Dealing with the death of a companion animal can be as difficult and often more emotional than mourning the loss of a family member. Dr. Stephanie Koempel has created a website, Honoring the Human-Animal Bond.com, that will help mourners through their grieving process. Her goal for this site is to create a community of like-minded animal lovers to share their memories, their joys, and even their sorrows about the loss of a beloved cat, dog, or other companion animal.
“I’ve always wanted to change the image of ‘crazy cat lady’ into one of ‘compassionate cat lady’…Honoring the Human-Animal Bond site is an extension of my work in counseling pet owners who have experienced their pet going somewhere over the Rainbow Bridge.”
Honoring the Human-Animal Bond will have several areas for interactions between members as well as Dr. Koempel. There is a warm, welcoming home page, a short bio about Dr. Koempel and her work, a blog, contact page, a gallery, and The Pet Connection, a forum where you can share your stories and sorrows.
“I hope that this site will help you find some comfort through honoring the lives of your beloved pets and offering a safe, supportive, and nonjudgmental environment in which to do so. I hope everyone will join us now as we stand united together on the Rainbow Bridge. Let us take a step back and share what the portrait of our lives once looked like when it was graced with the presence of our companion animals.”
Dr. Koempel feels most peaceful when in the presence of her 12 rescue cats and most passionate when advocating for the feral cat population. She has personally grieved 7 of her own companion animal deaths. She is Director of a University Counseling Center, a Licensed Professional Counselor, Licensed Clinical Alcohol and Drug Counselor, private mental health practitioner, and professor. She also consults on the topic of pet grief and helps pet owners to begin processing the pain and healing the wounds that arise from the death of a beloved companion animal.
You can find advice, comfort, and a place to share your own stories on Twitter (@HumAnimalBond) and Facebook as well as on the web site.