Pet Loss: Significant and Profound Loss or Much Ado About Nothing?

Montage of pets loss that we grieve for.
Montage of pets loss that we grieve for.

For those who have deeply loved and lost their animal companions, the answer is obvious and yet disturbing. There are still far too many people in our culture who minimize and trivialize the loss of a pet. They tell the grieving friend, colleague or family member, “What’s wrong with you? Get over it. It was only a dog (or cat, bird, horse, etc.) Get yourself a new one! After all, it’s been a month already. You shouldn’t be so torn up over this.”

Having been a grief counselor and a pet loss support group facilitator for many years, I have encountered a wide range of stories from people who have suffered cruel and insensitive statements from those around them, to others who receive wonderful support and unconditional love from their family and friends after the death or disappearance of a beloved animal.

The Grieving Process for an Animal or Human Companion

The truth is that grieving an animal companion or grieving the loss of a human companion can feel devastating emotionally and encompasses all kinds of feelings: sorrow, depression, anger, confusion, physical pain, guilt and a profound bittersweet love.

If you add on the stress of dealing with an unsupportive work, home or social environment that makes you feel guilty or like you’re an emotional misfit, the grief process becomes more difficult and complicated.

Pets Are Spiritual Beings, Too

Silhouette of dog and cat

Animals, like humans, are spiritual beings having an earth-experience. Many people in my pet loss group recognize these spiritual beings as their teachers and healers. Mourning their physical absence in our lives is not only normal, but honours their incredible gifts to us. As most of us know, the grief process has no timetable and is unique to each situation and relationship. As a spiritual experience, it offers the opportunity for positive transformation of self and of giving more meaning and purpose to our lives.

How do you get over losing a pet? Healing Suggestions

* Allow yourself to feel all your feelings. It is a sign of strength, not weakness, to feel deeply. Doing breathing exercises can relax you, and allow your feelings to move more freely. Writing a letter to your pet can ease the pain in your heart.

* Stay connected to others who care about you and understand, as best they can, your attachment. Be receptive to receiving their kindness and help with daily activities, such as shopping or laundry.

* Attend a pet loss support group to help you get through the initial difficult mourning period.

* Be kind to yourself and allow yourself all the time you need to grieve. Nurture your spirit, mind, body and heart with activities, books, movies and friends that uplift and soothe your soul.

* Do your best to stay healthy, through proper nutrition, rest and exercise. This is difficult to do; imagine what your pet would want you to do.

* Honor your animal companion through a memorial service, a tree-planting, community service or helping a friend.

* Plan activities for days that will be especially difficult, such as holidays, birthdays and anniversaries.

* Some depression is a normal grief response. If you feel you are in trouble, have suicidal thoughts or plans, substance abuse problems, or long-term depression, please seek professional help at once. Call your local crisis center.

* Balance negative thoughts about yourself with positive ones, such as “I did the best I knew how for my pet.” “I am a loving, compassionate guardian for my animal companions.”

* Take walks or interact with nature in some way. Nature heals.

* Don’t sweat the small stuff. Allow your perspective on what really counts in life to expand.


Pet Loss Grief Counsellor & Creative Arts Therapist

Grief is a process that affects not only spirit, but mind, body and heart. As a grief counsellor, I focus on strengthening all aspects of self in order to give more balance and integration to the grief journey.

As a creative arts therapist, I use a variety of tools for expression and integration that open new vistas and depth to the healing process. Grief is a sacred rite of passage, a doorway to a more loving, compassionate and purposeful life. Move with the energy of grief, rather than fighting it, and you will discover the gifts and treasures that are part of path of healing!


Author Bio –

Debbie Lindour is a pet lover. She is a professional writer also work with Gentle Pet Passages. She is always found a new way for pet care, Pet training and Pet euthanasia. She lives in New Braunfels, Texas. She is a qualified veterinarian with many years of experience in private, online and welfare practice.

July 27, 2019 |

Winterizing Your Dog!

Winterizing your dog | Vancouvervetinfo.comn
Winterizing your dog, dog in snow |

5 Ways to Winterizing Your Dog

Winter’s arrival brings frigid winds and dipping temperatures that require making a few adjustments to your pet care routine. While you may want to snuggle by the fire, it is hard to resist when your dog playfully brings you their leash. Fortunately, you can protect your pup from winter’s bite by taking a few simple actions that will keep them comfortable and healthy throughout these colder months.

Dress Them Up

Doggie sweaters and jackets do more than just make an adorable fashion statement. During freezing weather, your dog may need an extra layer to keep them warm. This is especially important for shorthaired breeds such as Chihuahuas, but all dogs can benefit from some type of extra clothing during the winter months. If your dog has a thick coat, make sure to go with a lighter fabric for their sweaters, and remember to take it off once you get indoors. It is also important to change their coat if it gets wet while you are playing outside since being soaked in freezing temperatures can lead to hypothermia.

Protect Their Paws

Your dog’s paw pads are susceptible to the cold. Just as they may become burned by the hot summer concrete, those delicate pads can also be harmed by ice on your walking path. During walks, try to avoid icy sidewalks and hiking trails, and check your dog’s pads periodically for signs of injury such as bleeding or raw spots. You can also prevent some of the ice accumulation by asking your dog’s groomer to clip their hair shorter between their toes. On long walks, put special dog booties on your pet’s feet to protect the pads from prolonged exposure to freezing temperatures.

