Dr. Micky Golden Moore’s new book Tails from Beyond the Paw Print contains stories of “love, loss and lessons learned” from various support group members.
He had a human name. And for Jill and Mitchell Solomon of Farmington Hills, losing their dog, Danny, to cancer was like losing a family member.
The 12-year-old Dalmatian was a rescue dog, a loyal companion who was part of their daily lives for more than a decade. He underwent radiation treatments, but the cancer was aggressive. Danny’s loss was so devastating, Jill says, “we needed help.”
“When we lose a person, there is immediate support from family, friends and clergy,” she explains. “When you lose a pet, many do not understand that the grieving process is the same. The pain and loss are the same and possibly worse. I know many people think you should just ‘get over it’ or ‘get another pet.’ We will always grieve for our Danny.”
The Solomons found comfort and a judgment-free zone with the local pet loss support group Beyond the Paw Print. The group was founded in 2009 by Dr. Micky Golden Moore of West Bloomfield, a Jewish chaplain with St. Joseph Mercy Health System, who endured her own struggle with grief after the loss of her cats Pablo, Isabella and Nellie. She founded the support group to help others after experiencing the feeling of not having any place to turn.
“I want people to know the grief is real; they’re not alone and support is available,” Golden Moore says. “Partly because of our society’s discomfort with death and dying, friends may want us to quickly move on and feel better. But it doesn’t always work that way.”
Golden Moore wrote the new book Tails From Beyond the Paw Print to help those who are struggling. Danny’s story is one of 22 stories of “love, loss and lessons learned” from various support group members.
“Beyond the Paw Print is a safe place for people. It validates your ability to grieve without judgment,” Jill says. “I could cry openly while I talked about Danny. We attended meetings in person for about a year. Without Micky and the group’s support, we would have been completely lost.”
Golden Moore has a doctorate degree in communication studies from Wayne State University. She spent more than 30 years as an adjunct professor in the U.S. and United Kingdom, specializing in public speaking. But she found her true calling in her work as a hospital chaplain and by leading the pet loss support group. The book, published in May, is her first.
“This book is a love letter for anyone who might grieve the death of their animal companion in isolation — to learn that they are not alone,” Golden Moore says. “I want people to know that healing is possible.”
Monthly Zoom Meetings
Moore says she has heard from animal lovers around the world who’ve thanked her for writing the book. During COVID-19, the support group has continued to meet virtually via Zoom on the second Monday of every month. The group’s Facebook page is also filled with emotional tributes to countless pets loved and lost.
“Planted my fall flowers as a memorial to my little kitty,” one member wrote. “At my parents’ house, she loved to curl up in the mums and sleep in the sunshine.”
“Today marks six months since my precious Irish Setter, Mollie, passed,” wrote another. “Of course, the heartache and void are still quite profound, but I hold her dear in my heart.”
So what is the best way to comfort a family member or friend who’s lost a pet? Golden Moore suggests refraining from giving advice, and instead listening with an open heart and without judgment. She says simply showing that you care will go a long way.
Tails Beyond the Paw Print can be purchased on Amazon.com or ordered through local bookstores. For more information, visit beyondthepawprint.com.