June 24, 2007

Our Pets Live On In Our Hearts!

Your pet hasn't left you, he or she only moved closer to heart. Come be part of the SAPPY Pet Loss Support Group of San Antonio. We meet on Tuesdays, on the fourth Tuesday of each month, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. E-mail me at sappypetloss@sbcglobal.net for locations.

A Time to Mourn

For most of us, visiting a support group is something that we never imagined we would do, right?

At least I never thought I'd ever find myself visiting a support group, much less a support group addressing pet loss. But after my precious little Sappy passed away in 2003, I needed to talk to someone about all of the little broken pieces of sorrow left in my heart. I needed to tell someone about my feelings of emptiness and that heavy pain pressing against my soul.
You Don't Have to Grieve Alone!

Aside from my sweet husband Jim and family, I didn't have anyone. Yes! I had God in my life, but I needed to see God in someone else who also cared. I'm a woman of faith and I cling to hope in Christ, but I still needed for Him to show Himself through someone. And, He did!

He led me to begin a pet loss support group for people like me who need support during such a difficult time. He led me to all of the right people who showed compassion and support. He sent pastor Eddie. He sent a friend Blanca. And, He sent my brother Jesse. And, He sent several people who needed support too. This validated the importance of a support group like this one. So, that's how SAPPY started. And, that's how I became part of a support group. I never imagined myself sitting in a support group sharing my heavy burdens with strangers. But, the truth is, they aren't strangers. We have more in common than we realize. We are all pet parents who've lost their best friends. We are responsible pet parents who know the love and bond that a human can have with a pet companion.

So, if you're thinking about visiting our support group, come share the experience. I believe that you'll be glad you did. It's the first step in healing for many of us.

Hope to see you at one of our support group gatherings. Call for locations, (210) 216-0920, or e-mail me at sappypetloss@sbcglobal.net.

June 22, 2007

Helpful Resources

The following are some helpful resources, as you begin the journey called, "Grief." I hope these online resources will help you, as much as they helped me. God bless you!

In the beginning, it's very difficult to read books that may help you better understand your grief. It's difficult for some of us, because as you grieve, you do not have the energy to sit and invest in reading. But when you feel that you're ready to review books and other resources made available especially for pet parents like us, these books are excellent resources. I really learned a lot about animal afterlife after reading these books. Our pets will be in heaven. They are part of God's amazing plan.

Books to read:
  • Cold Noses at the Pearly Gates, by Gary Kurtz
  • There is Eternal Life for Animals, by Niki Behrikis-Shanahan
  • The Rainbow Bridge: Pet Loss is Heaven's Gain, by Niki Behrikis-Shanahan
  • Animal Prayer Guide, by Niki Behrikis-Shanahan
  • Will I See Fido in Heaven, by Mary Buddemeyer-Porter
  • Will My Pet go to Heaven? by Steve Wohlberg
  • A Grief Observed, by C.S. Lewis
  • Grieving the Death of a Pet, by Betty J. Carmack

Web sites to visit:

It's another summer without Sappy

It's summertime! For many, it's a time to take a vacation. For some, it's summer school, and for others, it's spending more time outdoors doing fun things like swimming, biking or walking the pets! For me, it's a reminder of the summer that I had to say farewell to my precious little Sappy. This year (2007), it'll mark four years since my fur baby passed away. Sappy would be 18 years old this year. In June of 2003, Sappy was diagnosed with bladder cancer. I still remember the day I received this horrible news from the vet. My whole world caved in on me. I was devastated. I thought to myself, "What? Cancer? No way!" I was in total shock. Never in a million years did I think Sappy would have cancer. I'd heard about others who lost their pets to cancer, but no, not me! This couldn't be happening to us. It was as if I had a bad dream or someone was playing a cruel joke on me. I remember holding Sappy in my arms in the waiting room, just outside of the vet's exam room, when the vet came out and said, "It's cancer. Sappy has cancer." My entire body was numb. I immediately looked at Sappy and he looked at me, as if he understood. I believe he did understand. His eyes became glossy, as he saw mine fill with tears. I can't even begin to tell you what I felt. I was in disbelief.

"Looking back now, I can tell you that my season of grief kicked in."
My husband looked at us and said, "Let's go home. We need a second opinion. It's probably not cancer." We paid our bill, got into our car and drove home. I cried the entire way home, telling my husband, "This can't be! It's can't be!" As tears rolled down my face, and Sappy sitting on my lap. I caressed his little face and kissed him. I told him, "Sappy, it's going to be OK. You do not have cancer. You are healed and Jesus is going to help us. He's going to help us!" My baby boy fell asleep in my arms, knowing that it would be OK. The journey had just begun! The next morning, I took him in for a second opinion. The results were the same. I took him for a third opinion. The results remained the same. I prayed so hard for God to heal him of cancer. I prayed daily with all of my heart, soul, and mind. I prayed constantly. But, I also prayed for God's will.
"And, God's will was to heal Sappy in heaven, not here. God answered my prayer in
a deeper way."
God delivered my precious little dogie of cancer in heaven. I trust that God always knows best and there's always a reason for what happens here on earth. God had a plan! And, my Sappy is no longer physically with me here on earth, but he remains faithfully in my heart for eternity. He's in heaven with God and someday I will be reunited with him. What a day that will be. What an awesome reunion. And, because of his death, the SAPPY Pet Loss & Grief Support Group of San Antonio, got started. This group was organized with every single pet parent who is or has experienced the loss of a precious pet in mind.

This support group is Christian-based. We pray before and after every single gathering. We read bible scripture, and we share the love of Christ in this inner-circle of friends. The reason it's a Christian-based group, is because I'm a Christian woman whose faith and hope is in Jesus Christ. You see, I could have never overcome this great loss in my life, if I didn't have a relationship with Christ. The loss was too big for me to overcome alone. I had to rely on the one who gave me strength, love, mercy, compassion, faith and most of all, the hope I needed to believe that I will see Sappy again. Until then, God has a long list of things for me to do here on earth. And, you're included. I will continue to support pet parents who are grieving, like I once did. I'm here for you! I love you and please know, that you aren't alone. See you at the next support group gathering.

June 18, 2007

The Seasons in Our Lives

There's always a new season that comes! Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. But, have you ever thought about the seasons that come into our own lives? We have seasons of celebration; seaons of sorrow & grief; seasons of illness; and seasons of good health. As we walk through this journey called life, we will experience various circumstances in our lives and in the lives of those we love. When we said, "good-bye" to our precious four-legged friends, we entered in a season of grief. We were numb. We were in shock at the thought that our pets had to die. But, the truth is that our pets have not died. They are in heaven with their creator - with our creator. They are with God. And, one day we will be reunited because of the grace of God sending His son Jesus Christ. He paved the way for you and me.

The good news is our seasons of grief will become seasons of joy and happiness. The season will pass, just like Winter, Summer, Spring and Fall pass us by. It's only for a season. But, through your season of grief, give yourself permission to cry when you need to and honor your furbaby. And, remember, your season will pass, but the memories of your beloved pet will never pass. He or she will live within your heart, forever! May God richly bless you. See you at our next support group gathering.