stay on your account.

If you have friends or family members who were close to Rusty, invite them to come and say their goodbyes, too. They might be able to stay with you through the actual process, too. Or, you could ask a pastor or animal chaplain (like me) to say a blessing over Rusty when he transitions. Afterward, you can buy an attractive, personalized urn or other display case/marker. See my blog’s Pet Loss Memorial Products link for ideas. (I make no money from any of these, mind you, so I’m not hawking products.) Or, of course, you can scatter his ashes somewhere special or bury him.

If it’s in keeping with your spiritual beliefs, you can ask him to send you clear signs that he is all right when he makes his transition to the Other Side. This could be a visit in a dream or perhaps a sound, a smell, etc. that strongly reminds you of his presence. Believe me, receiving evidence that his spirit lives on and is accessible to you can really speed a broken heart’s healing.

If you need ongoing support, there are websites like <www.chancesspot.org>, support groups you can connect with through the local Animal Humane Society in Golden Valley, grief counselors that specialize in pet loss, or the social work services at the University of Minnesota Veterinary Medical Center at 612-624-9372. I am also available to speak with you if you need it. Just call me at 612-822-0888. I’d be happy to help you create a memorial ceremony, too. There are many helpful suggestions in my book, too, which you can buy or simply request from your local library.

I hope some of this has been helpful. Be sure to take care of YOU as you work through this heartache. Try to take a day or two, minimum, off from work or plan for this to occur before the weekend so you can curl up and cry as long as you need to without prying eyes. Once enough time has passed and enough healing has occurred, perhaps you can open both your heart and home to another animal in need of rescue. Ask him nicely and Rusty just might introduce the two of you in the future.

I also welcome you to write a tribute to Rusty and attach a jpeg photo of him to be added to the Pet Passings section on my blog. My book has several suggestions for means of memorializing your cat, and you can simply request it from your local library if you don’t wish to purchase a copy. (However, if you do order one from my site, I can inscribe it in loving memory of Rusty; and $2 will go to support a local no-kill animal shelter.)

You will both be in my thoughts and prayers. Please do keep in touch whenever you need more support.

Blessed be,
Sid

SHELLEY’S TURN:

Sid,

I can’t thank you enough for this email. It was exactly what I needed. I’m on my way to Barnes & Noble to purchase your book, which they have in stock (yah!).

I will most definitely take advantage of the resources you suggest, and will be spending the day petting Rusty and reading your book.

I may need to call you at some point. I live [near you, so] perhaps I can steal a few minutes of your time in person.

Much gratitude for you, the work you do, and your wise counsel.

Shelley Strain


SHELLEY WRITES AGAIN:

Good morning Sid,

Wow, I’m reading your book and it’s helping me tremendously. It’s so easy to get caught up in the memories and the sadness of letting go of Rusty, and lose clarity about the process of life, and learning to let go and not be “attached.” I loved your last sentence about “hope you find this process rich and rewarding.” I DO want this process to be rich and rewarding. I’m working desperately to balance the grieving and decision making, with having clarity about the amazing process of life. I’ve always had a fear of death, so I believe that fear is making this process harder. Also, I have been single for a while and live alone, and Rusty has been my best friend and companion who has always been there. So hard to fathom my dear, furry kitty disappearing…

It’s funny because I teach detachment to my clients in terms of not “clinging” to things that are out of one’s control. I want to practice this with myself. In your book, in part six, you provide “other spiritual perspectives” which I LOVED as it gave me some new perspectives for this process. I especially liked the Zen Buddhist perspective: “Impermanence is a natural law or truth of the Universe. Animals accept these changes. Suffering comes through attachment. Bear witness to feelings without being overwhelmed….in holding on to the feelings of sadness, we trap both them and ourselves.” That is a great reminder for me to “let go.” While painful and sad, it’s all OK.

Sid, I don’t know you but feel a strong connection and would love it if you have ANY time tomorrow or this weekend to visit over the phone. I truly want this experience of letting Rusty go to be a good one. I have to watch him and decide when to have the vet come to my home and send him to kitty heaven. I keep going back and forth as I watch him from minute to minute. He seems fine; then I’m not sure. Then he’s eating and drinking water out of the faucet; then he seems distant. I’m really confused. A discussion with you may help. While I have MANY great friends who are loving and supportive, I feel I must connect with someone who, I feel, can guide me through this process.

