Pet Loss in the First Person

detail of pastel painting of cat under bed
Detail of “Waiting for Mom”, pastel of Fawn © B.E. Kazmarski

This is a list of topics I use as an introduction to loving your pet near the end, considering your options, and your grieving process. In addition, I publish an article or essay at least once per month on the topic of pet loss here on The Creative Cat.

Celebrating Our Animal Companions

Animals give us so much in everyday life, but my cats have given me my career

detail of pastel painting of cat with flowers
Detail of “The Perfect Camouflage”, pastel of Sophie © B.E. Kazmarski

Each time my life changed course, they were there to provide inspiration for a new possibility—when I decided to paint, when I decided to write and when I decided to take photographs, they were my first subjects.

Here I am today as a freelance artist, writer, photographer and whatever else, and I don’t know that it all would have come together for me if they hadn’t been there as my muses—or “mewses”.

It’s about love, not loss

photo of cat looking out window
Kelly, photo © B.E. Kazmarski

On my blog, The Creative Cat, I’ve composed a series of articles about issues surrounding the loss of your companion animal, but it’s really not about loss—loss is only one brief part of the relationship—it’s about love and respect. We love our pets enough to treat them as friends or family, give them the best care we can find, take their illnesses seriously, be with them to the end, treat their remains with respect, grieve them honestly, and memorialize them in a way that dignifies their life. That’s all less about loss than it is about a dedicated, loving relationship.

Turning grief into a creative effort

pastel painting of white cat on blue stool
Detail of “White Cat Reflecting”, pastel of Sally © B.E. Kazmarski

That’s how I came about creating my commissioned animal portraits and animal sympathy cards, and in these articles I feature others who’ve done the same: author Ingrid King, who finally found the subject for the book she’d always wanted to write when she met, and lost, Buckley; and counselor Karen Litzinger, who, after losing two dogs, compiled a unique CD of supportive affirmations and guidance for others who’ve lost their pets.

Deb Chebatoris, owner of Chartiers Custom Pet Cremation, designed a most unique healing process for working with her families after being called to completely change her career and purchase the business.

An index to the series, “Pet love and pet loss told in the first person”:

photo of catTo love that well, which thou must leave ‘ere long:
my first and worst lesson in pet loss

Starting with pet loss—before the loss:
begin preparing yourself for loss by being proactive about care and providing palliative care yourself at home

Options for “After Care”, featuring Chartiers Custom Pet Cremation:

aftercare, and a profile of a business and a person I find exceptional, and exceptionally comforting

Heal Your Heart After Pet Loss, a Remarkable CD and Guidebook:
your grieving process, and a very special CD and guidebook for those times when you need a comforting voice

Turning Loss into Creativity with Ingrid King and Buckley’s Story:
how grief can become the catalyst for change, turning grief into a creative effort

Pet Loss Support Information:
ideas and resources for where to find comfort and support in your loss, including books about and inspired by the author’s personal experience

Pet Love and Pet Loss, and How it Gave Me My Art:
my own experience turning multiple losses loss into multiple creative endeavors

In addition to these articles, you can also browse articles in the category for “pet loss”.

If you are making a decision…
Sitting with one of my cats in the middle of the night, trying to determine if they were suffering in any way, if they were ready to let go, struggling to make the decision about euthanasia and what to do after they died, I felt so alone and only hearing what others had experienced and what they had decided helped me put my own situation and decisions into perspective, and let me know that I was not the only person to experience the anguish I was suffering.

I’ve composed this series of articles in the hopes that others find comfort in my experiences and those of the others mentioned here, and that information included about services and products may help them in their decisions.

And on that topic…

I am currently working on a book, collecting stories of pet owners’ decisions and images of them and their pets, designing it into first-person accounts. Pet owners struggling with their decisions can read what others decided, and those who’ve lost their animal companions can know that their stories will be told to help others.

Thanks for reading

I’m glad to be able to share this information with you. I hope you’ve found some valuable resources for pet love and pet loss and other topics involving animals. Please send feedback and suggestions for possible topics either by commenting on a blog entry (on any blog—they all come to me, and I am the only one who reads the messages) or by sending me an e-mail at bernadette@bernadette-k.com.

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