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Dr. Mary Ann O’Connor

In 1990, Dr. Mary Ann O’Connor, a Rochester, NY Gestalt psychotherapist who specializes in grief therapy, wrote and published a booklet, Healing the Hurt Through Goodbye, which has helped a great number of people better understand their grief and cope with the death of a beloved pet. Depression, anxiety, various physical symptoms, and alcohol abuse are a few of the many symptoms associated with unresolved grief.

An animal lover since childhood, Dr O'Connor believes the loss of a pet can be a traumatic and decisive experience in life. Grief therapy for the loss of a pet can help people significantly, not only to grieve this important loss fully but also to learn effective ways to deal with many kinds of loss that are part of the grief process.

Dr. O'Connor works in Rochester, New York as a private clinician. She is available for consultation in person or by phone. If you have questions you would like to ask, her e-mail address is moconno9@rochester.rr.com or phone at 585-256-1466.

Dr. O’Connor has graciously allowed her booklet to be scanned and made available on this website. However, since the booklet is printed with tan ink on ivory paper, the scanned version may prove difficult to read by some viewers. Consequently, a re-typed version of the booklet is available by clicking here. The illustrations by Gary Snyder in the actual booklet were not able to be included in this version. Meanwhile the original booklet, complete with illustrations by Gary Snyder, may be accessed below.

The link below is in Adobe Acrobat File Format. If you do not already have this application it can be downloaded for Free by clicking here. This is a large file and may take several minutes to load, depending on your Internet connection speed. Once loaded you may wish to increase the viewing size to 100% or more to make it easier to read.

Healing the Hurt Through Goodbye (pdf 3MB)

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Suggested Reading:

Angel Pawprints Reflections on Loving and Losing a Canine Companion
edited by Laurel Hunt

Saying Goodbye to the Pet You Love 
by Lori Greene and Jacquelyn Landis

The Loss of a Pet
by Wallace Sife


For Adults

Joy in a Wooly Coat
by Julie Church

Life After Loss
by Bob Diets

When Your Pet Dies
by Jamie Quakenbush and Denise Graveline

How Do We Tell the Children?
by Dan Schaefer and Christine Lyons


For Children

The Fall of Freddy the Leaf
by Leo Buscaglia

First Snow
by Helen Coutant

Mufflins (Preschool)
by Marian Cohen and Jim McDay

Whiskers, One and Always
by Davis Orgel

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