Healing the Pain of Pet Loss: Letters in Memoriam

Front Cover
Kymberly Smith
Charles Press, 1998 - Family & Relationships - 190 pages
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While as a society, we clearly recognize and try to validate the grief that is felt when 7 loved person dies, many of us do not feel the same way about grieving over the loss of an animal friend. When a person dies, we approach the bereaved with ultimate delicacy and care. We send condolence cards, we attend the funeral and we try to show our compassion and understanding: "I'm so sorry. We will do all that we can to help and support you". When a pet dies, however, a person's grief is too often met by dismissal and even ridicule: "Oh come on, I know it's sad, but he was only a dog" and "It's not the end of the world! You can always get another cat".

Devastated by the loss of her cat and deeply disturbed by the callous way people reacted to her grief Kymberly Smith thought she might be able to find some advice in books that would help her cope with her loss. To her surprise and frustration, none of the books helped her at all. They were mostly written by psychologists and were too "clinical" in their approach. They described stages of loss and different forms of grief, but this is not the kind of information that really helps a person heal -- it certainly didn't help her.

That's when Kymberly realized that a different kind of book on healing from the pain of pet loss was sorely needed, one that teed the ideas and solutions, not of detached "experts", but of people who had themselves lost a beloved animal companion -- "real people" who could give honest advice and practical guidance on how to cope with this loss. To do this, Kymberly issued a nationwide request for personal stories of losing a pet. When she read through the hundreds of letters she received, she immediately realizedthat the letters had the most unusual and remarkable healing powers. Reading them comforted her and gave her the kind of understanding and support that only people who have actually "been there" can give, She also realized that the insight the letter writers provided into dealing with the pain of losing a pet was far greater than anything she could say herself. So she decided to publish the best of the letters in a book as close to the original as possible. The letters are written by many different kinds of people of all ages, who discuss a wide variety of grief reactions and coping methods.

While there is no easy way to cope with severe loss, one surprisingly simple method that has helped millions is talking to and listening to others who have gone though's similar experience -- the people-helping-people dynamic known as self-help. In the same way, Healing the Pain of Per Loss is a self-help group in a book. By reading other people's stories of loss, readers will be able to learn how others felt and reacted to losing a pet and how they solved their problems and coped -- or didn't. By having the companionship of the letter writers, readers will also feel that they are not alone in their grief experiences and that they are not abnormal or simply overreacting (something many of the letter writers reported feeling).

The book also features an Appendix that looks at the fascinating spiritual aspects of pet loss and also gives the first annotated listing of the best Internet resources for pet loss, useful books, hotline numbers and organizations that can help.

This special book will be a very comforting resource for ever who has love and lost a pet. It will also be of tremendous use topeople who interact with those who have lost a pet, including veterinarians, counselors, teachers and parents.

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About the author (1998)

Kimberly Smith is an accomplished entrepreneur and businesswoman with more than 20 years experience in the real estate and corporate housing industries. In 1999 Kimberly and her husband and business partner, Eric, started AvenueWest Corporate Housing, Inc., that today is a multi-million dollar company providing furnished corporate housing and property management services to upscale business travelers. A recognized leader in the industry, they were awarded CHPA's 2010 Provider Company of the Year Award and listed for 3 consecutive years on Inc Magazine's Inc 5000 list featuring the countries fastest growing businesses. Inspired to help people find corporate housing and real estate solutions on a national basis, Kimberly and Eric came up with a business idea to create a national web directory dedicated to connecting furnished rental properties with corporate renters. In 2006 the couple launched CorporateHousingbyOwner.com (CHBO), the first-of-its-kind online portal that connects furnished rentals and the traveling public. In 2013 CHBO was recognized by CHPA as the Associate Company of the Year. In 2009, they founded AvenueWest Global Franchise, allowing them to expand the AvenueWest Managed Corporate Housing product throughout the United States. They now have offices in Phoenix, Atlanta, Fort Collins, San Francisco, Boston, Dallas, Denver and Colorado Springs. Kimberly continues to lead in the corporate housing industry and served as the 2011 elected Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Corporate Housing Providers Association (CHPA), the primary trade organization for the corporate housing industry. Kimberly has been nationally recognized for her business success and her philanthropic endeavors and is frequently featured in media sources like the NYTimes, LA Times, Denver Post, US News & World Report, MSNBC.com, CNBC and SmartMoney.com. She was awarded the 2013 Denver Business Journal's Outstanding Women in Business award for real estate, small business finalist in 2010, and finalist in the prestigious Power Book special section of The Denver Business Journal, a feature in Denver Woman magazine as an outstanding business woman and mother, in 2009 she was selected to join The Denver Business Journal's elite class of 40 under 40 and in 2010 and was recognized by CoBiz Magazine as a top 5 GenXYZ leader.

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