I got my first pet in August 2012. Ren, a Chihuahua, quickly became my “baby,” and I loved him with all my heart. He suddenly died in a tragic accident in April 2016 that completely upended my world.
After that, I became more interested in religion/spirituality, and where pets fit into this. I want to believe that Ren is still around somewhere, and that I will see him again. (I am Lutheran – a Christian denomination – but am interested in what all faiths have to say about this.) I also wanted to help others going through the same thing as me.
After learning that there is such a thing as a “Pet Chaplain” or “Animal Chaplain,” I knew that this was something I wanted to do, so that I can help other people and their pets. This is an emerging field that can involve a variety of services, such as pet blessings. It also means conducting pet funerals and memorial services, and possibly counselling bereaved pet owners. I decided that in addition to pursuing this role, I wanted to write and talk about it too, so I started this website and YouTube channel.
I started small, taking a course from Chaplain Karen at AnimalChaplain.info and earning a “Certificate of Completion in Pet Bereavement.”
Then I applied, and was accepted, into the Animal Chaplain program at the Emerson Theological Institute, a non-denominational New Thought program. I am currently taking coursework to earn the “Animal Bereavement Facilitator Credential.” My ultimate goal is to then complete the additional requirements from Emerson which will allow me to become ordained as a non-denominational Chaplain. This means I can serve people of all faiths.
I still have a “day job” as a librarian and don’t have plans to give it up. But even if I don’t make a living from being an Animal Chaplain, even if it doesn’t become a full-time career, it’s still something I want to do. Being able to help pets and their people will be rewarding and fulfilling on its own.