It’s been a couple of month since I had to put down my companion of twenty years and the pain is still very much there. It has been a real trying time for me. I haven’t coped very well throughout the process of grieving because I didn’t know where to turn and people just didn’t understand what I was going through. Try to explain to them that the loss of a family pet can be just as bad as the loss of a close friend or human family member is no use. They never get it because they have never gone through it.
That soon started to change when someone whom I don’t know emailed me a link to a product that helped me through the suffering. This product is a book entitled “How to ROAR: Recovering from the Grief of Pet Loss” by Robin Jean Brown.
In this short journalizing work-book, Robin states that the meaning of the acronym ROAR is as follows:
- R = Respect your loss and grief
- O = Own your reality
- A = Affirm yourself
- R = Reclaim your life
At first I was skeptical about this book. I had tried many things to help me cope. I went to online chat groups that purported to be “Self-Help Sites on Grief.” Bull to that because all they tried to do was convert me over to another religion. Or they would say that grieving over an animal was stupid.
Well, Robin says that it is perfectly natural for someone to grieve over the loss of a pet. And her book “How to ROAR: Recovering from the Grief of Pet Loss” helps you to understand why you grieve over your pet. And it will help you to come to terms with your grief and teach you how to handle your grief through a very simple set of journalizing exercises.
At first I couldn’t think of anything to put in my journal about Midnight (my late companion). Then as I reread Robin’s own personal story in Chapter 2 the memories just flooded in.
Since I started journalizing I have gone through her book twice. Now I write a short journal entry on a daily basis about Midnight. And in doing so I realized how much I love her and how much I needed to interact with animals.
So with the help of a very good friend we started going around to various shelters just to look around and hopefully find a new companion. We did this for about two months. This resulted in a few applications to adopt a dog but they all fell through for one reason or another. This was starting to depress me. I would try one or two more times and if nothing I was going to give up the search.
So late in November we went to the Humane Society where I live. I didn’t have much faith in finding a dog until I came face-to-face with an Australian shepherd mix named Benjamin Franklin. I immediately put down my name to adopt him. However, it started to look like I wouldn’t have him also because he had a multitude of health issues that they were concerned that I wouldn’t be able to handle. On December 23rd, Benjamin Franklin found his forever home with me.
If it wasn’t for Robin’s book I would not have such a bundle of joy. And it is because of this that I highly recommend her book.
Don’t let the grief take control of your life. With the journalizing exercises in her book you can come to grips with your grief and learn to live with the loss and move on with your life. Who knows, maybe you will also be able to accept another fur baby into your life.
And if you’ve recently lost a great companion why not leave a comment on our memorial page. It could be the beginning of a great journalizing adventure about your best friend.