The Stuff They Don’t Tell You About When You Lose An Animal Bestie

That’s Emma Lou. My dog best friend. She always had itchy ears until her last year and she liked to steal food. She’s an Angel Spirit Guide now popping in and out to give me angel hugs and advice better than a therapist. I had weird irrational fears six months before I would lose her, but I really didn’t see her departure coming and it knocked me over. She was somewhere between 11 and 12.

There’s a lot they don’t tell you about what you will experience when you lose a long time best friend. It’s assumed that you will just be accepting and move on, or that it’s the same process as with losing a person, which can be just as rough but in different ways. I’ve witnessed many friends losing their special ones lately. And when I was an animal communicator for fourteen years, I felt both sides of the coin — how the animal felt and how the person losing them felt. I’ve lost my own animals and written about that. And I have not been alone this time around. My family has felt the loss also. And with this major loss and the many others I have learned a great deal.

Here is what they don’t tell you, that might help if you find yourself in this unenviable situation:

It won’t be over in a month.

You won’t be over it in two months or six. The shock will be over, the massive hurt and bruising will be over, but the missing stage pops in and that can be hard in its own way. Most of the sympathy that you initially felt from others is gone and they will pretty much expect you to be back to normal and ready to listen to their loss situations. You won’t be and that’s just fine. After a month I could at least talk about what happened without crying and I am not a big crier. At two months I can calmly talk about her leaving but then I find an empty room later and let the waterworks flow in private. You will be pissed that life still goes on for other people. How dare it when your life just stopped! You will feel better, I promise. It just takes lots of time.

There’s physical symptoms. It’s the kind of cry that you don’t feel better afterwards. 

There’s physical symptoms of grief I didn’t expect. You might be way more tired and achey. Prone to colds. Your appetite will increase or decrease. All I wanted to do was eat, which is abnormal for me. My chest hurt probably from crying. It’s the kind of cry that you don’t feel better afterwards. Things may shut off. Thinking can be slow. Movements can be slow — you feel like you are moving in mud. Roll with it. Your body takes in the loss as trauma and it needs time to heal.

Everyone grieves differently.

Some may cry openly all the time, or talk about the loss non-stop. Others don’t express anything but act out in ways that may not be helpful to them just to deal with the feelings. Just because I am back to perky and happy on the outside doesn’t mean I stopped feeling the loss.

It’s not just a dog.

No it’s not just a dog or cat (or horse or bunny). Dogs and cats can cross through the barriers of love and communication more than people can. They serve different roles for us too — companion, friend, child, guide. My Emma was alongside me for all the really hard stuff. When my life fell apart she made sure I didn’t end up in some mental ward drawing circles. She was like a good friend you can bounce off of, Hey, remember when this happened? Or, remember the time? (And I am so, so grateful she met my husband and family and was able to be around for that big GOOD stuff). When people minimize that loss I know I am touching anger, a huge part of grief — I want to yell HELLO! SHE WAS WAY MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOU WHO I’VE KNOWN FOR ABOUT TWO MINUTES. THIS IS MY FAMILY. MY HEART. My advice is to stick around those who get it. The fellow dog/cat moms and dads who have had or have besties. The people who knew your animal. Those are your tribe and will support you right now. You are also learning what and who really matters to you and what is important to you. I had one person react to the loss when they talked to my stepdaughter with indifference. That person showed me clearly how important any of my life was to them and I quickly detached my energy and lowered any expectations about them.

Other losses come up.

This loss may trigger memories of other losses. Thought you were over losing your Mom in ’95? Hell no! Here it is again right in your face, and it still hurts?! What is wrong with me? Yeah, that happens. It’s the unresolved parts or even the parts that hurt so much then that they will always jab a little into you when triggered. That’s reality. The good news is the jabbed parts give you an opportunity to lay some things to rest or find new meaning behind them.

It’s harder to be there for other people right now.

Yes, other people are going through stuff too right now and you may have been their Go To Person to help them deal. But you’ve experienced some major damage here to your world. It would be like dragging around a broken leg AND trying to walk AND try to help someone else walk. Not really possible. You need to tend to your own heart right now. You matter too. That animal and you had a routine living together that is greatly disrupted. You need to readjust.

The good news…They do visit.

If they check in and visit this does not mean they are stuck to you and you are hindering their path! Or, that they didn’t move on and are ghosts. It means they love you and are just making sure you are doing okay from the loss before they can do what they are going to do next.