Trim Their Coat Longer

Dogs have the benefit of wearing their coat year round. Yet, your groomer has probably kept it shorter during the summer months to keep them cool. Now, you can switch back to keeping their coat on the longer side so that it can serve its purpose as an extra layer of warmth. Just make sure to keep their coat dry. When you come inside after playing in the snow, give them a good wipe down with a towel. It is also important to wait until their coat is completely dry after grooming before doing outside.

Pet Proof Your Home

Once winter hits full swing, you can expect that your dog will be staying indoors more often. Yet, there are several indoor winter hazards to check for in your home. Make sure that any portable heaters are kept away from your pet’s reach so you can avoid burns. It is also important to make sure your dog does not ingest a toxic plant or food since these are more common during the winter. Plants, such as poinsettias are toxic to dogs, so only place these where they will be out of your dog’s range.

Winterizing your dog walking through the snowBe Cautious When Traveling

Taking your pet with you on winter forays is always fun, but be alert to potentially dangerous situations. For example, winter hikes are a great way to let your dog explore nature, but frozen bodies of water could pose a risk for your dog falling through. Never let your dog walk on ice, and remember that your car’s temperature quickly drops once it is no longer running. Similar to the summer, make sure you can take your dog inside with you if you bring your dog along on errands or decide to dine out.

This winter, winterizing your dog will get them ready for fun by making sure they stay comfortably warm. By dressing them up and knowing about potential winter hazards, you can get the most enjoyment out of the cooler months while keeping your pet healthy.
Thank you to Kaley McAuliffe, the owner/ operator/ groomer of Hey Rover! Be Right for this informative article!  She is a Southern California girl who is living her dream by making dogs’ lives better each and every day.

November 22, 2016 |

Preventing heat stroke in dogs in cars, a solution

The recent tragedy of six dogs dying from heat stroke in a car shows how it’s very important to keep your car cool while your dog, or any pet for that matter, is in your car during spring and summer.

Obviously, the best way to prevent this is to:

  • park in the shade
  • leave at least 2 windows cross from each other open to permit air flow
  • minimize the time your dog is left alone in the car and
  • leave a bowl of water for her.

A solution to heat stroke in dogs in cars

Still, the above actions may not be enough to prevent your dog from heat exhaustion in a car.

A better solution then, if you have to bring your dog along, consider parking your car in an underground parkade when ever you can. This will certainly keep your car cool and it’s worth your dog’s life to uncovered parking for the convenience of being close to your destination.

Would a solar powered cooling fan prevent heat stroke in dogs in cars?

Solar powered car window fan | VancouverVetInfoAlso, has anyone tried out solar powered cooling fans on their car windows?

Is it a viable solution if you have to park your car in an uncovered area?  I have access to this product and can get a good bulk deal on them (any interested buyers?), but I’m not going to chance buying them if they don’t work; I’m a bit skeptical if they really can significantly cool a car and thus make the car safe for Fido.

What are your experiences with this product if you’ve tried it? Does it really work?

I may have to buy one and test it out and report back later in a future post…
What are your thoughts on this post? If you have any comments or questions, please write below. We welcome and appreciate your feedback!


May 20, 2014 |


This excellent article is courtesy of

When examining your pet, look at the overall condition of your pet. The body systems and conditions to monitor can be examined at home using the following:


  1. Are they draining?
  2. Is the pet squinting excessively?
  3. Are they red?
  4. Do they buldge?
  5. Are they painful?
  6. Does the pet act blind or bump into objects?


  1. Are they clean?
  2. Does the pet shake its head?
  3. Does the pet rub its head on the floor?
  4. Does the pet paw at its ears?
  5. Does the pet hear you?

Mucous membranes

  1. Are the pets gums pink? If no, your pet may have a low red blood cell count, be in shock, or have a low blood volume
  2. When you place pressure against the pets gums and release, does the color return quickly? The normal time is less than two seconds, if longer your pet may be dehydrated.


  1. Check for tartar build up on the teeth.
  2. Check for a red line being present above the teeth. If this is present, your pet may have gingivitis.
  3. Does the pet have oral ulcers? This could be caused by kidney disease, dental disease, viruses, electrocution, or a variety of others.
  4. Does your pet have bad breath? This could occur due to bacteria and thus infection.
  5. Are there any tumors present?

Respiratory system

  1. Is the pet breathing fast?
  2. Is the pet coughing?
  3. Does the pet breathe with abdominal contractions?
  4. Does the elbows point out when breathing?

Cardiovascular system

  1. Does the patient have exercise intolerance?
  2. Does the patient cough?
  3. Does your pet have trouble with the respiratory system?
  4. Is your pet’s activity below normal?

Lymph nodes

Pets have lymph nodes throughout the body. Some of the lymph nodes can be felt and some cannot. The lymph nodes which can be palpated include the following:

1. Submandibular – these lymph nodes are located at the angle of the lower jaw

2. Prescapular – these lymph nodes are located in front of the shoulder

3. Popliteal – these lymph nodes are located in the hamstring portion of the hind leg

Lymph nodes are normally only noticed by owners when they are abnormal. The common reasons for lymph node enlargement include infection and cancer.


Your pet should have a nice thick hair coat that is not dull in color. The following signs can represent a skin disease:

  1. Excessive hair loss
  2. Patient scratching
  3. Bumps on the skin
  4. Licking and biting of the skin

Here’s a couple of videos where you can see how you can examine your pet at home:

What are your thoughts on this post? If you have any comments or questions, please write below. We welcome and appreciate your feedback!

April 16, 2014 |

Hello world!

Welcome to VancouverVetInfo!

We hope you find this website useful for all your pet information needs.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or suggestions.

We welcome them and want to improve for you!

February 20, 2014 |
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