I NEVER write emails this long and am NOT a rambler but feel I need to get this out to you, someone who can completely identify with what I’m going through. Thanks for listening and reading and let me know if you have any time today, tomorrow or this weekend to chat.

With MUCH gratitude,

Shelley

ME AGAIN:

Hi Shelley,

I’m thrilled you are finding nuggets of truth in my book that resonate with you at this point in your grief journey! That’s so very fulfilling of my purpose in writing it. You mention having a fear of death, so I’d urge you to read the Afterlife Connections: Humans section if you haven’t already done so. I find those stories very hope-giving, and they’re one step back from the rawness of pet loss, so they’re easier to take when things are particularly intense regarding your Rusty.

[OMITTING BORING STUFF ABOUT MY SCHEDULE HERE.]

Wishing you strength and courage to be selfless for your dear furry friend,
Sid

SHELLEY:

Hi Sid,

I’m really fighting the battle today; very emotional. I have an appointment [for work] at 12:00 so need to stay strong until afterward. The emotional roller coaster ride is quite a fascinating phenomenon.

If you are available Monday around 1:15/1:30 I would LOVE to have you there for moral support. I would, of course, pay you for your time as this is a onetime deal and I want it to be as peaceful for Rusty, and ideally, also for me (although I know how hard Monday will be). Having someone there who has more experience with this, and who has the wisdom and spiritual beliefs you have, would probably make this a much richer experience.

Let me know what you think. If you cannot make it, I truly understand and simply appreciate your offer.

Shelley

ME AGAIN:

Hi Shelley,

I’d be glad to join you and Rusty on Monday at 1:15 p.m. Just tell me where to be and how to get there. Is there anything you need me to bring along, or will myself do?

Hang in there. This part can be the worst, I think. Once it’s over, it all still hurts but your healing can at least begin.

Blessed be,
Sid

SHELLEY’S RESPONSE:

Sid,

I’m SOOOO happy you are going to be here for Rusty’s transition! It’s so strange that we have not met in person yet; however, I’m in great need of your support through this!

Rusty and I have been hanging out today. Sat in the back yard on a bench; sat on the front steps; laid in the cool air-conditioned house. Gave him a few licks of his favorite soy yogurt. Just trying to spoil him as much as possible. I can’t help but feel weird to be doing this when he’s still getting around and eating and drinking. I realize, however, this is a better time, as I want his last few days/hours to be as comfortable as possible. That might not be the case if I wait another week.

I can’t thank you enough. Please don’t be alarmed if I’m sobbing my eyes out when you get here. This is a traumatic experience for me. I’m trying so hard to coach myself, and to make this a rich and rewarding experience like you recommended. Thanks for that advice…

Shelley S

MY RESPONSE:

I’ll be there, bawling my eyes out, too. If you’d asked me even a year ago to voluntarily attend a pet’s euthanasia, I’d have sent you packing. I never dreamed writing this book would take me down this path and that I’d put myself in such a painful position on purpose. I sometimes think I’m far too big a mushball for this vocation, but then again, the day I’m not moved to tears is the day I should walk away from animal chaplaincy altogether.

I do see it as an honor and a privilege to be there for you and Rusty on this occasion.

See you Monday.
Sid

[NOTE: BEFORE HE DIED, I HAD SPECIFICALLY ASKED RUSTY TO SEND HIS MOM A SIGN THAT HE WAS AROUND AND DOING FINE ONCE HE’D PASSED!]

THE DAY AFTER, FROM SHELLEY:

Sid,

Thank you so much for being with Rusty and me yesterday for his transition. It meant a great deal to me, and Rusty I know. Last night, my boyfriend and I went to get a smoothie and then I wanted to get a funny movie to relieve some of the grief. We laughed a bit, but I got tired soon and went to bed. I was lying in bed (you know when things settle down and your faced with the deafening silence in the house), and tears rolled down my face and I cried a little while missing and thinking about Rusty.

This morning, my boyfriend left early, and as soon as he left and I locked the door behind him I started sobbing again, uncontrollably. I knew this was coming. I actually cried out, telling Rusty how much I missed him and just kept repeating it. Then, the calm came again, and I could breathe and think. Such an emotional roller coaster.

You’ll like this next part…

I was sitting in the kitchen just getting myself pulled together and decided to wash my sheets. I took them into the basement and while standing at the washer I saw, out of the corner of my eye, something run along the basement wall. I quick turned to look and saw a little black mouse. I’ve lived there 3 years and NEVER saw a mouse in the basement. I immediately started wondering about this.