What if you don’t feel them at all? Some souls do just zip forward and move on. My turtle, Speedy, who was a real character, got killed crossing the road after a great escape to get laid (that’s an interesting story in itself for another time.) He left his body and popped into the hallway afterwards to let me know his dilemma, let me know he loved me, and was gone. I never did feel his spirit again. He was my friend for awhile and then POOF. I’m thinking I was a one time mission and the mission was over so he could go turtle frolicking in turtle heaven.

Other times you can’t feel them when they visit because you are too grief-stricken and closed down to pick up their energies. It’s a closed circuit. Your beliefs that there isn’t an afterlife will most definitely make it difficult to feel anything or hear anything. For the truly sensitive, it’s almost impossible to block out the blinking lights, the energies or the shadows you see. In those situations, you are not crazy, you are just open. And that’s not just woo-woo stuff or wishful thinking. I’ve experienced stuff for most of my life and the more you talk to other people, and if they feel safe, they will whisper and share their own after-death experiences.

Some animals do stick around as Spirit Guides. It’s their mission or purpose to help you out like they did when they had a cute fuzzy body. Don’t feel like you are holding them back, this is what they do now. Embrace the hell out of it. It rocks if they are wise when they were in body. I remember years ago my Grandmother popped in when I was looking for a place to live. I could feel her and kept hearing “apartment.” At the time, I had never lived in an apartment and I had a husband, a daughter, and several dogs. It was not the best advice. We did find a house later. Reflecting, I realized that she had always lived in a garden apartment and thought that was best advice for everyone.

Some animals do reincarnate. I’ve seen it so many times with clients and with my own animal companions. It’s a cool thing when it happens. The tough part is it might be the same soul but they might have a little different take on it. I wish Emma would just find another basset body to pop in that looked the same and she would act the same, but being in a different body might make a different experience and have different challenges or personality ticks with it. If I were to pop into a five-foot-nine tall blonde would I be less Ronni and more someone else? (At least I would be able to reach the tall cabinets and my husband’s neck wouldn’t ache looking down all the time.)

Whether they stick around, come back, or meet you when you cross over, you still need to grieve and feel that awful pain that the body they were in that you so meticulously took care of and loved on, is not here. Boy, does that hurt. Quite honestly, I would much rather have dental surgery then experience this. The pain is somewhere around deep lower chest just grinding away. But the only way to deal with it is through to the other side of it. Time does make that better. Grab and cuddle your loved ones that are still around you and feel all that love. Now is the time you need it the most. Do ask for it. And if you still have that connection with your animal, tune it. Let them help you get through it. That’s okay too.


If you like my writing, check out and order my popular books listed on the website and on Amazon, including my animal communication Speak Woof and Meow. And do sign up for the newsletter to receive more articles that will help. I’m currently working on my Idea Emporium Activity Book. It’s got its own website over here that is fun and playful and all about designing.

Fairy Dress to Color In from Designing Fairy

My attempt to bring some light into the world. Inspiration, Comfort and Joy to your day.Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 4.47.48 PM

These Cards are part of the Healing Fairy Alphabet Deck available here.



from Coloring Studio magazine (2015)

Color in the What’s Cooking Dress:


click whatscooking to download and color

Introvert’s Survival Post for the Holidays that includes naps

The holidays are wonderful time to socialize with friends and family, and interfere with serious cave time. Where before you could balance social involvement with alone processing, this time of year is a jumble of humans everywhere talking and touching your space. Our local mall usually has about ten people walking the hallways, and December is filled with folks with bags of goodies coming out of the woodwork specifically to interact with other humans in order to buy gifts. How can a sensitive introvert survive? Here are my holiday tips to share which has worked for me, sorta.


