Us Pet Parents are a remarkable and interesting group, a group that I consider a privilege to be a member of. There’s nothing quite like the connection between people when you get them talking about their pets. Eyes light up, smiles widen, and hearts soften for the terrific tails of the pets who’ve put their paw prints all over our hearts. It’s a community I would never wish to break away from, and yet grieving pet parents will often struggle with feeling distanced from the animal world after losing a beloved pet. Pets are not only a huge part of our world, for many of us they are tied very deeply with our identity, and “who we are”. When we lose them, we sometimes may feel like we are losing a part of our identity as well. Staying involved in the animal community is essential for many pet lovers. “I’m just not ready for another pet yet” a friend shared with me recently “but I miss feeling a part of the ‘world of dogs’”. I suggested she get connected with a local animal shelter or rescue to find the right way for her to get involved. Maybe it’s volunteering to walk dogs, or sitting and socializing with the cats. After losing my own beautiful black cat, Dora, I found fostering kittens to be an incredibly impactful way to begin to open my home and heart up again, all the while providing a temporary haven for these little babes to grow up in before finding their own forever homes. For others, the best way to feel connected is by participating in local community events!
Once a month, The Pet Loss Center Tampa teams up with Hops and Props tap house in support of our partners at Friends of Strays Animal Shelter. This incredible organization has been dedicated to the care and adoption of homeless pets since 1978. These Hops and Paws events not only benefit their wonderful work, but also serve as a great way for pet parents and animal lovers to gather together in community and celebration. Participating for a great cause is a wonderful way to still feel included, surrounded by others who just “get it.” A safe place for pet parents to share their stories. Adoptable dogs are in attendance to, for those who are ready to add another furry member to the family, or to offer cuddles, wags and kisses to any who are in need. Once you have truly loved an animal, you are forever changed and there’s no going back! So give yourself the permission to stay involved regardless of where you are on your journey. As the saying goes “Adopt. If you can’t adopt, FOSTER. If you can’t foster, SPONSOR. If you can’t sponsor, DONATE. If you can’t donate, EDUCATE! Follow our Facebook page to stay connected with us and all the local events we’d love to share with you. See you there!