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.
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Number of weeks: 2
Required books?: Yes
Live video session?: No
Part of a certification or series of courses?: No
About the Instructor
Annette Arnold-Pflaum is an ordained senior chaplain and is the founder and president of Wisteria Ministries. She has specialized in grief support and crisis counseling since the beginning of 2015.
Sr. Chaplain Annette is a Nationally Board Certified Chaplain [BCC], and has been a State of Nevada Licensed 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 holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology/family studies and associate degrees in education and para-medicine. She is a graduate of the Chaplaincy Nevada Theology Academy, where she is now an instructor, and has completed their advanced Clinical Pastoral Training.
Annette is honored to be the Teaching Lead of the Nevada State Chaplains Task Force: Crisis and Critical Response Team, which assists first responders, state officials, government entities and agencies, and Nevada citizens in times of disasters or other crises. Annette was part of the team that was on hand to assist after the 1 October Shooting in Las Vegas in 2017.
Having been a student herself with BeADisciple, Annette understands the benefits and joys of online education, and is excited to share those benefits with others!
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!”