This was a hard page to write. Even the idea of losing my beloved Spike brings tears to my eyes. And memories of the good old days when I worked at home, and he spent all his time next to me at my feet, and next to my bed at night.

The Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement is a US-based association of professionally trained volunteers in pet bereavement, and is a wonderful website on coping with your loss. It’s free, includes resource directories for Australians, and has a wonderful permanent Honor Roll of Beloved Deceased Companion Animals.

One of the first people you may contact, may be your vet. They play an important part in our dogs’ lives, and would also be sharing our loss. They may not show it on the outside, but inside it’s all there. Remember to support each other.

You would need to contact a pet funeral service, to arrange a memorial, funeral or cremation.

Most will come to your home or vet to collect your companion. You may wish to have him arranged lovingly on his favourite basket, with a comfortable blanket. They will arrange transport, and care, until the funeral or cremation. Other considerations include cremation fees, cremation urn, coffin and certificates.

If you are holding a memorial service, you may wish to consider personalised stationery, video recordings, flowers, a movie/slideshow about his life, favourite songs, prayers and poems. Choose a chapel, or a garden memorial, gazebo.

You may wish to arrange a keepsake, in the form of a pawprint, a lock of hair, or some keepsake jewellery.

There are many wonderful websites where you can leave a loving testimonial to your dog. One I loved was at College of Celebrancy, a long loving story about Kendell the Cavalier.

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge. When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.

The original Rainbow Bridge site is at RainbowBridge.org, with memorials and a gallery. It’s free, although they welcome donations to cover hosting costs. There is a similar site at RainbowBridge.com, although a cost is involved for residency there.