I’m compiling several pages of diverse resources for people who have lost an assistance dog. Some of these resources will also be relevant to people who have lost pet/companion dogs. Information will also be provided for people who are not assistance-dog partners but want to know how to support grieving partners who have lost their dogs.
There are several pages under construction that are not yet listed below.
But the pages and posts listed below have working links and should be a beginning for you.
Please check back if what you are seeking isn’t here, or subscribe to the blog, as I will post announcements when new Grief Resource pages are added.
- A list, with descriptions, of After Gadget posts specifically about grieving, Gadget’s fight with cancer, Gadget’s death, anticipatory grief, and other bereavement-related posts.
- The International Association of Assistance Dog Partners (IAADP) has resources for members. Find articles on retiring an assistance dog, on helping a retired dog adapt to a successor dog, on caring for a geriatric assistance dog, and resources for assistance dog retirement and grief support in Issue 17, Number 1 & 2, which is available on the IAADP website in the newsletter archives. The articles mentioned can be found on pages 25 through 28. This is the PDF format (with photos). This is the WPD format (no photos). Or you can download it as a Word document at the archive page.
- IAADP is also starting a monthly phone group for people who are facing the loss, or have recently lost, their assistance dog due to retirement or death. Want to find out more? Here’s a recent post on the topic.
- Three Steps to Dealing with Second Dog Syndrome is a post by psychologist and long-time guide dog partner, Katherine Schneider about the feelings of loss and frustration that often arise with a successor assistance dog (whether it’s your second assistance dog or your fifth) and how to accept and move through these difficult feelings.
- The Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement (APLB) used to have a service dog committee that was specifically for support of assistance dog partners dealing with the retirement or death of their canine partner (both anticipatory grief and grief after-the-fact). They had an excellent page on the unique issues associated with assistance dog loss, as well as an online chat. Unfortunately, these services are no longer available. However, it’s still possible to access their terrific page describing assistance dog loss issues through a cache-retrieval site called “The Way Back Machine.” When Gadget was dying, I printed out and mailed this page to my therapist, who knew nothing of assistance dog issues, and she found it very helpful. Here it is: Cached page from APLB, May 2007 on Bereavement for Service Dogs. While the phone numbers and links (names, email addresses, events) are not current, the information about what it means to lose an assistance dog or end a partnership is timeless. I recommend giving copies to family, friends, coworkers, or counselors who are willing to learn more about the unique issues in losing an assistance dog through death or retirement. I also recommend this page to assistance dog partners, themselves, as it can be very validating about what you’re going through.
- This international website allows you to light a virtual candle in memory of a loved one — yours, or someone else’s — that will “burn” for 48 hours. The website gives you a pause screen to reflect before you light the candle, and you can also include a note, as well as send the link to the bereaved if you’ve lit the candle for them. I’m not usually a “light a candle” type of gal, but when someone lit a candle for Gadget there on my behalf, and I went to see it, I was moved. This site is very tasteful, done very nicely.
- Jewish Resources for Mourning a Dog, including an animal-inclusive Mourner’s Kaddish.