Are you mourning the recent loss of a pet? Or struggling to offer condolences to a friend who recently lost their beloved pet?
Overview: Our Top Picks
Books for Adults
- The Pet Loss Companion by Dolan-Del Vecchio and Nancy Saxton-Lopez ($12.95)
- Goodbye, Friend by Gary Kowalski ($11.19)
- Signs from Pets in the Afterlife by Lyn Ragan ($8.71)
- Soul Comfort for Cat Lovers by Liz Eastwood ($12.95)
- Cold Noses at the Pearly Gates by Gary Kurz ($8.56)
- The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein ($24.36)
- Devoted by Rebecca Ascher-Walsh ($11.56)
Books for Children
- Dog Heaven by Cynthia Ryland ($11.99)
- The Rainbow Bridge by Adrian Raeside ($9.99)
- I'll Always Love You by Hans Wilhelm ($7.99)
- When a Pet Dies by Fred Rogers ($6.99)
- Heaven of Animals by Nancy Tillman ($14.29)
- The Invisible String by Patrice Karst and Joanne Lew-Vriethoff ($8.99)
- For Every Dog an Angel by Christine Davis ($12.95)
Jump ahead to these sections:
If you have recently lost a furry friend, you may find comfort in some else's words. Try reading a book by someone who has gone through this struggle. Or consider gifting one to help a grieving friend.
These are 14 of the best pet loss books. They may help bring comfort during a difficult time.
Some of these books offer suggestions on how to grieve the loss of a pet. Others are stories that celebrate animals. Choose the book carefully, especially if you are using it as a gift. You don’t want to open old wounds in your attempt to offer solace.
Even if you are purchasing a book for adults, it is encouraged that you check out the second part of the list. Children’s books can be more accessible, and easier to manage, in a difficult period.
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1. The Pet Loss Companion: Healing Advice from Family Therapists Who Lead Pet Loss Groups by Dolan-Del Vecchio and Ken and Nancy Saxton-Lopez
The authors of The Pet Loss Companion are licensed social workers and family therapists. And both authors lead pet loss therapy groups. Readers rate this book highly. It is a good tool to assist those going through the stages of grief.
This book is helpful for those feeling alone in their mourning. Countless reviews mention the relief of knowing that “they were not alone.” The book offers practical advice on how to get through grief. It also helps you decide if you are ready for another pet.
2. Goodbye, Friend: Healing Wisdom for Anyone Who Has Ever Lost a Pet by Gary Kowalski
Goodbye, Friend is written by a Unitarian Congregation of Taos Minister. It has advice on how to cope with the loss of a pet. It offers several spiritual practices that can help healing progress.
It includes practical advice for someone who is grieving. And you can read heartwarming stories and poems about our four-legged friends. This is the perfect book for those mourning their animal friends.
3. Signs from Pets in the Afterlife: Identifying Messages from Pets in Heaven by Lyn Ragan
In Signs from Pets in the Afterlife, author Lyn Ragan suggests that our deceased pets are trying to communicate with us from Heaven. We must learn to speak what Ragan calls the “Language of Spirit”. Once we learn this language the lines of communication can open. And we will see the signs, messages, and signals from our pets that are in the afterlife.
If you have sensed the presence of your deceased pet, you will particularly enjoy this book. If you haven’t had the experience, you will know what signs to look for as you continue through the stages of your grief.
4. Soul Comfort for Cat Lovers: Coping Wisdom for Heart and Soul After the Loss of a Beloved Feline by Liz Eastwood
Written by the founder of the Natural Cat Care Blog. Soul Comfort for Cat Lovers shares advice on how to heal after the loss of a cat.
Eastwood encourages people to take time to mourn and to consider grief counseling. She also urges mourners to perform symbolic gestures. She suggests making an altar or lighting a candle to help you work through your pain.
Although this book is written about cats, it may also assist people who lost other types of pets.
5. Cold Noses at the Pearly Gates: A Book of Hope for Those Who Have Lost a Pet by Gary Kurz
Written by a Biblical scholar, Cold Noses at the Pearly Gates works to prove that there are pets in Heaven. Kurz attempts to answer questions about animals and the afterlife.
This book works through the philosophical issues involving pets and the afterlife. And it includes a 30-day devotional to help Christians work through their grief.
6. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
Told from a dog’s perspective, The Art of Racing in the Rain tells the story of Enzo the dog and his human companions. This book will be a good reminder of how special an owner/pet relationship is. This book is for people who wonder what is going on in their dogs’ minds. The dog’s voice is delightfully both human and canine.
This may not be the book to read immediately following the death of your dog. But you may enjoy it after you heal.
7. Devoted: 38 Extraordinary Tales of Love, Loyalty and Life With Dogs by Rebecca Ascher-Walsh
Devoted is a celebration of man’s best friend. The collection of stories is about inspiring dogs. You can read about dogs that comforted veterans, detected cancer and learned how to surf. The book also features fantastic photographs.
This book isn’t implicitly about losing a dog. But it’s inspiring stories may uplift a person’s spirit.
Although most of these books are about losing a pet, some are more general. You may want to review the content before reading it aloud to your child. That way you can make sure it is age-appropriate.
8. Dog Heaven by Cynthia Ryland
This is the perfect book to give a child who just lost a dog. A child will be comforted knowing that their beloved pet is in a happier place.
9. The Rainbow Bridge by Adrian Raeside
The Rainbow Bridge tells the story of seven-year-old Rick, who loses his beloved pet. One night, Rick magically gains access to dog heaven, where he sees his dog having a great time. Children will enjoy this story and its beautiful illustrations.
This is also the perfect gift for an adult who is struggling with the loss of a pet.
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10. I’ll Always Love You by Hans Wilhelm
Lovers of dachshunds will especially appreciate this gentle, moving story. Read along as a family goes through the grieving process after losing their dog, Elfie.
I'll Always Love You also includes instructions on how to make a picture frame to hold a photograph of a loved one. Children may appreciate the opportunity to create something to honor their deceased pet.
11. When a Pet Dies by Fred Rogers
Leave it to Mr. Rogers to write an excellent book about death for kids. In When a Pet Dies, Mr. Rogers explains death in his gentle, loving way. He writes about the emotions a child feels at the loss of a pet. And he assures them their hurt will ease over time.
This book is an excellent choice for preschoolers. The photos can feel dated, but the message is still timely.
12. The Heaven of Animals by Nancy Tillman
Nancy Tillman writes about the heartbreaking loss of a pet. She also offers comfort by describing the afterlife waiting for our favorite pets.
All types of animals are depicted living together in the Heaven of Animals. The cover only features a dog and a cat, but many pets grace the pages.
13. Invisible String by Patrice Karst and Joanne Lew-Vriethoff
This book is not specifically about the loss of an animal. But The Invisible String talks about the special connection we have with people even when they are gone.
This book could be used to help a child grieve the loss of a pet. The idea of separation can be applied to a variety of situations.
14. For Every Dog an Angel by Christine Davis
In For Every Dog an Angel, Davis imagines every dog is assigned a guardian angel. That angle acts as a dog's companion. The angel stays with the dog until it meets its “forever person.” This person remains connected to the dog forever, even after the dog passes on to the afterlife.
This book is the perfect condolence gift for a family who is grieving the loss of a dog.
Try several of these titles to help you through the pain of losing a pet. If you enjoyed a particular book, keep it in mind to share with others in their time of grief.