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The Loss of a Pet

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  152 ratings  ·  36 reviews
Understanding helps heal the hurt when you lose a pet

A cherished pet gives you boundless, unconditional love and occupies a special place in your routine, your home, and your heart. When your pet dies, that warm, special place becomes a sad, empty space. This book helps you understand:
* The grieving process, including typical stages of grief and techniques for coping
* Grie
Paperback, 276 pages
Published September 1st 2005 by Howell Book House (first published January 1st 1993)
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Average rating 3.88  · 
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Nov 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
I really was completely lost when my dearest Hannah passed away last summer. She was 11 1/2 years old and we had been companions since she was 10 weeks old. For the whole of her life we had only been apart for maybe 2 weeks in total. My life, my habits were totally wrapped up in Hannah - for good and for bad. When she succumbed to congestive heart failure much sooner than I thought she would leave me, I was devastated emotionally and spiritually. I didn't just lose a pet - I lost my whole way of ...more
May 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: bereavement
This book has been a huge help to me as I mourn the loss of my cat due to cancer. It helped me to understand the grieving process and the stages of grief and loss. I have been having a particularly hard time dealing with the guilt of not catching her illness sooner, and this book has a chapter on guilt that helped me a lot. The author is a pet bereavement counselor. I recommend it for anyone who is dealing with the loss of a pet, or for anyone who has pets. I think reading it before illness occu ...more
Jul 02, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is my second time reading this book, and as I read, I remembered how unhelpful it was for me in 2004. Nine years later, I'll modify that opinion by saying that chapter 17, "Some Practical Suggestions in Review", was helpful, although perhaps not worth the price of the book. Specifically, suggestion 2 got me choked up:

"2. Write a letter or will from your pet to yourself. Keep this as a permanent memory. You may be amazed at how much this reveals to you about yourself. Years later this will b
Ashley Marie
Doc brought this home from the church library after we had Slicky put down recently - I can see how it might help others, but self-help has never been my go-to genre, and the majority of what Sife mentions fall into the category of common sense. I skimmed most of it and was glad to see from his list of suggestions toward the end that we seem to be handling this the way mature, well-adjusted people do. It's never easy, but we're hanging in there.
Mar 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm actually reading this now for a second time, after recently losing my cat to cancer. I've felt blindsided by the overwhelming flood of emotions I've been experiencing, and the wisdom in this book has helped me deal with the terrible feelings of loss, grief, and depression.
Nicole Ambrosino
Nov 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I've read this book for each time I have lost a pet and it helped me each time.
Nikki Li
Jan 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: dnf
I didn't finish this book, but I didn't need to. It served it's purpose for me when I needed it. This would be a good book to read front to back for someone who loses a pet that hasn't had a good amount of experience with loss and grief previously.
Jul 02, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
I recently lost my 12 year-old cat to cancer, and while I agree with others that this book is pretty dry and clinical (and possibly a bit outdated, as the edition I read is 23 years old now), it does have some good points and suggestions. For example: "It's not too late to say something to your deceased pet. Over a period of time, make a list of all the loving memories you have of your pet. Constantly amend this list. Then write a letter to your pet, remembering all these intimate smiles and tea ...more
Sep 06, 2014 rated it it was ok
I don't usually rate books that I haven't finished reading. This one, though, I will not finish, but I still have something to say about it. This is pitched at people who have lost pets, but it reads as if for psychiatrists who are puzzled by the grief of their patients over the loss of a pet. The main text of the book is rather dry and clinical (and I have a much higher than average appreciation of academic detachment), really not much that one can't pick up from reading advice columns in the n ...more
Jun 13, 2011 rated it it was ok
Really hope he gets to the point -- dealing with loss of a pet-- soon. So far it's all platitudes and really rather patronizing.

I had to finally stop reading. There should be a better resource for people facing the death of a pet than this. Disappointed.
Rosemary Sullivan
Apr 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: self-help
In some ways "The Loss of a Pet: A Guide To Coping With The Grieving Process When A Pet Dies," by Wallace Sife, helped me live through my grief and in other ways it caused me even more anxiety. Mr. Sife, a psychotherapist who founded the Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement and was inspired to write about pet loss after the untimely death of his miniature Dachshund, Edel Meister, obviously deeply loves animals. As such, he is writing from the point of view that many people don't take the gri ...more
Nov 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nf
For anyone who has to go through this excruciating process - this book is very well-written, with many helpful suggestions and short case histories in highlighted boxes. Exhaustively covers the topic, with historical background, but most helpfully, topics such as euthanasia, explaining a pet's death to children, etc.

