The loss of a beloved animal companion is like no other loss because our relationship with animals are like no other. Our culture tells us that an animal companion is an engaging toy, and that our grief over its death is alarming and ill-placed. Our culture is just flat wrong. The love and comfort of animals mean more to us than we know. Their partnership with us is a holy one that endures across a lifetime and possibly beyond.
For most of us, the loss of an animal will be our first experience with death. In this way, animals give us a most precious and intimate gift, the opportunity to learn how to live through grief, and to learn that we can live through grief. If we diminish the loss in our own eyes, subdue it, tell ourselves it has no meaning, then we will deflate the enormous value of this gift. Not only does the animal-human bond defy statistics and numbers and double-blind studies, but it defies words as well.
The relationship we experience with our pets can sometimes be among the deepest ones we will ever experience in our lives. The sincerity, humility, dedication, purpose, courage, devotion, joy and love that we have learned from our pets will stay with us forever.
We will take time and learn how to create a funeral or memorial service. All our beloved pets who have crossed the Rainbow Bridge and into the Animal’s Eden are waiting for their special humans, are free to do whatever they want. There they wait in this Eden for us to come. There is nothing more joyful than a reunion between dear friends who have been apart too long.
Students are required to have a copy of Grieving the Death of a Pet, by Betty J. Carmack.
This course is eligible for 1.0 CEU.
Number of weeks: 2
Required books: Yes
Certification or Series: No
Read course description for details.
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About the Instructor
Annette Arnold-Pflaum is the founder and president of Wisteria Ministries. She has 25 years counseling experience and has specialized in grief and crisis counseling since 2015.
Annette is a Nationally Board Certified Chaplain [BCC] and has been a State of Nevada Licensed Interfaith Minister since 2014. She is also a Certified Lay Minister in the United Methodist Church and holds a certificate in congregational leadership.
A retired nurse/EMT with 20 years of medical experience, Annette is a graduate of the Academy of Religious Studies, Ministerial Seminary, Chaplaincy Nevada Theology Academy, and has completed advanced clinical pastoral training. She has been an academy instructor.
Annette is consulting director of the Nevada State Chaplains Task Force: Crisis, Trauma, Emergency & Critical Incident Response Team. She was part of the response team that assisted after the 2017 Las Vegas shooting.
Past Students Said…
“I learned that there are other people who adore animals as much as I do and who grieve terribly when they lose those animals. I learned that I am not alone in feeling guilty over the deaths of my pets. Pet lovers do their very best, and in spite of my failings and weaknesses, I now trust that my “precious dog” understood and knew that I loved her with all my heart–and always will.” Note: “precious dog” instead of real name added to protect confidentiality.”
“I learned that it is just as important (sometimes more so!) to grieve our beloved pets the same as we do the humans in our life.”
“Annette is a very caring, humble, compassionate and knowledgeable instructor. She offers additional help and shows genuine concern to everyone in the class.”
“Got so much out of Chaplain Annette’s course that I plan to take every future course she offers, God willing. The course was very informative and Chaplain Annette is an excellent leader!”