Saying Goodbye to Your Angel Animals (Finding Comfort after losing your Pet) by Allen and Linda Anderson is probably one of the best books I’ve read to date on pet loss. 

It’s a practical, down to earth, guide in seven chapters covering:

  • The things you should NEVER say to someone whose pet has died
  • The best ways to be supportive of someone who is grieving over pet loss
  • Handling the aftermath of the decision to euthanize a pet
  • How and when to seek profession, online, or group support for bereavement
  • The ways children are affected by a family pet’s death and how to help them through it
  • Recognising grief of surviving animals in a multiple pet family
  • Identifying the signs that you are read to adopt another pet
  • The phases of organic grieving and how long mourning should last
  • Working through shock, doubt, denial, regrets, guilt, anger, and sadness
  • What to do when there’s a disconnect between your belief that you’ll meet your pet in heaven and what your religion or congregation teaches
  • Capturing and preserving daily life memories of your pet
  • Setting up a memorial service to honour the memory of your pet.

Each chapter is broken down into several segments and follows the journey of grief in a sympathetic way. Emotions and feelings are discussed in a kind, understanding manner and at no time is the reader ever belittled or scorned for grieving the loss of their pet.

The various stages of grief are looked into and at the end of each section is a meditation for the reader to pause a while and digest the content and ask themselves suggested questions.

This book doesn’t make the reader feel sad or bad for grieving. This book comforts and gives suggestions on how to cope with the different stages of grief.

Case stories are told, some coming from Allen and Linda’ website:, showing the ways that people dealt with the loss of a pet, how they coped and what they learned. Sometimes in letting go and allowing a pet to move on that experience helps when perhaps we face the same dilemma with a human loved one. Knowing the stoic dignity with which a pet faces death can help when saying goodbye to a parent or life partner.

In the Appendix there are additional meditations which the reader can work through and the final meditation, under the heading of ‘Peaceful at last’ says this:

‘The loss of you (the pet) can never be restored. I can never forget your presence. But I can recover and heal from my profound pain by celebrating a life well lived.

‘How am I now at peace with your passing? What will I do to give to others the love that you gave to me?’

Following the Appendix is a very comprehensive Resources section with details of books, audio resources, children’s books, for Parents, Child Caregivers, Veterinarians and Teachers, journals, organisations and websites. Some of the websites I’ve put in the Links section under Pet Loss and Grief. 

Susan Chernak McElroy, author of ‘Animals as Teachers and Healers’ and ‘Why Buffalo Dance’ said: ‘If you are facing or have faced the loss of a beloved animal friend, let this book be your companion and your comfort. There exists no better exploration of this landscape of loss.’ And she’s absolutely spot on!

The book should be on everyone’s book shelf so that it is to hand when it’s needed most.

Available in paperback it can be purchased at and, and

The ISBN is 978-1-57731-626-8

Dogs Come when Called

"Dogs come when called. Cats take a message and get back to you."

"Of course, every cat is really the most beautiful woman in the room."

Edward Verrall Luca (essayist)

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