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  • Writer's pictureLiz Weiner

Prompts for Writing Your Pet’s Story After Loss — Healing Through Writing

Updated: Feb 16



In my experience, losing my dog was the most painful loss I’ve ever experienced, even more so than losing a parent. This isn’t the case for everyone, and this isn’t the case for every pet. Like any other connection, our relationship with each pet is unique.


I am a strong believer in the power of writing to heal. To release the painful thoughts running on repeat in your head. To understand your feelings. To document the minutia of your memories before they slowly fade with time (and they will). To keep your relationship and memories alive.


Be compassionate with yourself during the writing process. Understand that you may not yet be in a place to write, and that’s normal. Perhaps your loss is too raw. By forcing yourself to remember — to go there — you risk re-traumatizing yourself.


At first, you may only have the emotional capacity to jot down a few memories in short increments of time. When the memories feel too heavy, returning to your writing days or even months later is normal. The style and timing of your writing are not important, but the act of writing is. Different forms of writing include writing a letter to your pet, or an essay about your life together.


It is important to remember that not everyone will experience writing as re-traumatizing. The time you are ready to write has nothing to do with the strength of your relationship. We are individuals who uniquely process emotions.


If writing is not your thing, artwork can also be healing - a scrapbook, photo album, collage, painting, working with clay...just to name a few.


Below are some questions you may want to ask yourself when writing about your pet.


Prompts:

Where did your pet come from?


What was your “Gotcha Day” like?


How was the adjustment period? Did you experience any struggles in the beginning, or did your pet slide right into the fabric of your life?


What was going on in your life when your pet came into it?


What are some of your earliest memories of your pet?


How would you describe your relationship? Was it love at first sight? Complicated? Challening at first?


How did your relationship change over the years?


What life events did your pet witness? (marriage, divorce, kids, move, family death, etc).


What event(s) wouldn’t you have gotten through without your pet's support?


What lessons did your pet teach you?


What were some of your pet’s unique quirks?


Did your pet have a nickname?


What was your pet's favorite toy?


Did your pet snore?


What was your favorite activity to do together? (i.e., walks, hiking, trips to PetSmart, visiting family/friends, car rides, throwing sticks in the lake, etc.)


If your dog had doggie friends, what were some of those relationships like?


What was your pet’s favorite food?


Where did your pet sleep?


What were some of your pet’s special toys?


Do you have any regrets or wish for moments of “do-overs?”


What is your best memory? What is your worst?


What do you miss the most about your pet?


What caused your pet’s death?


How did you say goodbye?


How did losing your pet impact your life?


What do you do to keep your pet’s memory alive?


If you would like to share your work, please email me at lizweinerwrites@gmail.com


Good luck on your writing journey!


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