  1. Buy online. Sit at your computer. Put on your bunny slippers. Make some calming tea. Then gleefully hit ORDER at several different online purchasers. Wasn’t that easy? (Do shop at my site here, of course, for lovely gifts. And at my Etsy, or Society6.) Look, you still have time to watch a movie, take a delightful bath as the post office and UPS guy does all the work.
  2. Fill up with humor. Check out the spoof on the Williams Sonoma catalog, watch Saturday Night Live clips. Isn’t that funny? So snarky.
  3. Limit what you will do. Six activities in a day? Great for that extroverted twenty-year-old friend who doesn’t need naps and drinks energy drinks. Let her do it. Compromise by saying yes to two that you can handle, and go take that delightful bath while everyone parties. Sure, they want you to be involved in the non-stop activity. But unless you can find an elixir that gives you the energy level of a twelve-year-old with no stress, you better sit this one out or your head is going to hurt. (And if you can find that elixir, I want it. NOW.)
  4. Also limit how much Christmas music comes into your brain. A few Harry Connick Jr. and Nat King Cole a week before or on Christmas is happy, soothing and joyous. A month of it? You want to smash things into tiny things with a hammer. This tip goes with “better to shop online” vs. store music blaring.
  5. Expect drama. It’s family time, so there will be drama of some sort. See it as a giant television and observe. It’s a little like watching The Bachelor, but LIVE. Like live theater on Broadway…almost. Jot it all down and use it in your next memoir or novel. This is good material here. You can’t make this stuff up.
  6. Find a cave to retreat to when you need it. Great places: a coffee shop. Yes there are people but they all talk at once so it’s like this background hum. Try the library. Barnes and Noble on the floor by the Art section. So cozy. Visit that tiny store no one goes into. We were in a bookstore the other day and we were the only people. And it was so dark in there I could have grabbed a pillow and taken a nap. (Hmmm…I’m seeing a definite nap theme in my list)
  7. Give your imagination a break. Don’t worry or think about the state of the world politics that are looking pretty scary, or fill up with fear from the fake and real news. Just tell your brain to take a rest for a few weeks. You can come back later and imagine that awful disease you have according to Google.
  8. Watch your sugar levels. I know this one is hard. I am the cupcake queen. And this time of year is all about CHRISTMAS COOKIES. But sugar makes your blood sugar go up and down and up and down and then there’s lots of anxiety and other crap to go with it later on. Just a suggestion (as she eats that pumpkin muffin hidden in my cabinet)
  9. Run away from home and join a band of introverts living in the woods. Just kidding. Then you would have to deal with the other introverts out there and that’s just more people to deal with. But trees are good.
  10. And number ten…engage in introvert-like activities. Reflect on the year with an Unravel the year download (love that stuff), make a photo album as a gift, make craft gifts. This is what you do best, Introvert. Holed up somewhere, making stuff, contemplating, for the good of others. Here’s your excuse. Sorry, I can’t leave my studio for two weeks. I am making gifts.

Enjoy your holidays from your cave, Introvert. You will get through this. From my family to yours,




Whimsy and Color now on Society6

I’m trying an experiment with Designing Fairy products. We are entering the stores but also on Society6. I always wanted to design fashion and textiles since my dad’s secretary, Mary, told me “you have an eye for color and pattern.” I digged that lady. Here’s a bunch of samples that will brighten your environment, especially in the heart of a white winter (better than beige. hate beige.) Shop my FOREST COLLECTION or ELF ESTEEM COLLECTION over here.

50 Days of Comfort Weekend: Expect Good Help and Using Your Spidey Sense

This week’s Featured Comfort Card:poker-card

I have a recurring dream. I end up on the same rocky road with my car. It’s next to a mountain and it’s the only way through. (Are you analyzing this yet?) I usually then have to travel by foot to get where I want to go, because my PT Cruiser can’t navigate or surpass the bumps. It’s a great deal of work, my feet hurt, and I’m by myself. No one is showing up. Sounds like a true Capricorn plight? We like to think we have to do everything by ourselves and then berate like crazy when we fail.

I’ve written before in my books bad encounters with doctors and veterinarians who were incompetent or un-knowledgable and my frustration and upset. In those situations, I always had to rely on myself to google, figure out, and research for myself or my animal companion. (I still lament visiting one vet that had no clue what simple kidney disease solutions there were). When I found out that I could just search out a different provider or help, everything changed. You mean I didn’t have to stay put and educate them and engage in this dance?

The other day I had a meeting with whom I had hoped was someone who would help me with develop an app for my Idea Emporium book. Within five minutes I knew this person was not a good fit for me. My empathic spidey sense gave me immediate clues: I felt shut down, bored, and antsy. I wanted to know where the exit was. He had boxed-in thinking: talked about why everything wouldn’t work, the statistics and zero chances. (Julia Cameron readers, we know that’s a no-no!) I could feel myself going backwards, inwardly, not in a good way. I had crawled into my turtle shell.

That spidey sense brilliantly was showing me that this was not the right help for me. If I wanted to get from one place to another, past those huge chunks of rock in the way, I needed a full terrain vehicle. Maybe one of those monster trucks that could help me. If I just went by foot, I’d take a few months to get there, and some vehicles, might even take me in the wrong direction (like talking to that gentleman.)

