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The love, bond, and companionship shared between people and their pets is unique and deeply felt. The loss of a pet can be heart wrenching, devastating, and isolating. It’s hard to say exactly why the loss of a pet hurts so much- it could be how much a companion animal is a part of your day to day routine, it could be the quality of connection that bridged beyond language but was spoken instead in walks, scratches, play, and treats.

Coping with the grief of a pet or animal friend can be isolating as there aren’t as many social rituals and types of community support surrounding this type of loss. Bereavement leave may not extend to pet loss, and finding grief counselling for the loss of a pet can also be limited. But those who have loved and lost an animal friend know all too well the weight of the grieving process after the loss of a pet.

Pet lovers come in all ages and it isn’t uncommon for people’s first experience with grief to be that of the loss of a family pet in childhood. Poems and readings can help affirm and support children in their pet grief and be a useful tool for helping to explain death and grief to them.

While quotes and poems for animal loss will never take the grieving away, they can help to support you in your grief. They may express sentiments you are struggling to find language for or reassure you that you are not alone in your loss.

Poems for Pet Loss and Grief

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 I thought of you today – Author Unknown  

I woke early this morning, lifted the shade
to a sky overcast and gray
No ray of sun to brighten my heart,
and I thought of you today.
The breezes of summer are no more
and have moved along on their way.
The crisp air of autumn has settled in,
and I thought of you today.
The crunch of the leaves under my feet,
I remembered how you loved to play,
chasing the leaves across the yard,
and I thought of you today.
As the daylight faded into dusk
and the shadows came to play,
I lit a candle and watched the flame dance,
and I thought of you today.
I crawled into bed, turned out the lamp
and glanced where you used to lay.
The tears came again, as they always do,
as I thought of you today.





——————-

 I Ask Percy How I Should Live My Life by Mary Oliver 

Love, love, love says Percy.
And run as fast as you can
along the shining beach, or the rubble, or the dust.
Then, go to sleep.
Give up your body heat, your beating heart.
Then, trust.

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 They Will Not Go Quietly – Author Unknown 

They will not go quietly,
the pets who’ve shared our lives.
In subtle ways they let us know
their spirit still survives.
Old habits still can make us think
we hear them at the door
Or step back when we drop
a tasty morsel on the floor.
Our feet still go around the place
the food dish used to be,
And, sometimes, coming home at night,
we miss them terribly.
And although time may bring new friends
and a new food dish to fill,
That one place in our hearts
belongs to them…
and always will.

—————-

 Knowing by Sally Evans (written for Shoo-Fly) 

If I had known that on that day our time was near the end
I would have done things differently, my forever friend.
I would have stayed right next to you deep into the night
but I thought I’d see you in the early morning light.

And so I said “Good night” to you as I walked in through the door
never thinking of the time when I’d see you no more.
But if I had known that on that day our time was at the end
I would have done things so differently, my forever friend.





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 We Have a Secret – Author Unknown 

We have a secret, you and I
that no one else shall know,
for who but I can see you lie
each night in fire glow?
And who but I can reach my hand
before we go to bed
and feel the living warmth of you
and touch your silken head?
And only I walk woodland paths
and see ahead of me,
your small form racing with the wind
so young again, and free.
And only I can see you swim
in every brook I pass
and when I call, no one but I
can see the bending grass.

————————

 Missing You by Colleen Fitzsimmons 

I stood by your bed last night, I came to have a peep.
I could see that you were crying. You found it hard to sleep.

I whined to you softly as you brushed away a tear,
“It’s me, I haven’t left you, I’m well, I’m fine, I’m here.”

I was close to you at breakfast, I watched you pour the tea,
You were thinking of the many times your hands reached down to me.

I was with you at the shops today. Your arms were getting sore.
I longed to take your parcels, I wish I could do more.

I was with you at my grave today, You tend it with such care.
I want to re-assure you that I’m not lying there.

I walked with you towards the house, as you fumbled for your key.
I gently put my paw on you, I smiled and said “It’s me.”

You looked so very tired, and sank into a chair.
I tried so hard to let you know that I was standing there.

It’s possible for me to be so near you everyday.
To say to you with certainty, “I never went away.”

You sat there very quietly, then smiled, I think you knew…
in the stillness of that evening, I was very close to you.

The day is over… I smile and watch you yawning
and say “Good-night, God bless, I’ll see you in the morning.”

And when the time is right for you to cross the brief divide,
I’ll rush across to greet you and we’ll stand, side by side.

I have so many things to show you, there is so much for you to see.
Be patient, live your journey out… then come home to be with me.

—————————————

 Treasured Friend – Author Unknown  

I lost a treasured friend today
The little dog who used to lay
Her gentle head upon my knee
And shared her silent thoughts with me.

She’ll come no longer to my call
Retrieve no more her favourite ball
A voice far greater than my own
Has called her to his golden throne.

Although my eyes are filled with tears
I thank him for the happy years
He let her spend down here with me
And for her love and loyalty.

When it is time for me to go
And join her there, this much I know
I shall not fear the transient dark
For she will greet me with a bark.

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 To Sneakers by Jeanne Fiedler 

She arrived in spring
Like a fresh gentle breeze
She was injured and starving
Curious and hopeful
A loving, trusting feline…
She was strong and unflinching
Vivacious and lively
She was radiant…she was youthful
She was ours…
We shared her raptures and sorrows
Her ups and her downs
Her life…

Now it is spring again.
But this time she has to go
Her spirit and essence will always live through us
She will eternally remain within us…
She will forever feel our love….





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 The Rainbow Bridge – Author Unknown  

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge. When an animal dies
that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.

There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm
and comfortable. All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health
and vigour; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again,
just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.

The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and
looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers.
Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs
carrying him faster and faster. You have been spotted, and when you and your
special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again.

The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head,
and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your
life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together

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 Tribute to a Best Friend – Author Unknown 

Sunlight streams through the window pane
unto a spot on the floor….
then I remember,
it’s where you used to lie,
but now you are no more.
Our feet walk down a hall of carpets
and muted echoes sound….
then I remember,
It’s where your paws would joyously abound.
A voice is heard along the road,
and up beyond the hill,
then I remember it can’t be yours….
your golden voice is still.
But I’ll take that vacant spot of floor
and empty muted hall
and lay them with the absent voice
and unused dish along the wall.
I’ll wrap these treasured memorials
in a blanket of my love
and keep them for my best friend
until we meet above.

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