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Animal Lovers comforted by new pet loss CD

August 6, 2009 | By Roberta Beach J. | Category: Pet Products

Our animal companions have become more respected members of our society in recent years. From recognizing that people will not evacuate even a life-threatening situation if they can’t take their animals to realizing that a close bond with an animal can help people heal from both physical and emotional traumas, we’ve come to accept animals not simply as possessions but as friends or even members of our families.

Heal Your Heart: Coping with the Loss of a Pet by Karen Litzinger , MA, LPC, is a newly available CD and booklet combination which helps to guide the pet owner through the process of grieving their lost pet. The CD includes Litzinger, a Licensed Professional Counselor with specialized bereavement training, reading comforting messages, pet-focused affirmations, and even a guided meditation along with comforting accompanying harp music. The booklet provides supportive suggestions, information explaining the stages of grief and resources such as books and hotlines to assist the grieving person.

Heal Your Heart is one of only a handful of audiobooks in the pet loss publishing market.  The unique contribution of the CD is that it goes beyond giving educational information or a personal story.  It contains powerful affirmation statements rooted in cognitive psychology. 

“What makes Litzinger’s Heal Your Heart CD unique to anything that has been published is that it is more than an educational audio book. It is an experiential journey of healing,” states Lorri A. Green, Psychologist and author of Saying Good-bye to the Pet You Love.  "It touches insightfully upon the great loss many of us experience when we lose our pets."

Grieving over the death of your pet used to have people rolling their eyes or seriously suggesting a mental health evaluation because “it” was “just a dog” or “only a cat”, a horribly disrespectful and painful comment to a person already in pain over a loss.

Not so today. Our companion animals are recognized not only for what they can do for us, but also for their own individual needs, personality and style, and so their loss is also recognized as the loss of a distinct individual.

Litzinger wrote the text for the booklet and the readings and designed the entire concept as part of her grief response from her own loss.

“The CD is dedicated to my beloved dog children, Pepper and Zep,” Litzinger says without hesitation. “My inspiration for the Heal Your Heart CD came while driving home from the veterinarian with the cremains of my 15 year old dog, Pepper, who I had had since a puppy from a local rescue league,” Litzinger explains. “I was further motivated on my journey to create this CD when my 13 year old dog, Zep, died just four months after Pepper.”

She originally planned to create something for veterinarians to give grieving clients right after the euthanasia procedure to supplement the personal support and follow-up sympathy card. “I am still planning to develop a small booklet for veterinarians to distribute, but the CD is what I hope will serve grieving pet owners in a more profound way,” she continues. “Just as I found comfort in listening to a special music CD as I grieved for Pepper, I hope that some part of this CD will help in the healing process for others who have lost a pet.

Her loss has not only become the gain of others who will find comfort from her CD and booklet, but also her own gain in finding this new professional outlet. Litzinger is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Pennsylvania, and although her specialty is career counseling, she is expanding her offerings to offer pet bereavement counseling.

She has had a long time interest in pet bereavement. Periodically since 1995, Litzinger has conducted numerous non-denominational animal blessings and memorial services on a personal and professional basis. “I always felt there was more I was destined to do in the field of pet bereavement, so I stayed involved with pet loss bereavement through the years.”

Litzinger attended a weeklong training through the American Academy of Bereavement to become a Certified Bereavement Facilitator. As part of renewing the certification, she did an internship under the direction of a psychologist through the Association of Pet Loss and Bereavement, an organization that hosts on-line chat rooms about the euthanasia decision and pet loss.

The CD and book were positively reviewed by Nancy Peterson of the Humane Society of the United States, noted pet loss authors Lorri A. Green, Moira Allen, and Sherry B. True and animal journalists and writers Darlene Arden and Michelle West. In addition, during the two years Litzinger worked on creating the set, she asked friends and associates to review the product to ensure that the content universally appealed to the greatest number of people.

Producing Heal Your Heart involved multiple Pittsburgh area artists and businesses. Pittsburgh harper, Faith Stenning, played original music composed specifically for the project. The illustration was created by artist Bernadette Kazmarski, whose business includes animal portraiture in addition to illustration, design and writing. Audio recording and engineering was done by Doug Wilkin of Wilkin Audio in Regent Square. The CD was designed and manufactured by Red Caiman Media located in downtown Pittsburgh.

More information on the CD including reviews and excerpts as well as further resources for healing from pet loss can be found at www.HealFromPetLoss.com.
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