Next, the little mouse came around the front of the washer toward me. I kind of felt freaked out but stayed with it. I went and got a little box to catch him and he ran in, but after I put the cover on, he came out a little hole in the box! Dang.

Next, I went to the other end of the basement to my storage closet to get a different box and wouldn’t you know it, the mouse followed me! What? Shouldn’t mice be scared and run the other way? Anyway, I got him in the box and ran upstairs to release him in the yard. He ran out then ran back in and sniffed around. Then ran willy-nilly around the yard and started heading for the house again. He finally ran under the deck and was gone. My mind was racing about this sighting…

Then, I got dressed and decided to go into the office to get some work done (i.e., distract myself). I got my purse and went out the door and locked it. I walked down the steps and onto the sidewalk and right in the middle of the sidewalk where my next step was the mouse again! Or at least “a” mouse. What are the odds that “the” mouse or “a” mouse would be sitting right there? He wouldn’t move either. I bumped him, and he was alive but wouldn’t budge. I scooped him up with a stick and my book and put him on the grass. I just couldn’t believe I ran into the mouse twice, or saw 2 mice in one day, after never seeing them before. What do you think?

OK, sorry for the novel but knew you could appreciate this experience. I will admit, I did say out loud, “Rusty? Are you sending me signs?”

Sid, I can’t thank you enough again, for your time and compassion. You are a wonderfully loving and compassionate person, and from one fellow animal lover to another, thank you for loving our fur babies who give us such joy, love, laughs, but pain, too. You are a kindred spirit indeed.

Hugs,

Shelley

HERE’S MY SLIGHTLY ENTHUSIASTIC RESPONSE: 

OH MY GOD, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE RUSTY AND THE WAY THE UNIVERSE WORKS!!!!!!!!

Yes, your brilliant, loving, tremendously smart and sassy cat sent you the mouse as a messenger!!!! No, mice do NOT approach humans. No, mice do NOT repeatedly run back into your house when you’ve set them free. What better messenger from a cat who is giving you permission (and now a need) to get another cat someday!!!!!!

Rusty, you rock!!!!! And thank you, brave little mouse!

I’m jumping up and down for joy!!!!!

Listen, girlie girl, if you overthink and try to talk yourself out of accepting this enormous GIFT from Rusty, I’ll have to take you over my knee!

Would it be all right with you if I excerpt any of your letters to me and this story in my blog? This is so thrilling, I can hardly stand it!!! Your story is going to go in some of my talks, too. (No names, of course.)

I am sorry for your waves of pain and floods of tears, but because you set things up in the smartest way possible and knew to expect these reactions, you’ll come through like a trooper—stronger, wiser and more accepting of life and death as a result. I’m very proud of you!

Sid

Shelley and her beloved Rusty

Rusty

Thankfully, there are more and more options for people who seek to memorialize and honor their pet’s passing. Pet crematories, pet funeral homes, and Animal Chaplaincy Services such as those I offer, as well as innumerable pet memorial products (see that link on this blog) exist to help people give a fitting end to their animal companion’s life. However, there is the not-fun-to-think-about topic of what to do with your pet’s physical body when he or she dies. This article should help. —Sid

Burying a Cat or Dog: What You Need to Know

Posted by pet editor on August 4, 2010 · Leave a Comment

It’s the last labor of love you’ll perform for your furry friend: making arrangements for pet burial or cat or dog cremation. Those final decisions are probably something you’d rather not think about, but somebody has to make sure your pet rests in peace—and within legal limits.

<!–FOR PETS IN GENERAL–>

Dealing with Pet Loss: The Vet is the Undertaker

You can count on your veterinarian to dispose of the body if you have your animal euthanized or if the pet dies at the veterinarian’s office.

If you’re considering pet cremation, with ashes to spread in a beloved area, ask your veterinarian for a referral.

If you’d prefer to bury your animal in your yard, let the veterinarian know as you check in for your last visit.

What to Do about Pet Disposal When an Animal Dies at Home

What do you do if your pet dies at home or is killed by a car and you don’t want to deal with the remains? In a city or large town, call your local Dead Animal Disposal Unit.  Such officials will usually come and take the body for disposal. Who pays depends on city or county policy, but don’t be shy about asking whether you’ll incur any charges.

In a small town or rural area, find out whether similar services are available by calling the local Humane Society, sheriff’s office, or police department. Folks there should know or should be able to put you in touch with someone who does.

