It doesn’t matter if you lose a pet unexpectedly or you could see it coming months ahead, it’s difficult to lose an animal. For weeks, you may automatically go to the pantry to grab a can of food for your cat before realizing that food is no longer needed. It will feel odd going for walks without your faithful companion on a leash by your side.
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And you might find yourself waking up at night, listening for the sounds of your pet moving throughout the house before you tearfully realize that your companion is gone.
Others, too, have hurt from the loss of a pet. Thankfully, some of those people are poets. They can describe in a few short words the depth of grief that comes from an animal dying.
Here are some poems we‘ve found about losing a pet. Some of them were written by professional poets and others by amateurs. If you choose to use the full text of the poem for a memorial service or to engrave on a stone, make sure you give credit to the author.
Poems About Losing a Dog
No matter what stage of grief you are in after losing a pet, you may receive comfort by reading poetry or listening to music about animals. Here are some poems written specifically about dogs. We hope you find them helpful.
1. “Epitaph to a Dog” by Lord Byron
English poet Lord Byron wrote a touching poem about his Newfoundland called Boatswain. Boatswain died of rabies, and Byron wrote a beautiful poem to honor him called “Epitaph to a Dog.”
Byron also erected a monument in honor of his dog and had the poem inscribed on it. He lauds his pet’s qualities, even going as far as to say that Boatswain had “all the virtues of Man without his Vices.” It’s interesting to note that Boatswain’s monument ended up being bigger than Byron’s own gravestone.
2. “To Flush, My Dog” by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Elizabeth Barrett Browning describes how faithful Flush was to her as a life-long invalid. While other dogs would have the opportunity to scamper and play, Flush seemed pleased to be at the side of his poet master. Browning goes on to write about how happy she is to spoil her faithful companion. Many people feel the same way about their pets.
3. “Four Feet” by Rudyard Kipling
Known as being the author of The Jungle Book, Rudyard Kipling wrote a poem about his pet called “Four Feet.” Kipling describes the loss of what we assume is a dog in this poem. He writes, “but I can’t forget, if I wanted to, Four-Feet trotting behind.”
If you recently lost your dog, you may feel as if you are missing your constant companion who followed you from room to room.
4. “A Good Dog Never Dies” by Anonymous
This short poem describes the odd feeling that you may have when going for a walk without your dog. Even if your faithful companion has gone to dog heaven, you may feel “his head within our hand in his old way.”
5. “Treasured Friend” by Anonymous
Besides being sad at the loss of a pet, you may feel grateful as well. The speaker in the poem “Treasured Friend” describes crying happy tears.” I thank him for the happy years
He let her spend down here with me. And for her love and loyalty.”
6. “A Little Dog Angel” by Noah M. Holland
This sweet poem is about a dog that waits at the gates of Heaven for his owner to arrive. Perhaps you will have several dogs waiting for you in the afterlife.
7. “No More Tears” by John Quealy
The speaker in the poem “No More Tears” is a deceased dog. The dog instructs its owner to remember the good times that they had together and asks the human to quit being sad.
Perhaps looking through past photos of your dog will help as you mourn the loss of your pet.
Poems About Losing a Cat
Have you recently lost a cat? You may consider looking for books about losing a pet to help you in your grief. Find one written by a grief expert and animal lover.
Here are some poems that may bring you solace as well.
8. “Golden Eyes” by Carole Walker
This poem by Carole Walker begins, “When golden eyes no longer glow / and we both know it’s time to go,”
It’s difficult knowing that your pet may be in pain. If you found yourself in a position of having to euthanize your cat, this poem will give you peace.
9. “Four Feet in Heaven” by Alice E. Chase
“Four Feet in Heaven” describes having to put away the bowl of a deceased pet. While sad at having lost a pet, the speaker in this poem receives comfort, knowing that her pet is experiencing the afterlife in Heaven.
10. “Cat Poem” by Linda Barnes
Even though the name of this poem is rather plain, it discusses eventually getting a new cat friend—not as a replacement of the cat that was lost but as a new companion.
11. “On the Death of a Cat” by Georgina Rosetti
This poem is written as an ode to a cat named Grimalkin. Grimalkin killed mice, rats, and birds, but she was not strong enough to live through the birth of her kitten.
12. “Ode on the Death of a Favourite Cat Drowned in a Tub of Goldfishes” by Thomas Gray
This strangely-specific poem describes the death of a cat as it tries to catch a goldfish in a pond.
13. “Heavenly Nap” by Ron Tranmer
In “Heavenly Nap,” Ron Tranmer describes how his cat lived nine lives with him, but then is living his tenth (and eternal) life in Heaven.
14. “Cat Loss Poem: Padding to the Other Side” by Anonymous
The speaker in this poem is a deceased cat. The cat addresses its “soul human” in this poem and tells its owner that he now has a “cat watcher” looking down from Heaven.
Poems About Losing a Different Animal
We know that losing a pet, no matter what type, is difficult. Here are some verses about loss that may give you comfort.
15. “They Will Not Go Quietly” by Anonymous
We love the poem titled “They Will Not Go Quietly.” For one thing, the poem mentions the loss of a pet, but it doesn’t name a specific animal. Also, we like that his poem describes the habits that we go through, even after pets are gone. Finally, it speaks about the despair we feel when coming home to a now-empty house.
16. “May I Go Now?” by Susan A. Jackson
The speaker of “May I Go Now?” could actually be a person on his deathbed, asking for permission to let go. But, the author, Susan A. Jackson, made a note that this particular poem was inspired by the death of a beloved pet and friend.
The last stanza says:
So hold me now just one more time
and let me hear you say,
because you care so much for me,
you’ll let me go today.
17. “I’m Still Here” by Chelsea Hanson
Although this poem doesn’t specifically mention the death of a pet, the speaker in this poem is a deceased loved one. This speaker reminds us all that we can hear whispers of our loved one when spending time in nature.
18. “Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep” by Mary Elizabeth Frye
This is one of the most famous poems about grief and death. Even though it does not specifically mention the end of an animal, it does talk about how mourners should look for signs of their loved ones in nature.
Mary Elizabeth Frye uses the refrain “I am” to describe all the places the deceased is instead of being in a grave.
19. “Paw Prints on Your Heart” by Anonymous
You know that someday you will lose your animal companion. Even though we know that the end will come, we choose to let these special friends enter our lives. This poem describes how our pets leave paw prints on our hearts.
20. “There’s An Empty Space Where You Used to Lay” by Christie Ann Martine
This poem by Christie Ann Martine describes the “pain in my heart that won’t go away.” Of course, Martine is describing the loss of a pet, but no specific animal is mentioned.
You may consider buying a print of this poem to give to someone who recently lost a pet.
21. “The Rainbow Bridge” by Paul C. Dahm
Most of you have heard the concept of the rainbow bridge. It describes the idea that a pet enters into a happy afterlife while it waits for its owner to join the pet in the future.
There seems to be some controversy on who first came up with this concept. Paul C. Dahm is a grief counselor who wrote and published a poem about the rainbow bridge within the last several decades.
Find Peace Through Poetry
Let yourself go through the stages of grief after you lose a pet. We hope that some of these poems help you, but you may also look for other ideas to commemorate the life of a special animal.