Q&A: Dealing with Grief (for Humans and Animals)

Our experts offer advice for how to help heal bereaved pets (and people).

We received a question from a reader asking for advice on how to deal with both her own and her dog’s grief. Our reader asked about crystals in particular, but many other complementary therapies can help as well, and since loss and grief is unfortunately something we all have to deal with at some point in our lives, we wanted to share this with you, so that you have several options and can select a method that resonates with you.

Q: Crystals for healing bereaved pets?
The daughter of my remaining dog died suddenly and unexpectedly a few days ago. They had never been apart for any period of time. Both she and I miss her very much. I’m drawn to rose quartz for the both of us and I’m using rescue remedy spray. Can you suggest a better or additional crystal mix for her please?

Caroline ThomasCaroline Thomas, Hoof and Paw Emotional Healing for Animals:

Honeysuckle and walnut flower essences. Star of Bethlehem is in Rescue Remedy Spray so I would leave it at that. Less is more and the flower essences together with the rose quartz will make a very good combination.

Karen RyanKaren Ryan, The Crystal Tiger:

When a beloved pet is no longer with us, we can often experience intense loss and sorrow. Over the years they are with us, we make an honest emotional investment with our pets. We bond with them. We tell them that we love them. We look after buying their foods, feeding them, caring for them when ill and looking after their needs. We play with them, talk to them, snuggle with them and enjoy their companionship in many ways. We are often deeply committed and genuine in loving them. We form attachment to them and receive gratification when they purr, lick our hand or raise their eyes to meet ours. When they are gone, the strands that bind us to them at the Heart Chakra level are severed and we feel pain and loss.

Crystals help to heal the ends of the threads that have been severed. A Rose Quartz crystal worn at the Heart Chakra energy centre, located mid-way on the sternum is helpful in that it is soothing to the rawness of the loss. However, sometimes we just can’t seem to release our grief fast enough. To use the crystal for more active healing, hold the Rose Quartz crystal the width of one hand (about 4-6 inches) away from your Heart Chakra and rotate it slowly clockwise in a circle of about 4-6 inches wide. The energy matrix of the Rose Quartz will help heal those jagged ends of the heartstrings. Continue to rotate slowly around the Heart Chakra for 21 turns, then draw the crystal out and away quickly from your heart as if discarding all unwanted feelings. You may feel a bit of shock doing this but it will help speed up the grieving process by both healing the Heart Chakra and releasing grief and clinging to the past. Release the grief and keep the memory and the love you shared with your beloved alive.

Other crystals that are soothing to the Heart include Amber, Jade, Snow Quartz, Clear Quartz, Amethyst and pink crystals such as Kunzite, Rhodonite and Rhodochrosite. I could write a whole chapter for grieving pet owners. However, it is up to each person to find peace in their Heart.

Shirley-MooreShirley Moore, Save A Dog:

Homeopathic ignatia is the #1 grief remedy. Boiron makes it and it’s readily available at Whole Foods and Vitamin Shoppe.


Cattie Coyle and SadieCattie Coyle, Animal Wellness Guide:

Essential oils can be a big help with emotional issues. A few to offer here would be Rose Otto, Vanilla, Angelica and Yarrow for the trauma, and Neroli, Hemp, Hops, Valerian and Vetiver for the grief and separation and to get emotional release (rose can help with this too). Offer the oils in the bottle one at a time and hold them in front of your dog at a little bit of a distance, like you would offer a guest a platter of cookies. If a dog is interested in an oil, they will sometimes move closer and sniff the bottle, but not always; other signs of them taking it in is licking the air, sighing, looking thoughtful. They adjust the strength of the oil by moving closer or further away from it, or by turning their head. If your dog turns her head and licks the air, that means she is selecting and taking in this oil, in the exact amount that she needs / wants. Keep the oil where it is until your dog shows you that she is done with it (dogs usually do this by turning away, moving to the other side of the room, or leaving the room altogether).

It’s important to let her take her time and process each oil, and to never force the oil on her (don’t put it on her, or in anything she consumes, or on any of her toys etc. Imagine being stuck with a perfume you hate and not being able to get away from it). Once you have discovered which of the oils she wants, offer them every evening until you notice a difference in your dog. Make sure you do this in a quiet environment and don’t break her concentration by talking to or petting her. I know this is difficult, but in order for your dog to process the oils, it’s important that she is uninterrupted. It’s ok to pet her if she seeks your comfort or climbs up in your lap.

Kathleen-PrasadKathleen Prasad, Animal Reiki Source & SARA:

Grief is a natural part of our processing when a beloved animal dies. One of my favorite ways to heal grief is by shifting my focus out of sadness to gratitude. Sadness is heavy, gratitude is light. Sadness is small, gratitude is expansive. Try the below meditation as a healing way to help support your journey through grief.

Healing Grief Reiki Meditation: Being Gratitude

Sit in a comfortable position, spine straight, with your shoulders and arms relaxed. Relax your entire body as you breathe deeply a few times. Imagine there are roots growing down from the base of your spine, deep and wide into the earth. Imagine that the powerful, grounding energy of the earth can flow up these roots into your heart center, giving you stability and peace.

Take 10 breaths, and on each in-breath, feel the earth energy coming up into your heart. On each out-breath, release any disturbing emotions you may feel inside you. With each successive breath, feel more and more stillness and stability within you. Once you have completed the 10 breaths, allow yourself to sit for several minutes in the space of earth energy and stability that you have created with your breath.

Once you feel yourself fully calm and connected to the earth, bring the animal you are grieving to your mind. Allow yourself to think about the experiences you’ve had with your animal for which you are grateful. Focus on the parts of his or her unique being that brought so much to your life. Imagine that your heart can expand out of your body, creating a beautiful state of gratitude all around you. Imagine that within this heart space, all is perfect and balanced, all is One, you are never separated. Love never dies, and gratitude helps us remember this. Feel gratitude enveloping your heart and connecting you to your animal through time and space, easily and completely. Continue to breathe the calm and strength of earth energy into your heart as you bask in this healing space of gratitude for your animal.

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