Pet Loss Poems
Perhaps the most well-known poem about pet loss is “Rainbow Bridge”; in fact, many ask us to use it as part of their pet's funeral or memorial service. Considered not true poetry, but rather poetic prose; it begins, “Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge...” and promises us a joyful reunion with our pets. Pet loss poems like this one speak to us at the heart level. Through vivid imagery and emotive words they bring us emotional release and a sense of peace. Another popular pet loss poem is “Treasured Friend”, attributed only to “Anonymous”:
I lost a treasured friend today
The little dog who used to lay
Her gentle head upon my knee
And shared her silent thoughts with me.
She’ll come no longer to my call
Retrieve no more her favourite ball
A voice far greater than my own
Has called her to his golden throne.
Although my eyes are filled with tears
I thank him for the happy years
He let her spend down here with me
And for her love and loyalty.
When it is time for me to go
And join her there, this much I know
I shall not fear the transient dark
For she will greet me with a bark.
Because we recognize the power within a pet loss poem to heal broken hearts and brighten our outlook; we've included the two most-appreciated pet loss poems we've come across over the years. (And to help you tap into your creative side, we've also included insights and tips on how to write poetry.)
If you do an Internet search for "pet loss poems" you'll discover that many poems written after the death of a beloved father, mother, sister, brother or spouse are equally meaningful to those grieving pet loss. Consider the poem "Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep", written in 1932 by Mary Frye:
Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.
When we work together with a family to plan for a pet memorial service, we often suggest the event close with the beautiful "Prayer for Animals", written by Dr. Albert Schweitzer. While not a typical pet loss poem, it certainly captures our heart's deepest desire for compassionate care for all animals; and reinforces the personal commitment to humane animal care for all who hear its words:
Hear our humble prayer,
for our friends, the animals,
especially for those who are suffering;
for any that are lost or deserted
or frightened or hungry.
We entreat for them all
Thy mercy and pity,
and for those who deal with them,
we ask a heart of compassion
and gentle hands and kindly words.
Make us, ourselves,
to be true friends to animals
and so to share
of the merciful.
How to Write a Poem
The above examples of pet loss poems may be enough to inspire you to learn how to write a poem (and we think Schweitzer's “Prayer for the Animals” give you a fine foundation to write a prayer on behalf of your beloved pet). You don't have to be William Shakespeare, Robert Frost, Maya Angelou, or Emily Dickinson to try your hand at poetry-writing. All you need is some time, a pen or pencil and a sheet of paper.
The authors of the WikiHow article, “How to Write a Poem” offer these poetry-writing tips:
Never block your feelings as they are the fuel for your creativity.
Stay relaxed, and don't over think your work. Just let the words flow.
Don't get hung up on whether or not your words rhyme.
After all, there are many famous styles of non-rhyming poetry; consider Japanese haiku, free verse and blank verse poetry. Then there's concrete poetry (also called shape poetry) which strives to create an image through the placement of the words. If you were writing a pet loss poem about your dog, for example, you'd attempt to shape the words so they visually portray a dog. (For more information on concrete poetry, visit the Your Dictionary page, "Examples of Concrete Poems".)
In the Writer's Digest 2010 blog post "10 Essential Rules of Poetry", Robert Lee Brewer suggests the following rules for those of us willing to experiment with poetry. First and foremost, he tells us to "keep the poetry coming. To excel at writing poetry, you need to flex your poetic muscles daily, even if it's just revising an earlier work."
He also advises that we experiment with our words. He asks readers "Is there a poetic rule you just don't like?", and then advises us to "Try breaking it." For many, the rule that poetry must rhyme is the first rule they want to break (and as we've seen, good poetry doesn't necessarily have to rhyme).
And finally, he asks that fledgling poets "share your work". "Give your poems to friends and family as gifts." Certainly, a collection of your pet loss poems could become a memorial to your beloved pet. (Use a print-on-demand publisher like Lulu or Blurb to print a sufficient number of copies of your volume for gift-giving.)
Here are some other poetry-writing tips from experienced poets:
Like any writing exercise, you want to think before you put pen to paper. What you want to achieve with your pet loss poetry. Are you simply trying to grieve creatively? Or do you hope one day to share your pet loss poems with others? If so, where and how will you share your work?
Take time to find the essential inspirational spark. It could be a line or two of verse, a snippet of a song, a treasured photograph of you and your pet, or a vivid memory.
Write down all the words that bubble up from your heart's well-spring.
Choose the right words---the most expressive words--- from this list. “Think of the words you use as building blocks”, advise the WikiHow authors, “of different sizes and shapes. Some words will fit together perfectly, and some won't. You want to keep working at your poem until you have built a strong structure of words.”
In the End
Pet loss poems abound on the Internet. To find pet loss poetry online, just “Google” the search term, “pet loss poems” and you're sure to find emotive pet loss poetry which you can use, either in your pet's memorial service, or as inspiration for your own poetry-writing efforts. Do you have an especially meaningful pet loss poem you'd like to share with us? If so, please connect with us by email or phone at 916-348-4000.
WikiHow, "How to Write a Poem", accessed 2014
Your Dictionary, "Examples of Concrete Poems", accessed 2014
Brewer, Robert, "10 Essential Rules of Poetry", Writer's Digest, 2010, accessed 2014