Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Goodbye is Never Easy

Although we are a no-kill shelter here at the St. Tammany Humane Society, it does not mean that we are ‘sheltered’ from the loss of beloved pets and on the rare occasions, elderly shelter animals or those with a  terminal illness.  

Just recently Dr. Johnston experienced the loss of her Pinni, a 12 year old Greyhound rescue with a penny colored coat and heart of gold.  Beautiful souls like Pinni enter our lives, reveal themselves in many ways that are easier to understand and welcome than members of our own species, and become a part of our family in a uniquely special way.  Dog, cats, horses, mules (what amazing creatures!), bunnies, and so many other pets are able to give humans what we are constantly seeking in life:  unconditional love.  Why is this so special?  Perhaps because so many of us are unable to give it ourselves.  But whatever the mystical or philosophical reasons behind the special bond we share with our pets, one thing is clear:  That bond exists, and the love shared between pet and owner should never be dismissed as anything other than what it ultimately allows for – a partnership built on love, trust, and companionship (often times the strongest relationship that people have nurtured in their lifetime).  

This is why……Goodbye Is Never Easy.  According to Pastor Bonnie Poirier, “Grieving the loss of a pet is a normal response and a very individual one.  One important difference between pet loss and human loss is that pet loss is often not appreciated. Friends and family may ask ‘What’s the big deal? It’s just a pet!’ There is also the assumption by many that pet loss shouldn’t hurt as much as human loss, because humans are supposedly more important than pets.”

The truth is that all losses, animal or human, can plunge you into despair and may signal the beginning of a profound spiritual-emotional journey. Like grief for humans, grief for animal companions can be dealt with over time and in stages.  At the St. Tammany Humane Society, we will provide for you a safe and natural environment to share and heal as you receive comfort and support.  Please join us the first Saturday of each month at 9am at the shelter for “Goodbye is Never Easy,” a pet loss grief gathering held by Carol Bonnie Poirier of Peaceful Planet Pets (http://www.peacefulplanetpets.com/): 

Carol Bonnie Poirier, I go by Bonnie - my grandmother's nickname. I was born in 1960 and raised in New Orleans. I graduated from the University of New Orleans with Bachelor of Arts and St. John's University with Master of Science. I was ordained as a minister with the Congregational Church in June 1994. I am a member of the Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement and the Association for Professional Humane Educators. With my pet ministry, I focus on pet loss support as well as pet memorials, pet blessings, labyrinth walks and nature walks. I have also written a working pet loss journal called "Goodbye Is Never Easy."

If you (or someone who know) has experienced the loss of a pet, and could benefit from sharing your loss and experience with others who are like minded in both their love of a lost pet and the grief which follows, please consider joining us and Bonnie for “Goodbye is Never Easy” (again, it is on the first Saturday of each month at 9 a.m. at STHS).  This time is free - all that is asked is that you call or email jessica@sthumane.org  to hold your seat.