If you’re more comfortable bringing your dead animal to the vet’s office than having strangers cart off your pet, call and see whether your vet is willing to take care of the body. Most will be. Do this within a few hours of a pet’s death, as decomposition begins quickly.

Making a Pet Grave: Call Before You Dig

If you’re burying anything larger than a guinea pig, find out legal restrictions on burying animals in your yard by calling the county or city Dead Animal Disposal Unit. Most large towns and cities ban the practice because they’re worried about runoff water pollution, but you can sometimes plead for an exception to be made.

Animal burial is usually permitted in rural areas and small towns, but double-check with authorities. If you can’t find a number for the Dead Animal Disposal Unit in the town or county, call the local sheriff’s office or police department, the county health department, or the town hall to find out whom to ask.

Burial Details for a Cat or Dog Memorial

When you prepare to bury your pet, dig a hole deep enough to have at least one to three feet of dirt on top of the body. (Use the higher measure if you live in a wet climate or have light or sandy soil that washes away easily in rain.) That keeps marauding animals from disturbing the body, discourages curious kids from digging up the remains, and keeps the body from washing away in heavy storms.

It’s a good idea to keep all animal graves at least 250 feet from natural water sources such as springs and wells.

After the Pet Funeral, Let There Be New Life

Since you have the ground tilled anyway, consider planting some daffodil bulbs, a flowering bush, rosemary (to symbolize remembrance), or anything else that will commemorate your pet and give you a reason to come outside and think about the animal every now and then.

When the Cold, Cold Ground Is Too Cold

Sometimes the ground is too firmly frozen to allow burial of even the tiniest gerbil. In this case, you have two options: (1) Ask your veterinarian, the city, or the county to dispose of the body, or (2) put the body “on ice” until the ground thaws. If you choose the latter, “bury” a tiny animal in a clay or peat pot (do not use plastic) of indoor potting soil, wrap the pot in a plastic bag, and store the whole thing in a shed, unheated garage, crawl space, or unused tree house until you can “transplant” the body. After the soil thaws, take off the bag and bury the animal, pot and all. The whole thing will eventually become part of the soil. Don’t forget to take care of this as soon as the weather warms up. (Mark a reminder on your calendar!)

For a Bigger Animal, It’s a Bigger Deal

When the animal is larger than a toy breed or cat, it’s best to let the authorities take care of disposal, if that’s an option. But if you’re attached to the idea of burying your pet under his favorite tree out back and he dies in the middle of January, you can wrap the body in four layers of plastic leaf bags and place it in one of those giant handle-lock plastic garbage cans (available at home supply and discount stores). Transplant the body the second the ground can be worked, engaging a backhoe operator (look in the classified ads of your local newspaper under a heading such as “Livestock and Farm”) to dig up the area if necessary. Never proceed without first getting the approval of your city’s or county’s Dead Animal Disposal Unit or, in a small town, the local sheriff’s office or county health department.

Alternatively, check to see whether your vet might have a freezer storage area that you could use or rent until the ground thaws.

I wanted to share a couple of photos of the beautiful vestment Rosalyn at Pets-R-Loved embroidery made for me from a pattern I got online. I plan to wear it to perform my Animal Chaplaincy Services and/or group animal blessings. I chose to use a Westie and Maine Coon cat as symbols of our domestic animal companions for obvious reasons! —Sid

From left, Keely, Blanche, Oliver and Xander (the kitty)

Vestment created by Pets-R-Loved

Exciting news…for me anyway. I am in the process of having official vestments made for my use during animal blessings. Rosalyn of Pets-R-Loved embroidery products is making it for me. Look for more on this as the project is completed. Everything is a step toward organizing a World Animal Day Blessing Event in early October.

The vestment scarf will featured an embroidered Westie and cat figure, along with paw prints. I will happily bless every kind of animal, but to include every species would clutter the design.

I went to the World Animal Day site and was totally floored by the hundreds of participating organizations from the world over! It really gives my heart a boost to know Americans are not the only people out there devoted to celebrating the human-animal bond. I am thinking of organizing an animal blessing event in Minneapolis this year. It will no doubt be very small scale, but it will be a start. More on this later…or, if someone reading this already knows of an organized event I can volunteer to speak at/perform a group blessing—I am an animal chaplain after all—in my area (or elsewhere if my travel expenses can be covered), I’d love to avoid reinventing the (hamster) wheel. 🙂

You can contact me directly at <goodgriefpetloss@gmail.com> with ideas and/or suggestions.

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