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Finding Support When You're Grieving

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Finding Support When You're Grieving

Help and compassion is as close as a friend, your vet, and—if you need additional support—the organizations listed on the Internet.

Words alone can never truly express the grief you feel when a cherished companion passes away. This is a time of emptiness, sorrow, and questions. It's also a time when you need to reach out and find someone to listen, to give sage advice, to offer support and compassion.

That's why reading articles about grief and loss are seldom enough to help some people find their way through this period. It takes human interaction and a level of understanding that you can't get from an article—no matter how insightful and well written.

Fortunately, help is probably closer than you think, so don't be afraid to reach out and find it.

Where to find help

There are two nearby sources of help and compassion to turn to when you're grieving the loss of a beloved dog: your vet and your friends. Your vet is a trained professional and he or she may have a list of local support groups or grief hotlines. And your friends can be a fountain of compassion—after all, they knew your wonderful canine companion and they considered your pet a part of their extended family.

In addition to those two immediate sources, you can easily find a wide variety of support organizations on the Internet. A good number of these groups were formed by dog lovers who, like you, lost a beloved pet. Some are professional organizations run by veterinarians and trained grief counselors. Others are services that provide ideas and inspiration. You'll also find groups that have a spiritual component or a religious outlook.

Here are a few of the many resources you'll find on the Internet:

The Maryland-based Animal Love and Loss Network (www.alln.org) "seeks to bring together those who are mourning the injury, illness or loss of an animal companion. We also represent and support those who are working to end the exploitation and suffering of all animals."

Animals in Our Hearts (www.animalsinourhearts.com) states their point of view this way: "Animals and their love stay in our souls, once we've let them in. And we are better for it, more complete, more whole, more compassionate, and often transformed."

The Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement (aplb.org) is staffed with professionally trained volunteers in pet bereavement counseling.

If you need someone to speak to about your loss, the Pet Loss Web site provides a long list of hotlines at www.petloss.com/phones.htm. They also feature a comprehensive list of organizations and bereavement professionals at www.pet-loss.net/links.shtml.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg. So, as you can see, there is no need to go it alone. Help and compassion is as close as a friend, your vet, and—if you need additional support—the organizations listed on the Internet.

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