As a “fur-mom,” I never realised how deeply the grief of losing our beloved “fur-baby” would penetrate my heart, until I began the grieving journey.

When you don’t have human children, your pet becomes your “fur-baby”. They fill a place in your heart you never imagined possible and become a beloved member of the family, teaching us about how to love unconditionally. They encourage us to look at the world without bias, judgement or fear.

When our sweet dog, Maya died recently, I didn’t feel ready to bring another one into the house. But as I begun to grieve, I was surprised when just 3 weeks later, Honey – the Shar Pei mix – showed up. As an energetic being, I knew that Maya had a paw in picking out another “fur-baby” for us.

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Our fur-baby, Maya.

Opening Your Heart to Love Again.

For me, bonding with Honey wasn’t instant. I was hesitant, and definitely not feeling ready to move one from Maya. My heart just wasn’t ready to open up to another companion. While I was hesitant, we agreed to take her anyway, where she would begin life in her forever home.

That first week was so incredibly challenging for me. The intense wave of grief had taken hold and I was missing our sweet girl Maya so very much. It was such a challenge to start creating a bond with Honey.

I found myself in comparison mode as Maya had certainly set the bar high. Not only that, but Honey, being a Shar Pei mix, had the same mannerisms as Maya. At times, I even found myself calling her Maya instead of Honey. By the end of the first week, I felt my heart opening. I discovered that it was possible to love her just as much as Maya. Whether it’s with the human or animal form, allowing love back in to one’s heart happens at the most unexpected moment.

I had a very honest conversation with a friend of mine recently, and she pointed out, “just allow the energy to be”. Allow yourself to feel those feelings without judgement or reservation.

I found myself asking, “what else is possible?”. If I could just sit with my feelings during this journey, and bring Honey on the journey with me, what would that feel like? I came to realise that she too is also grieving a loss – a loss of her previous home and family.

“Grieving is a highly individual experience. Some people experience grief following the loss of a pet feeling different feelings such as denial, anger, guilt, depression, and eventually acceptance and resolution. Others find their grief is more cyclical, coming in waves or a series of highs and lows…” Coping with Losing a Pet.

5 Reminders When Grieving the Loss of a Pet:
  1. Your grief journey is uniquely your own and yours alone.
  2. Allow your grief energy to flow naturally as it comes, without judgement or feeling rushed. Sit with whatever it is you are feeling in that moment and remember, it is perfectly okay to feel this way.
  3. You are exactly where you are meant to be on this grief journey. Allow it to be just that – a journey. Processing grief is not a destination or coming to a completion, but rather your own unique journey.
  4. If you are willing, take someone with you on the journey. Whether that be human in form or another 4 legged friend. Having that comfort and support can often contribute to the healing process.
  5. Allow yourself to grieve for as long as you need. No matter what anyone says, there is no timeline for grieving. Take each moment day by day, as it comes and you will begin to feel full of life once again – living in the present moment of each day.

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About Carmen.

Carmen Shields is an Intuitive, Certified Grief Reiki® Healing Practitioner, owner of Torch Reiki Energy Healing, LLC and author of the book, ‘Just Create! Creating Through the Grief Wilderness’.

After her deep experiences with grief, Carmen started working with Reiki in August of 2017. Since then she has a passion for sharing her knowledge of Reiki for Grief, and a love for healing through the use of Reiki Energy work. Carmen shows people how they can begin to start restoring their body to its natural balance from within by the use of Reiki energy.

You can read more about Carmen’s work on her website, over on her Facebook and Instagram pages.