So next time, I need to expect good help. Expect I will have assistance that will get me where I need to go in the best way possible, with my eye on the destination. Will this take me there? Will this solve the problem? Then I avoid all that negative spiral thinking that has me repelling against myself.

From my book, Your Turtle Shell and Thoughts of a Sensitive


Incidentally, you can get your deck of Comfort Cards over here. Print and mug with image also available


50 Days of Comfort: Why “Cave-ing” is Important


50 Days of Comfort: A gift for those that support my work


Last week I felt exhausted and run down. I am tackling school, business, and new family and I usually am high energy but when my hormones hit my energy level crashes down. And instead of feeling the need to get angry to create that boundary or space, I took a big breath, closed the door and told everyone I would be in my cave for several hours one evening. And guess what? The world didn’t end. It was a giant step forward for me. I could almost hear the clapping in the distance.

I used to be an introvert/extrovert equally on the Myers Briggs personality scale. I was right down smack in the middle, which would give me the INFJ and ENFJ print-outs describing my personality. Through the years and maybe as I age, and especially when I started to do extensive work on being a sensitive, I realized that I was moving steadily more to that INFJ dial side. I lived alone for several years and that almost solidified my need for alone space. I look back when I was a teenager and in college and I loved socializing round the clock, but since I had my own room alone space to come back to alone space was built in to balance it out. Now in a crowded house of extroverted children, I need to create that alone space or I get angry, headache-y and sick. It’s a fact that I see. And that’s when I fantasized about having a cave.

Originally, I considered having a shed out back, much like some crazy recluse out in the woods who feeds on leaves and berries, and makes clothes out of vines, but I’d miss cupcakes and running showers that are indoors. I now have an office outside of the house, which is a Godsend, but I still feel the need to have regroup time at night. I don’t have a ton of energy at night for small talk or giving out, it’s just not there, and when it is still demanded of me, I can almost hear the air squeeze out like a balloon running out of air.

That night, that may have been the first time I allowed myself some cave time alone in the room, to reflect, process, and veg with the door close. As a new stepmom, I guess I thought I didn’t deserve it. I had all these expectations of what a good parent is like, like I should be available all the time, but if there’s another parent there, that’s not an excuse to avoid self care. And to be fair, I hadn’t been a step parent that long. It’s not like I knew these kids since they were born. I am used to dog children who sleep quietly next to me while I write or draw. There isn’t a constant stream of questions and comments happening from them.

I remember my Mom had a cave. Both my parents seemed introverted at night. My Dad had a huge library/office in the house. It was gorgeous and filled with wall to wall bookshelves. He would retire there after dinner. My Mom had a room painted red she called the craft room. When I was a little older, probably a pre-teen, she would hang out there and bring home work and disappear into the cushy couch. In my world then, growing up, having a cave and alone time was the norm. For other families, that may not be the case, and that might be part of my adjustment. Either way, I am thinking cave-ing at least some of the time of the month is a mandatory thing for me. It’s the difference between being a nasty witch and a calm fairy who has something to give. Now my challenge is to express that to others while designing that space and not get addicted to wanting that space all the time.

What about you? Do you have a cave to retreat to? If you designed it, what would it look like? I found some cool ideas over here on Pinterest.


Comfort Card Set
Comfort Card Set

Are you enjoying the 50 Days of Comfort? I want to hear from you. 50 Days of Comfort are brought to you by the Comfort Cards for Transitions, a card set to give or keep, my newest product.

50 Days of Comfort 3 – Weekend Beautiful Place


When I think of Comfort and what nourishes me, I think of beautiful places. I love living near Sedona, Arizona. Hands down it is one of the most gorgeous places in the world. Enjoy this virtual visit:

20161003_112316Cathedral Rock. Hear the water bubbling?

img_4141This is West Fork. Eye Candy. Go sit on that clear space over there and relax. Maybe take off your shoes.

img_4155Take a little walk down the path and discover more further.

img_4134Until you hit a clearing and can walk to towards the mountains. Ahhhh. Nature Comfort.

Weekend Assignment:

Go find a piece of Nature heaven to relax in this weekend. Instagram or Facebook the hell out of it so you can recreate it later. Go do it, it’s your assignment!


Brought to you by the Comfort Cards for Transitions Set, the gift of comfort to give or keep this holiday season. Makes a great stocking stuffer for sure. Click on picture or link to get there. It’s that easy. Also available on Etsy. Oh, and there’s Comfort Card mugs too!