The author is a bereavement counselor - who better to counsel you in your time of loss? For the reviewers saying that the book is outdated (being 20 years old), I think death and the
We recently had to euthanize our 18 year old dog Chloe, who had been suffering with dementia for about a year. There was valuable information in this book, but it kept slipping into a more clinical tone that made it less accessible for the grieving reader. I kept wondering whether he'd intended the book for a general audience, or for therapists working in pet bereavement. I found the chapter on guilt to be the most helpful.
Apr 23, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: self-care
If you love a furbaby, it might be helpful to read this before s/he dies. Some chapters are so generalized I just didn't relate to the information. Other chapters present more details and highly useful information. This book can be used as a guide to find the needed resources and support during, and before, a troubling time. It's a quick read and I feel better after reading the third edition.
Dec 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
I thought the book was very helpful in dealing with grief with thoughtful advice for moving forward after loss. There were some really nice quotes and poems for comfort. I wanted to know the story of the author’s dog, who passed away unexpectedly, but it wasn’t shared.
Jun 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Excellent resource for those grieving the loss of a pet.
Ed Mestre
May 22, 2018 rated it liked it
A bit too psychtherapeutic for me, but still quite helpful in my grief.
Ian Carpenter
Apr 02, 2014 rated it liked it
I am super grateful for this book and want to take nothing from it's great usefulness of anyone grieving a pet. My partner and I needed this deeply. Just be warned it is endlessly, relentlessly repetitious. Sife himself practically points that out in his repeated "As I've said before"'s that dot every chapter for material that he's repeated mere paragraphs before.

The section on Religion and the Death of Pets is exceptional.

I'd recommend Going Home: Finding Peace when Pets Die by Jon Katz. But i
Mar 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This little book was such a help to me. I feel comforted when I have the right words to express my feelings and that is what this book did for me; supplied me with the vocabulary to understand what I'm going through. I lost my Q two weeks ago and I still miss her terribly. He discusses how to deal with children in these circumstances and specifically addresses euthanasia. It's only 160 pages and he uses specific case studies to illustrate his points. I hope he can help you in your time of grievi ...more
Cyndie Courtney
A thorough book on many elements of the grieving process for pets. It normalizes what you are feeling and gives advice on how to best handle the grieving process. The book even has sections on how to talk with children about the loss of a pet, and grieving when a pet is stolen or runs away. Also recommends reliable resources for those who can benefit from additional support.
This was a very objective book. It would probably work great for someone who is researching the loss of a pet, especially if your looking for a case studies. But for those who have lost a pet, it just does not really connect.
Nov 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nf
Comforting reading about the stages of grief as they relate to pet bereavement. Oddly sweet photos of pet memorials of various kinds scattered through the text. Neither overly glurgey nor clinical, and religiously neutral without being dismissive of religion.
Jan 22, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiftyfiftyme
Didn't change my perspective on the grief I am experiencing, but it did reinforce the validity of some of the choices I've made since (ie, to take time off work) which is helpful.

Not sure much can help when you miss someone this much.
Aug 03, 2009 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Note: Trying to read this book before my dog dies but it's hard to get through so I'll read a very little at a time at random times whenever I can.
Nov 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
I recommend reading this before the inevitable. It was very informative.
Jun 23, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty clinical book that basically says you need to feel what you're feeling through the grief of losing a pet.
Sharyn L.
Jun 25, 2011 rated it liked it
Very clinical.... It was okay, but I felt that I needed to read something else.
May 18, 2013 marked it as to-read
Shelves: adults, loss-grieving
Read someday to see if should be on "recommended" list.
May 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Essential reading for anyone who has lost a pet, has a pet with terminal illness or who works with grief counseling.
Feb 27, 2016 rated it it was ok
Kind of clinical and dry, but reinforced what's discussed in the APLB online moderated chats, which I found very helpful.
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