BOOKS: Goodbye, Friend

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, March 1998:

Goodbye, Friend
Healing wisdom for anyone
who has ever lost a pet
by Gary Kowalski
Stillpoint Publishing
(POB 640, Walpole, NH 03608), 1997.
159 pages, paperback, $11.95.

Gary Kowalski, a Unitarian minister,
advises acknowledging the death of a pet
much as one would the death of any other
family member. Services, including eulogies
tailored to the individual comfort level, are
recommended as part of grieving.
The topic of children dealing with a
pet’s death is covered. Significance is given
to even the smallest of companions, as the
author describes his own children’s year-long
series of memorials for a goldfish who had
lived a very short life. He gives advice to
calm children’s fear of death, and on how to
allow children to cope on their own level.

Statistics on pet longevity, by
species, provide perspective on grief for a pet
who has had a full life.
Also covered are the anger that can
emerge in response to a sudden or violent
death, and the emotional stress associated
with euthanizing old and/or ailing loved ones.
Kowalski examines various religious
beliefs concerning animal life after
death. No one belief is identified as being
right or wrong. “Many of us would agree,”
Kowalski notes, “that heaven––however we
conceive it––would be a paltry place without
the animals who keep us company and provide
so many of life’s lighter moments.”

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