You are on the couch and within split second you are aware of something very unusual. Something is missing and you are feeling alone–your heart is empty. The reality hits you! Your cat is not on your lap sharing the love in your heart. Devastated with pet bereavement you ask yourself, “What am I going to do?” The answer to this question and the good news is that Wendy is sharing her new book My Cat Has Died: What Do I Do? Making Decisions and Healing The Trauma of Pet Loss with you as she supports you through your pet bereavement journey. Offering you tools and compassionate guidance to help you heal from the trauma of pet loss and pet bereavement. Sharing helpful ways to deal with all the changes that you are going to experience immediately after the death of your cat. Plus, special ways to prepare for the future. If your cat has died and you are experiencing grief, having difficulty making important decisions, and you want to do something special to not forget the life you shared with your cat then this book is for you.
Today I’ve met with Wendy Van de Poll to discuss her book ‘My Cat Has Died: What Do I Do’. Wendy, what motivated you to write a book about pet bereavement?
I am a certified end of life and pet loss grief coach. This book in the 4th book in The Pet Bereavement series to help people during a very difficult time.
I’ve never heard of a pet loss grief coach before, but I do know some people who have been dramatically impacted by the passing of their pets so it’s good to hear that there’s some avenue for them to get help. Do you supplement your work aspect loss grief coach with other work?
I am an End of Life and Pet Loss Grief Coach, Speaker, Animal Advocate, Bestselling Author. My work is for the purpose of helping people around the world. The animals I work with influence me.
That is a very strong purpose. What aspect of that purpose are you trying to communicate to the readers in this book?
Yes, that grief is normal and that when a pet dies it can be very traumatic. My book helps people know they are not alone and are given tools to help them process the feelings of grief that are very natural to feel.
Do you use your own personal experiences of this grief to make sure that you are effectively connecting with the readers?
Yes, I did. I have had many pets in my life and each of them has given me a tremendous amount of love and support. In fact, that is why I do what I do professionally as a coach, author, and speaker.
As this is your full time profession, did you also need to undertake research to give the best advice to the readers? Or was just your professional experiences enough ?
My research is after many years in this field and helping countless clients from around the world. Since I am a certified end of life and pet loss grief coach I am continually researching new approaches and theories around death and the human-animal bond.
This may be a tad personal, but do you ever dream about your animals or others that have passed?
I dream about animals that I used to share life with and the wild animals around me. Since I am also an animal communicator and medium animals are always talking to me. Giving me ideas for topics, life lessons and healing.
With all of these very strong emotional contacts that you have with animals, you must have a very well defined life philosophy. What is it?
Yes, the animals have taught me the importance of living every day with the awareness and heart of our relationship with nature. Respect, endurance and being aware of the energy around us will create a better existence and less chaos. The human animal is not the most important creature on this planet.
Do you have a quote that compliments this?
“Grief is not to be feared, avoided, or dreaded. As we walk the journey of grief together there is joy to be found from the unconditional love and celebration of our life that we shared.” Marley Van de Poll (my dog and inspiration)
What was the most illuminating thing for you about writing this book?
The beautiful testimonials and words from the heart from my readers. When I received that first review I knew I was doing the work that I am supposed to be doing in this universe.
It is fantastic that you feel so appreciated with your life’s work. That must fuel your writing process. About how long did it take long to write this book?
About 5 weeks.
That is fast! How do you manage to go that fast?
I write every day. I have a beautiful space to write. My writing room is surrounded by glass and I get to watch hawks, moose and all kinds of wildlife. Since I am an animal advocate this is important to me. It depends on the book I am writing for setting goals. Right now I try to write a chapter per day.
And do you type that?
Yes. I tried longhand and dictation but I get distracted. I love the feeling of the keys as I type.
To make sure that you were delivering the best book possible to your readers, how do you go about editing?
I self-edit 3 times and then I send my manuscript to a professional editor. Then to a beta-reader. This is very important to do.
Do you have any tips for self-publishing for other authors?
Hire professionals for tasks that you are not good at. An editor is extremely important. Plus, write what you are passionate about first! If you are writing just to make money it shows in your writing.
Your book cover is also quite professional. Where did you get it designed?
LilaM at 99designs. Lila does all of my book covers. We have an amazing relationship. She totally understands what I need in a cover and is super intuitive. A very seamless and professional experience with her.
She does good work. What do think about self publishing?
I think self-publishing is the wave of our future as authors.
I have to agree. I’m not sure if something like your book would have been well received by traditional publishers, but having self publishing available allows authors with a passion like you have to really communicate and touch others in the world. When you first received feedback, like a review, from your book how did you feel?
I cried. It was so beautiful to read a testimonial about how my book helped this person with her journey of losing her pet. I hear many stories and each review makes my soul sing with warmth. I know I am doing the work I am supposed to be doing when I read the reviews.
And when you read the reviews are do you ever think about a book that you wish that you would have written?
A book about my experience with wild wolves in the bush of Minnesota in minus 60 degrees
Now that sounds like it would be an intriguing read. You should think about doing it one day. If you’re not writing that cool sounding book, what are you writing next?
My 5th book to help parents and their children when losing a pet. I will also be addressing why pets make such great teachers for learning about grief and loss in a healthy way.
And now we’re onto my favourite section of the interview, the quick fire round. Just say what first pops up in your head.
What are you currently reading?
The Soul of The Octopus by Sy Montgomery
What is your zodiac sign?
Which are cooler? Dinosaurs or Dragons?
Both are super cool depending on my mood and what extra animal power I need at the time. Dinosaur energy when I want endurance and Dragon energy when I need to state my opinion!
What is your favourite line, quote or statement from your book?
One way to consider death is to explore the notion that it is a pause between living in physical and nonphysical forms. Your cat will continue loving you and being loyal even after they continue to the afterlife in spirit form. This relationship goes beyond obligation.
What is your best tip for authors?
Write from your heart and truth
What is your favourite quote from another author?
Grief can be the garden of compassion. If you keep your heart open through everything, your pain can become your greatest ally in your life’s search for love and wisdom. Rum (poet)
What is your favourite word?
Noodle….I am sad that we use pasta…
And on that noodle-y note, that is the end of today’s interview. Thank you Wendy for spending time with me today, and I hope that you can help more people through their grief.
Want to connect with Wendy? You can find her here: